Forestry deaths taskforce coming

Last updated 16:11 07/06/2014

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A taskforce investigating forestry safety following a harrowing death toll is to visit Nelson.

Since 2008, four workers have been seriously injured in the Tasman region. One has died at work. Since 2008, there have been 28 fatalities across New Zealand. A review is being undertaken to address the sector's poor safety record.

The Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel released its public consultation document today and will visit Nelson on June 25 to meet with workers, contractors, forest managers, owners and others working in the forestry sector.

Panel chairman George Adams said: "Forestry in New Zealand is far too dangerous. Everyone in the industry recognises that fact and that's why the review has been established. It is clear change must occur to prevent injuries and save lives. The consultation document provides an opportunity for everyone in the industry and the public to have a say in what those changes should be.

"The panel wants to get all the issues on the table, even those that are well known. It is important for people to tell the panel if we have missed something in our summary of the issues that is essential to improving safety.

"We also want people to tell us what they think about the options for change the panel has proposed."

The consultation document considers: the organisation of the forestry sector, including oversight of health and safety responsibilities; people working on the forest block and how they are supported to work safely; and the design of the forest block and the machines and equipment used in forestry.

Panel member Mike Cosman said the panel was not interested in blame but in the things that needed to change in forestry and how those changes could happen.

"It is clear that widespread change by many is needed."

The panel will also be travelling to Balclutha, Christchurch, Whangarei, Rotorua, and Gisborne.

The consultation document is online at ifsr.co.nz and the deadline for feedback is July 4.

The meeting in Nelson will be at the conference centre at Tahuna Holiday Park, from 10am. Those wanting to attend are asked to register by email, info@ifsr.co.nz.

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- The Nelson Mail

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