USW-Forest Industry Safety Health and Research Program (SHARP)


The United Steel Workers (USW) and Forest Industry "Safety Health and Research Program", (SHARP), evolved from collective bargaining between the former IWA, now USW Locals 1-424 and 1-425  and the Northern Interior Forest Industry.  SHARP was established in the 1988 to 1991 Collective Agreement.  Members in SHARP include Conifer companies, Canfor, West Fraser Mills Ltd., other operations and USW Locals 1-424 and 1-425.

SHARP is jointly managed by a Board of 8 trustees, 4 appointed by the USW and 4 appointed by the Northern Interior Forest Industry.  Conifer has been appointed as the administrator of the Trust and organizes the day-to-day activities of  SHARP such as accounts receivable, accounts payable and manages the trust investments as directed by the Trustees.

SHARP’s chief objectives are:

“The improvement of safety and health protection measures already in place in the forest industry, generally, and by means of research, education and training, the creation and development of a safe and healthful work environment for all persons employed in the various sectors of the forest industry in Northern British Columbia.”

The trust is fully funded by industry contributions based on one-half cent per employee per hour worked.  When the Trust funds reach $100 000, the Employers contribute an additional half cent per hour for a total of one-cent  per hour until the plan reaches $200 000 at which time the additional half  cent per hour is discontinued.

SHARP Trustees have endorsed many  SHARP safety initiatives over the years including:

  • Having an Ergonomics Report on repetitive strain injuries in mills by the BC Research Institute completed in 1994.

  • SHARP bi-annual Safety Conferences.

  • Sponsoring SHARP funded television and radio safety awareness campaign regarding working safely in the forest industry.

  • Developing a seminar geared at dealing with Shiftwork issues.

  • Acting as a wide distribution network for forest companies to share near misses, accidents and injuries at their companies with other companies to help prevent similar incidents from occurring elsewhere in the industry.

  • Delivering a one day seminar on the effects of shift work and strategies for dealing with shift work.

  • Partnering with the Justice Institute to Deliver a 3 day training program for Safety Committees, Safety Professionals, Supervisors and HR Professionals in dealing with Conflict Resolution & Problem Solving in Safety Situations (Resolutions Through Consensus).

  • Partnering with the BC Safety Council to deliver a one day training program on Accident Investigation Techniques and Worksite Safety Inspections.

  • Delivering a half day seminar on bullying and harassment titled "Is There A Bully In Your Workplace?"

  • Sponsoring a FP Innovations "Sawmill Wood Dust Sampling Analysis and Explosivity" research program.

Please check this website often to look for upcoming SHARP news and events.