An effort is on in New Zealand to improve working conditions for those in the forest sector, this after a death and a serious injury early this year.
WorkSafe New Zealand General Manager Health and Safety Operations Ona de Rooy said that after delivering an appalling safety record in 2013, to have a death early in the New Year demonstrates the great need for this sector needs to change its behavior.
“We have identified an alarming rate of safety non-compliance amongst cable logging operators – nearly half of the 162 we’ve visited weren’t operating in compliance with the industry code and we had to take 203 enforcement actions to force those operators to comply. We had to shut 15 of them down they were so dangerous,” de Rooy said.
“We are so concerned at this level of unsafe practice that we have sought meetings with individual forest owners to make very clear to them that they have significant responsibilities under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.
“We will want to see their safety plans for the contractor crews demonstrate active management of safety standards. If they are deficient, we will be holding them to account.”
Push for Safer Operations
According to de Rooy, “The regulator cannot be solely responsible for making sure this industry is safe. We will use every power available to us to push this industry to safer operations. But until every forest owner, every contractor, their national associations, worker representatives and the workers themselves take personal responsibility for operating safely, the culture in this industry will not change and more families and communities will be grieving over a dead or injured forestry worker.”
WorkSafe NZ sent expert forestry health and safety inspectors to the fatality in the Wairau Valley and the serious injury near Whakatane.
Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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