Fort St. John ? According to WCB statistics, tree falling in BC is the third most dangerous occupation in North America; unless you are an Alaska King Crab fisherman or an astronaut, cutting down trees is as hazardous as it gets.

By definition, a ?faller? in the oil and gas industry is ?anyone who falls a tree over six inches in diameter at breast height.? In 1998, Petroleum Industry Training Services (PITS) and the Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractors (CAGC) developed the Chainsaw Safety Training program to provide an industry training standard and increase the level of skill among fallers. The unacceptable number of serious injuries and deaths in all falling-related sectors prompted WCB to introduce the BC Faller Training Standard in 2001. In March 2005 the oil and gas industry adopted this as the standard for their fallers, calling it the ?Oil and Gas Industry Faller Training Standard? which meets the BC Faller Training Standard.

Fallers with a minimum of two years experience in oil and gas industry falling can challenge the new standard and, if they pass an evaluation, become an oil and gas industry ?certified Faller.? PITS will manage the grandfathering process on behalf of the petroleum industry.

Ed Kapala, PITS Safety Training Coordinator says ?Our industry is giving their experienced fallers an opportunity to ?step-up? to the new standard level of certification without having to take a new course. If they demonstrate to a Qualified Supervisor Trainer (QST) that they are competent with a score of 75% or better, they will be ?grandfathered? into the new standard.?

This option is only available to oil and gas industry fallers that have gained two years falling experience by the application deadline of July 31, 2006, after which fallers will be required to complete a new course that meets the BC Faller Training Standard. And, the earlier the application is received, the more affordable and convenient the grandfathering process will be.

Application forms are available online at or locally at the PITS office in Fort St. John, Northern Lights College, the Oil & Gas Commission and the Northeast Aboriginal Business Centre.