Heli Logging

Woodsman's picture

Man's Work-Canadian Heli-Logging pt1

Not in HD but I worked with most of the fallers in the video.  I'm not in the video, this was just before I worked there.

 

Part 2:  

 

Part 3:

 

 

 

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daftcunt's picture

How much does this pay and for how long can one do this?

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Woodsman's picture

Long answer for pay.  Westcoast fallers almost all work as subcontractors who have to set up an individual corporation. So technically they pay the faller's 'company', and the faller then decides the best way to pay themselves.  We have to a workers compensation premium based on our previous safe (or unsafe) work history, then multiply that by the amount of money the company we owns pays ourself and personal income.  So some guys take the risk and pay themselves a low wage to keep down personal income tax and WCB premiums, but if you get hurt your payout is based off of your taxable personal income so you will get paid less than if you gave yourself a higher wage.  We also have to supply our own equipment.  When we are in camp, the prime contractor or licensee almost always pay for our accomdation and food, and usually our travel in from the nearest seaplane base or water taxi to the camp (I used to have to drive about 5 hours to the seaplane or dock and they would fly or boat me in from there).  Fallers used to get paid a lot more relative to other jobs, but then the rate got stuck for a long time and has recently moved up again.  Right now a typical day rate for a faller is around $CDN $600-650 /day.  You only get paid when your saw is running and theres days where its too windy to work, and if you're doing Heli, you can't work when its too foggy either.  If you aren't good at it you get sent home.  As a subcontractor they don't need cause to get rid of you.  I have seen several guys spend lots of money on the training but they aren't cut out for the job and don't make it.

 

As far as how long you can do it for, I worked with a guy that just retired at 70, and some guys burn out young.  I think its partly genes and also largely how well you take care of yourself and what sort of injuries you accrue over your career.

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daftcunt's picture

So it is basically "fake self-employment", a favourite of many industries. 

 

600$/day and free accommodation when working 250 days is 150k$/year, not a lot for the risks envolved, health and unemployment insurance will cost an arm and a leg too....

 

I assume this wood is for luxury furniture.

 

Now here is a prime opportunity for government regulations if you ask me. 

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Woodsman's picture

The self employment aspect is a bit of a gray area.  The 'corporate veil' for fallers hasn't been tested by the courts yet.  Here in Canada there are several criteria the law looks at to determine if someone is in substance self employed or if they function as an employee.  The big thing is the companies make sure fallers are incorporated which is a big piece of the puzzle, we also supply our own equipment which is another fact supporting self employment.  But when we are at work we are under their direction and control which supports employee.  Like I say, its a gray area.  The thing about falling is guys do it because they love it.  Its challenging, hard work, problem solving all day (lots of the work is steep ground and there's blowdown, hangups and all sorts of very difficult situations to overcome).   Fallers also work a shorter day (7 hours of cutting and then whatever the travel time is).  Its not the kind of job someone would do for the money, if you didn't love the work it wouldn't be worth it.  I loved the job, and I took a lot of pride in my work, especially because its one of the last jobs I know of where you really need to be good at your job to make it.  There's guys that spend over $20,000 on the training to get started and sadly they aren't cut out for the job and end up getting sent home or they quit.

The wood out here is mostly all softwood so generally its for high end building.  Tight grain clear cedar for siding, decks, outdoor  #1 cedar wood shakes and shingles. High grade Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce, Hemlock/Balsam, Yellow Cedar, all higih end building/finishing woods.

 

Most fallers shoot for 200 or a little more paid days per year.  With the time travelling in and out of camp (most work is in remote camps) and a bit of down time from weather 200 days is a good year.

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daftcunt's picture

Yeah, I thought money was not the deciding factor....

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