Review Panel holds successful meetings in Christchurch
Independent Forestry Safety Review
Press release – 13 June 2014
Review Panel holds successful consultation meetings in Christchurch
The Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel held a series of successful consultation meetings in Christchurch today, following on from three positive meetings in Balclutha yesterday.
Panel Chair George Adams noted that “the public meeting saw over 30 participants have a chance to tell the Panel the issues in the forestry sector that concerned them. We heard from contractors, forest managers and owners and others working in the forestry sector. It was an important chance for their voice to be heard as part of the Review process”.
“Discussion was had a on a wide range of issues from tools and equipment on the forest block to the role of the regulator in enforcing health and safety obligations. The meeting addressed system-wide issues impacting health and safety”.
“Following the public meeting, we were grateful that a number of contractors brought their crew to meet the Panel. This enabled us to hear the issues directly from those who are working in our forests. It is important that forest workers have their voices heard and it is vital that workers feel comfortable and safe in standing up and talking about safety issues”.
Since 2008, there have been 64 workers seriously injured in Canterbury. One has died. Since 2008, there have been 28 fatalities across New Zealand. The Review is being undertaken because one fatality is one too many. The forest block needs to become a safe place to work.
“The rate of injury in forestry is the highest of any sector in New Zealand – this needs to change”, Panel Chair, George Adams commented. “And, all parts of the industry have to work together. There is no silver bullet and simply looking at the immediate cause of an accident or fatality won’t provide the answer”.
Hazel Armstrong again highlighted that there is a forecast growth of 30% in planation forest harvesting in future years. She commented that “there is a real risk things will get worse in the forestry sector and this would be totally unacceptable. No matter what is said about the work that has been done, it is clear that more is needed. Ten people died last year”.
To support the public consultation phase of the Review it released a consultation document on 6 June 2014. The document is available on the Review’s website at www.ifsr.co.nz and submissions are due to the Panel by 12 noon, Friday 4 July 2014.
The Panel will also be travelling to Whangarei, Gisborne, Nelson, Rotorua and Balcultha.