‘Gravel forest roads can be dangerous driving, if untrained or unfamiliar’
Ontario’s Workplace Safety North (WSN) has launched the Safe Driving on Forest Roads course to reduce the number of incidents and promote awareness on the unique dangers associated with forest roads.
“Based on the number of incidents happening on forest roads, there is a lot of concern for the safety of communities and organizations accessing Ontario forests,” said Chris Serratore, WSN prevention services director.
A 2015 industry health and safety report by WSN shows logging, tree planting and silviculture forest management companies in the Ontario forestry sector experienced a total of eight vehicle-related fatalities over six years.
“Gravel forest roads can be dangerous driving, if untrained or unfamiliar,” said Mike Maxfield, certification superintendent with Resolute Forest Products and past chair of the Central Canada Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) implementation committee. “Soft shoulders, road dust, washboarding, roadside brush, road rocks, pooled water and narrow bridges can all be road hazards. At the same time, forest travellers can expect to encounter wildlife, heavy equipment, large trucks and recreational vehicles.”
According to research by WSN earlier this year, distracted driving is the top health and safety risk for the Ontario logging sector. Both forestry employers and workers are concerned with the potential for fatalities, serious injuries or environmental damage resulting from vehicle incidents on forest roads.