Working in the forestry sector during COVID-19
The forestry sector must follow health guidelines to ensure a safe workplace and prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 in industrial camps.
Last updated: September 13, 2021
On this page:
- Forestry practices are an essential service
- Forestry operators must ensure a safe workplace
- Develop an infection prevention and control protocol
- Submit proof of your protocol
- Site inspections
- Additional resources
In March 2020, the B.C. government has declared forestry and silviculture practices an essential service.
Forestry sector activities are a crucial part of ensuring B.C. can meet global demand for wood products, build a resilient and sustainable economy, and address the impacts of climate change and wildfires.
Essential forestry sector activities include businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of primary and value-added forestry/silviculture products (lumber, pulp, paper, wood fuel, etc.), including reforestation operations and tree-and forest-maintenance services.
On April 23, 2020, the Provincial Health Officer issued an order for the forestry sector to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 in industrial camps.
Employers must ensure they are abiding by any relevant orders, notices, or guidance issued by the Provincial Health Officer and the health authority relevant to their workplace.
Review the orders:
- Provincial Health Officer Order - Industrial Camps - May 12, 2021 (PDF, 388KB)
Review the guidance from the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC):
- Protecting Industrial Camp Workers, Contractors, and Employers Working in the Agricultural, Forestry, and Natural Resource Sectors During the COVID-19 Pandemic (PDF, 653KB)
Any worker testing positive for COVID-19 or displaying symptoms must follow current provincial health guidelines, and quarantine.
Employers are required to:
- Complete a workplace risk assessment including, creating a day-to-day plan that follows the guidelines
- Develop a COVID-19 infection prevention and control protocol (protocol) based on the risk assessment
- Implement and enforce the protocol to help prevent and control the transmission of COVID-19
Protocol measures include:
- Reducing the number of social interactions between workers and employers, and nearby communities
- Physical distancing or enhancing protection via masks where physical distancing is not practical
- Good hygiene practices
- Cleaning and disinfecting high touch point areas at the start and end of each day
Forestry sector operators must ensure a safe workplace for their workers and demonstrate proof of an infection prevention and control protocol.
The Protecting Employees, Contractors, and Employers Working in the Silviculture Sector During the COVID-19 Pandemic (PDF, 605KB) guidance document will help you assess the risks at your operation and create your infection prevention and control protocol.
Ministry compliance and enforcement staff will inspect forestry camps, accommodations and work sites to ensure all required health and safety measures are in place before employees arrive.
For more information:
- Protecting Industrial Camp Workers, Contractors, and Employers Working in the Agricultural, Forestry, and Natural Resource Sectors During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- WorkSafeBC exposure control plan guide
- Risk-informed decision-making guidelines for workplaces and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic