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Taking Forestry concerns from the ‘bush to the board room’

The Board of WorkSafe New Zealand has today approved work to ensure forestry owners, managers and contractors do more to protect the lives of workers.

Chair Professor Gregor Coster said the Board has given the green light for WorkSafe NZ to review the Forest Operations Approved Code of Practice with proposed critical changes to improve worker safety and clarify expectations and responsibilities for operators.

“The current Code of Practice is more focused on the ‘worker on the hill’. We want to ensure management, owners and other parties in the contracting chain are absolutely clear about their responsibilities.

“These are real, practical steps which can improve the health and safety environment for workers in forests,” Professor Coster said.

The Board welcomed the confirmation of the industry independent inquiry into forestry safety which begins next month. WorkSafe NZ will provide secretariat support to the inquiry.

“In addition to WorkSafe NZ’s proposed changes to the Code and involvement in the inquiry, I am joining the WorkSafe NZ Chief Executive, General Managers and Chief Inspectors in taking the message directly to the owners and managers in the forestry sector,” said Professor Coster.

These face-to-face meetings build on the 164 inspections undertaken since August 2013 which have resulted in more than 200 enforcement actions, including 14 operations being shut down.

“The key is that forestry owners, managers and contractors must do more to protect the men and women on the bush line. That is why WorkSafe New Zealand is prepared to take this issue to the board room,” he said.

END

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