'Extremely hazardous' conditions cited in logger's death

The death of a logger working alone on Vancouver Island last November could have been prevented, says a report by WorkSafe BC.

The death of a logger working alone on Vancouver Island last November could have been prevented,a report by WorkSafe BC suggests.

Veteran faller Ted Gramlich, 53, was working alone on a steep slope west of Nanoose Bay when he was killed by a falling tree after the bar of his chainsaw got stuck.

The WorkSafe BC report says Gramlich showed a "lapse in judgment" by continuing to work in "extremely hazardous" conditions.

It says that because he was a self-employed contractor,there was no supervisor there to enforce health and safety practices.

"Faller 1's direct employer was his own single company, Heli-Pro. Accordingly, there was no direct employer to provide supervision or take disciplinary action to discuss safety issues," said the report.

Loggers under pressure

NDP labour critic Chuck Puchmayr says self-employed logging contractors like Gramlich feel pressured to take risks in order to work.

"People are trying to get the lowest bid; they're trying to get food on the table; they are concerned about risk of losing contracts or trying to get new contracts. And it appears here somebody may have taken an unnecessary chance in order to fulfill the obligations of that contract and the quotas."

Gramlich was working with LJC Contracting— the prime contractor —which in turn was working for TimberWest, which owned the land.

WorkSafe BCspokeswoman Donna Freemansays the agency's investigating officer is recommending sanctions against LJC and TimberWest.

A coroner's inquest will be held next week in nearby Duncan to try to determine why Gramlich died.