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Review Panel releases consultation document and travel plans

Independent Forestry Safety Review

Press release – 6 June 2014

Review Panel releases consultation document and plans for travel

The Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel released its public consultation document today. The document can be found on the Review’s website at www.ifsr.co.nz.

WorkSafe New Zealand statistics showed that between 2008 and 2013, there have been 967 reported instances of serious injury related to forestry and logging. In this time 28 workers died in accidents. That is just one person fewer than were killed in the Pike River mining disaster. The Review is being undertaken to address this very poor safety record.

Panel Chair, George Adams commented that “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 is broken down into three, overlapping areas and considers:

1. the organisation of the forestry sector including oversight of health and safety responsibilities

2. people working on the forest block and how they are supported to work safely

3. the design of the forest block and the machines and equipment used in forestry.

Hazel Armstrong, Panel member agreed commenting that “there is a need to look beyond the obvious issues to the underlying issues impacting workplace health and safety. And, it is clear that there will need to be a multi-layered approach to improving the outcomes for workers on the forest block”.

Panel member Mike Cosman highlighted that “the Panel are not interested in blame but in the things that need to change in the forestry sector and how those changes can happen. It is clear that widespread change by many is needed”.

The Panel will now travel to Balclutha on Thursday 12 June, Christchurch on Friday 13 June, Rotorua on Wednesday 18 June, Whangarei on Friday 20 June, Gisborne on Monday 23 June and Nelson on Wednesday 25 June to talk with key stakeholders and learn more about their views. They will meet with stakeholders including workers, contractors, forest managers and owners along with others working in the forestry sector.

Mr Adams encouraged all people with an interest in improving health and safety to read the consultation document and support the Review.

Feedback on the consultation document is due to the Panel by 12 noon, Friday 4 July 2014.

ENDS


About the Independent Forestry Safety Review

The Independent Forestry Safety Review (the Review) was announced on 29th January 2014. Three Panel members were appointed; businessman George Adams, health and safety lawyer Hazel Armstrong and safety expert Mike Cosman.

The purpose of the Review is to identify the likely causes and contributing factors to the high rate of serious injuries and fatalities in the New Zealand forestry sector.

The Panel is expected to take an independent approach. It has a broad mandate and widespread support.

In undertaking the Review, the Panel will examine the health and safety structure and culture of the forestry sector. This will include reviewing health and safety education and training. It also intends to consult widely, including with those affected by serious injuries and fatalities in the forestry sector.

At the Review’s conclusion, the Panel will recommend a package of practical measures that would be expected to result in a significant reduction in the rate of serious injuries and fatalities in the forestry sector over the next 5 years.


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