Safety Innovation Starts Somewhere

Be The Catalyst?

How did Switchback come into existence and why was it needed?”

In 2005 the BC forest industry basically broke the record book with 41 fatalities. Western Forest Products (WFP), one of the big coastal forestry companies, was deeply impacted and was proactively searching for safety innovations. As a result of coordinated efforts one solution was the formation of the BC Forest Safety Council (BCFSC).

While the BCFSC was getting off the ground with their initial efforts mostly focused on regulations and certifications, WFP was still searching for more innovative solutions. At one meeting within their timberlands management team they were wrestling with what to do with a very thorny complex human/personality issue that had huge safety implications. As they bounced ideas around one of the logging managers commented,
“my son’s hockey coach seems to have a talent of reading people and building TEAM. He turned my teenage kid around in a couple of weeks. We could give Falk a try and see what he can do.”

And so in 2005 my business phone rang with the request to travel to one of WFP’s logging operations and start sorting out their human factor safety problem.

How did Switchback come into existence?

By one hockey dad, a logging manager thinking outside of the box and innovating. I often look back and think about how my life has been changed and the thousands of lives Switchback has encouraged and inspired over the years. It is impossible to know but I firmly believe that workers’ lives have been saved and spared as a result of one logging manager, speaking up and taking a risk.

Call to action: regardless of your current situation, be courageous and innovate towards safety. Lives are on the line.

Steven Falk

P.S. Don’t forget, People Can Change and The Power of Success is in TEAM

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