Forestry worker killed in accident

NICOLE PRYOR
Last updated 17:50 29/11/2013

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The forestry industry would face some tough questions from health and safety regulators following the death of a man in a logging accident today, Labour Minister Simon Bridges says.

A 28-year-old man was killed in a logging accident in Nelson - the ninth forestry death this year and the second this week.

He was working at a private forestry site in Nelson and died after being pinned between two trees.

Police said the man had been working alone on a hauler and a colleague had found him about midday pinned between two logs.

CPR was performed, but the man died at the scene.

The death follows that of 63-year-old Murupara man David Charles Beamsley, who was killed in a forestry incident on Tuesday.

Beamsley died in what appeared to have been a tree felling accident, and his death was referred to the Coroner.

Bridges said it had been a tragic week for forestry.

"The Government has stepped up its commitment to forestry to make the industry safer," he said.

"But the Government can't improve safety on its own. Everyone in the industry needs to step up and take responsibility."

He said the level of non-compliance showed the industry's safety practices were falling well short of the mark.

"MBIE is increasing its focus on forest owners and managers who have duties under the Health and Safety in Employment Act to ensure their contractors are operating safely," Bridges said.

"Those in the industry can expect to face some tough questions from the health and safety regulator."

The deaths come just weeks after the Chief Coroner Neil MacLean ordered a series of inquiries into why the forestry industry has New Zealand's highest rate of workplace injury and death, with an average of five fatalities a year between 2007 and 2013.

Meanwhile transport company owner William Frost, died after being pinned between a logging truck trailer and a forklift at Port Lyttelton on Tuesday.

Police said Frost was standing near the forklift, which was stationary, and was hit by the trailer of the logging truck.

Frost was the owner of transport services firm Drivertek International Limited.

MP Brendan Horan said the death today was an outrage, and that Bridges should resign.

"Hell bells this is New Zealand, not Sudan. New Zealanders have the right to go to work and return home safe at the end of the day," he said.

"It is an outrage that three men have been killed at work this week, two of them forestry workers."   

Horan called for a government inspector to attend every forestry worksite.

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