New Year call to improve forestry safety
12 January 2011
As many forestry companies start up again for 2011 the Department of Labour is asking them to make safety a priority.
In the past three years ten people have died and 501 people have been seriously injured while working in the forestry industry in New Zealand.
“Seven of those deaths occurred in the Waikato and Eastern regions – and while this area has the highest proportion of forestry production, it’s still an unfortunate record that we must turn around,” says the Department’s Eastern/Waikato Regional Manager Ona de Rooy.
“While the number of serious injuries in this industry has been declining since 2007/08, this is a hazardous industry and safety must be a priority.
“We see too many accidents occurring because either equipment is not set up correctly or not properly maintained, or employees are not appropriately trained and supervised in their jobs.
“Many forestry companies in the region are already actively working to ensure that well planned, robust health and safety practices are in place. But we can and must continue to do better.”
A high number of the injuries occur during tree felling and breaking out, when falling or moving logs injure the worker, or when the equipment is not up to standard and results in a worker being harmed.
“There are a range of tools available to help employers and employees – such as forestry bulletins, best practice guides and Approved Codes of Practice,” Ms de Rooy says.
“The Department is committed to working with the forestry sector and stakeholders across a number of settings and activities and our inspectors regularly engage with employers to offer practical guidance on how to improve safety practices.
“Safety in forestry needs to be a focus for all including forest owners, contractors, trainers and forest workers – everyone has a responsibility and a role to play in ensuring safe workplace practices in this high risk industry.”
Note to Editor
- More information about forestry safety is available on our website
- Further information on the HSE Act is available.
- The statistics are from the years 2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10 and show the number of serious harm and fatalities notified to the Department of Labour under the Health and Safety in Employment (HSE) Act 1992.
- The statistics do not include serious harm and fatalities in the Maritime or Aviation sectors or due to work-related crashes on the road as these are investigated by Maritime New Zealand, the Civil Aviation Authority and the NZ Police respectively.