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|FORSAKING PAUL BUNYAN: A GENDERED ANALYSIS OF FORESTRY COMPANY SAFETY POLICY ON VANCOUVER ISLAND IN THE MID-TWENTIETH CENTURY
|Kirkham, Jacqueline Lea
|This thesis examines the safety policies implemented by three British Columbia forestry companies between 1943 and 1968. Companies sought to increase the efficiency of their operations by reducing the number of compensable accidents and fatalities among their workers. These companies, along with other member-companies in the BC Loggers Association and BC Lumber Manufacturers Association, took the lead in creating a safety regime in BC’s coastal forest industry, but were joined in the endeavor by the provincial Workmen’s Compensation Board (WCB) and the forest workers’ union, the International Woodworkers of America. In order to obtain worker consent for new safety programs, companies targeted worker’s masculinity. Workers who had seen themselves as following in the footsteps of the rugged and independent Paul Bunyan were a problem for companies who wanted to create a sense of mutual responsibility for safety across their entire workforce. Safety programs, accordingly, were heavily gendered and promoted a white, hetero-patriarchal masculinity. This masculine ideal was intended to reduce worker’s willingness to take unnecessary risks. In the later years of this study, companies obtained greater control over the work process by introducing tight controls over the work process in the name of safety. Overall, efforts by companies, as well as the union and the WCB, were successful in reducing many of the hazards of working in forestry by the later 1960s. However, many of the dangers in this industry persist into the twenty-first century.
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|Open Access Dissertations and Theses
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