New Zealand has a tragic safety record in the forestry sector. An independent review of forestry safety has been released today which aims to confront this record.

The report was commissioned by the Forest Owners Association, Forest Industry Contractors Association and the Farm Forestry Association and provides an agenda for change in the forestry sector. The report identifies the need to change the "can do" culture which currently exists in the sector to a "can do safely" culture. In order to achieve this, the report makes 11 main recommendations. It also outlines timeframes for delivery and parameters for gauging success.

These recommendations include:

  1. WorkSafe is to convene a Forestry Leadership Action Group (FLAG) made up of government, industry, workers and their representatives to oversee the delivery of a Forestry Sector Health and Safety Action Plan (the Plan) within the next three months.
  2. The Plan is to focus on delivering aspects such as a charter or pledge of commitment for industry leaders, tools and resources to develop safety leadership capabilities, effective worker participation, a timetable for developing standards to support safe work and safe workplaces, a timetable for developing an industry-led contractor certification scheme and a better approach to data collection and information sharing.
  3. FLAG is to work with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and key stakeholders to develop regulations to clarify forestry specific rules.
  4. FLAG supports WorkSafe to develop a clear and consistent suite of supporting approved codes of practice, guidance and best practice documents.
  5. FLAG and WorkSafe are to work together to compile the relevant legislation, regulations, approved codes of practice, policies and procedures, and best practice documents into an accessible and understandable Forestry Safety Manual.
  6. FLAG is to work with the forestry industry, workers and government departments to develop a workforce strategy focused on appropriate forestry training.
  7. FLAG is to work with MBIE and stakeholders to develop regulations to specify competency standards for safety critical roles.
  8. FLAG is to work with government departments and agencies to review training funding and curriculum to ensure the forestry industry understands training and supervision responsibilities.
  9. FLAG is to work with the sector to implement an industry-led forestry contractor certification scheme.
  10. WorkSafe develops key indicators for workplace assessments using agreed indicators including underlying factors.
  11. Worksafe develops a comprehensive set of procedures and process for accident investigations.

The full report is available here

The government has expressed its support and has provided an initial response to the report which is available here

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