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Rotorua to host International Forest Safety Summit

Rotorua to host International Forest Safety Summit on 26 & 27th November

The past 12 months has seen forestry in the media spotlight to two main reasons – both good and bad. Since the global financial crisis hit, forest products exports, led by log exports, have proven once again to be counter-cyclical. While other industries have suffered, forest production has soared to record levels. With the record high log out-turn, from both the small and large forests up and down the country, has come a tragic toll in worker deaths. Heightened awareness driven by the Pike River mine disaster has brought a change in public attitudes to workplace risks. Safety improvement is now top-of-mind for everyone in the forest industry. While serious harm accident numbers and deaths remain much higher in farming than forestry, it is the public perception of workplace risk, underpinned by an well-funded union media campaign of self-interest, that has changed a lot of attitudes towards people working in the bush.

These combined issues have resulted in a focus by the key players in the New Zealand forest industry to drive an in-depth review of forest workplace safety. To launch this process Rotorua-based national forestry groups have organised an international conference to launch the work to find innovative solutions to harvest growing volumes of trees from the slopes, most of which are steeper than ever before.

Two burning issues in the forestry industry at the moment are how to improve safety – to ensure all workers are safe out on the job – and how to safely and productively harvest the forests on steeper slopes, which are becoming a higher percentage of the overall harvest.

ForestTECH 2013 will be addressing both issues and is a first for the New Zealand and Australian forestry industries. It includes two major forestry events - over two days – at one location, the Distinction Hotel in Rotorua.

Registration to the ForestTECH 2013 conference includes entry to both the Forest Industry Safety Summit and the Steep Slope Harvesting Conference.

FOREST INDUSTRY SAFETY SUMMIT: The Forest Industry Safety Summit is being run by the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) in conjunction with the Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) and NZ Forest Owners Association (NZFOA).

It will address industry and Government concerns around forestry safety and showcase new practices, systems and tools that can be used in the forest to improve worker safety – with a focus on local and practical outcomes. Keynote addresses by leading safety experts from North America will be complemented by presentations from local health and safety managers and consultants.

STEEP SLOPE HARVESTING CONFERENCE: Analysis by Future Forests Research (FFR) indicates that the proportion of the forest harvest from steep hill country (over 20-degree slope) is currently 44% of the total harvest. This is forecast to rise to 53% by 2016 and to over 60% by 2025. Nationally over the next 12 years there will be a requirement for a new cable harvesting crew every four weeks.

The Steep Slope Harvesting conference will profile new innovations, equipment, tools and operating practices around steep slope harvesting operations. In addition to local innovations, steep slope harvesting specialists from the US, Europe, Chile and Australia will be involved in this two-day programme.

Who’s involved?

Programmes for both the Forest Industry Safety Summit and Steep Slope Harvesting conference can be found on the event website,

International presenters at ForestTECH 2013 include:

Reynold Hert, Chairman, BC Forestry Safety Council, Canada

Enda Keane, CEO, TreeMetrics, Ireland

Rich Wininger, VP Western & Canadian Timberlands, Weyerhaeuser, USA

Don Banasky, President, Falltech Logging & Truck Loggers Association, Canada

Doug Mays, Director of Operations Western Timberlands, Weyerhaeuser, USA

Rodrigo Palazuelos, Harvesting Manager, Forestal Mininco SA, Chile

Norbert Schalkx, Area Director, Asia-Pacific, Africa & Baltic countries, Ponsse Oyj, Finland

Ken MacDonald, Chairman/CEO, Tigercat Industries, Canada

Richard Lawler, Director, Worldwide Forestry Engineering, John Deere Forestry, USA

Tony Brown, Remote Sensing Specialist, Forestry Corporation of NSW, Australia.

Don’t miss out. Register NOW at


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