New safety rules to cut forestry deaths
Friday 14 May 1999
Forestry workers are up to 70 times more likely to be killed on the job than the average New Zealand worker, says the Occupational Safety and Health Service (OSH) of the Department of Labour.
OSH, in partnership with industry organisations, today launched a new safety code aimed at reducing forestrys alarming accident and death rate.
Overseeing the development of the code was a steering group made up of representatives from OSH, the New Zealand Forest Owners Association, the Forestry Contractors Association, Carter Holt Harvey Forests, the Wood Industries Union, Forest Industries Training, ACC, Federated Farmers, the Farm Forestry Association and the Logging Industry Research Organisation.
"Forestry is one of New Zealands most dangerous occupations," said OSHs Business Development and Operations Manager Geoff Wilson. "In the financial year ending June 30 1998 nine workers were killed on the job. So far this financial year eight people have been killed in forestry operations."
Many others have been injured at work. ACC figures for 1997 show that approximately 500 forestry workers received ACC work claims from work related injuries, or about one in 10 forestry workers.
Mr Wilson said the code resulted from a comprehensive review and upgrade of four existing codes that provided guidance on tree felling and extraction, silviculture and transportation of logs.
There had been very strong industry input into identifying best practice, together with ensuring that new ideas were introduced that could improve safety and reflect changes in technology and industry practices. Industry representatives also played a significant part in the design and lay out of the code.
"The handy pocket sized book is user friendly, separating out health and safety compliance requirements from training advice and recommendations. Fundamental safety rules are listed in bullet point format, so its very easy to follow for individual logging crew members, contractors and principals."
Information on training would form the basis of industry training guidelines being developed by Forest Industries Training in Rotorua, Mr Wilson said.
Along with the code, OSH has also developed a "tree fellers" set of playing cards featuring 52 safety rules from the code of practice as an innovative tool to getting the safety message across.
The Approved Code of Practice for Safety and Health in Forest Operations was officially launched by the Minister for Enterprise and Commerce Max Bradford at the New Zealand Forest Research Institute in Rotorua today. Similar launches were held around the country at various logging sites.
Copies of the code are available from OSH branches at a cost of $15.00