Forestry safety review team named

Last updated 14:55 29/01/2014

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Reeling from a horror year for safety in 2013, the forestry industry has appointed a panel to review the high number of serious and fatal injuries in the industry.

Ten people lost their lives in forestry accidents last year, and this month another worker died when a tree fell on him.

Industry groups said in a statement today that the appointment of the independent panel and its terms of reference had been endorsed by forest industry organisations, ACC, relevant government agencies, the Council of Trade Unions and the Business Leaders' Health & Safety Forum.

The panel members are business leader George Adams, employment health and safety lawyer Hazel Armstrong and business safety specialist Mike Cosman.

The review is expected to take up to six months. It is being funded by the Forest Owners Association, Forest Industry Contractors Association and Farm Forestry Association.

Forest Owners past-president Bill McCallum said it had taken time to find the right panellists, shepherd vital stakeholder support and agree on the terms of reference, but the foundations were now in place.

"The current rate of serious injury and death is simply not acceptable or sustainable," McCallum said.

"We are committed to creating an industry where all our people go home safely at the end of each day, and we are hopeful that the independent panel will shine a light on practical solutions to help us achieve this."

The panel's job was to uncover the underlying factors resulting in workers being harmed and to recommend practical measures to significantly improve the situation.

"They will be looking at our workplace cultures, our existing safety programmes and training, the activities of Worksafe NZ and ACC, worker involvement and engagement, and the unique structure of the industry, with its reliance on contractors to do most harvesting."

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- Fairfax Media


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