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Forest contractors welcome WorkSafe submission

Forest Industry Contractors Association

Media Release – 14th August 2014 For Immediate Release

Forest contractors welcome WorkSafe submission

Today the government’s safety agency for forestry, WorkSafe NZ, has publicly released its submission to the panel of the Independent Forest Safety Review. The Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA), the industry group that originally initiated the review, has welcomed the comments from the regulator.

“We’re pleased that some vital issues have been highlighted by Gordon MacDonald’s WorkSafe NZ team,” says spokesman John Stulen of the Forest Industry Contractors Association, “They’ve made some very practical observations vital to making change in our industry."

Stulen says WorkSafe NZ has been open and frank in their criticism of some shortcomings, yet has also been constructive at the same time.

Their submission is specific in identifying some key problems like their comments relating to the supply chain, “Complex contracting relationships, with little vertical or horizontal integration, along with short-term contracts make safety no one’s responsibility. The economic model creates tension between profit and worker safety and puts the greatest burden on workers rather the owners of the asset.” The regulators’ comments about infrastructure in our industry hit hard when they say, “The prevailing short term harvesting contracts in forestry – particularly in the farm forest sub-sector – exacerbate slow technological advancement and reliance on manual labour. The scale of this problem is aggravated by the high number of small contracting businesses and the frequency of short term contracts.”

At the same time WorkSafe NZ are saying they’re committed to partnering with industry to create a “Blueprint for Safer Forests.” They’ve said they’re dedicated to collaborative action, strong problem identification (including root cause accident investigation) and accountability for all. FICA looks forward to working closely with everyone in our industry, including WorkSafe on this action plan.

The WorkSafe NZ submission can be found here: http://www.business.govt.nz/worksafe/information-guidance/national-programmes/safer-forestharvesting/images-files-documents/forestry-review-response

Ends

About Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) FICA’s role is to help forest contractors and their clients work smarter and safer. This is achieved through professional development programmes including regional seminars, workshops and networking meetings around key forest product regions of New Zealand.


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