British Columbia’s major harvesting and reforestation contractor associations have told B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains that helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) like the Squamish-based Technical Emergency Advanced Aero Medical (TEAAM) should be the standard of emergency response care for forest and other resource sector workers on remote worksites across the province.
Stating their harvest and forestry members represent a sector comprising 25,000 employees the Truck Loggers Association, the Interior Logging Association and the Western Forestry Contractors’ Association have sent a joint letter asking that WorkSafeBC fully fund a TEAAM pilot and conduct a business case analysis of the costs and benefits of implementing a provincial HEMS program.
The associations said that the current emergency response model, which often involves long distances and delays in getting injured workers to medical care, is no longer acceptable.
They pointed out that the helicopter TEAAM model can deliver emergency medicine to stabilize injured workers on site, extract them from often difficult access locations, then fly them directly to hospital. That level of effectiveness can reduce workers’ suffering and prevent injury complications leading to disablement or worse.
As reported in the RoundUpDate TEAAM has now performed four missions involving logging and planting workers since they began operating in spring 2018.
They are currently just funded by a volunteer patronage program available to employers working on Vancouver Island and up to the mid-Coast including as well the South West Interior and Chilcotin. https://www.teaam.ca
Technical Evacuation Advanced Aero Medical (TEAAM) reports their helicopter emergency medicine service has flown another workplace emergency mission involving a seriously injured tree planter. This recent incident occurred at a remote site in the Chilcotin in July.
It follows a few weeks after TEAAM air-lifted an injured planter from a difficult access location near Squamish in early June as reported previously in the RoundUpDate.
TEAAM estimates their part in flying to the Chilcotin and later to the appropriate hospital saved approximately four hours of patient travel time by land. It also reduced the chances of the incident leading to a disabling injury.
The WFCA is lobbying WorkSafeBC to support this advanced helicopter emergency medicine service for injured resource workers by funding TEAAM on a pilot basis.
The purpose would be to determine the effectiveness and benefits of the service for workers and employers, although the WFCA and others think that value is already evident.
One of the company owners involved in the Squamish rescue said that “Our investment in the TEAAM patron program was the best safety investment of our career.” It now remains to convince WorkSafeBC of the same.
[Background Source: RoundUpDate, Volume 19, Issue 11]
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
TEAAM continues to demonstrate its effectiveness in reducing the consequences of serious injuries to forestry workers