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International experts bring change

International experts bring change

After a horror year for fatalities in 2013, New Zealand’s forest industry performed superbly in 2014, both in terms of safety and wood production. Credit has to go to the people on the forest floor who had a chance to get their voice heard through the Independent Forest Safety Review and ask for changes to be made for ensuring workplaces in forestry could be safer for everyone.

As part of the sweeping changes coming to the forestry workplace, the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) is committed to ensuring forestry people have access to the best safety thinkers. This is the key to bring change to ensure safe workplaces continue to be achieved for forestry in coming months and years. Forestry’s initial paradigm shift came from change agents who brought new ideas to forestry health and safety. More change agents are set to bring lasting change.

Safety change agents who take the lead in driving positive change as keynote conference speakers in any industry, especially with practical ones like forestry. They must make sense very quickly to practical people from the forest floor. The FIEA Forest Industry Safety Summit brings four big hitters to Rotorua and Melbourne in early March. All of them have a reputation for being respected change agents in safety in forestry and other industries:

Wiremu Edmonds, Tuakiri Ltd – Wiremu and his wife Marsella lost their son, Robert Epapara, in a tree-felling accident in early 2013. Since that time, the couple has dedicated their lives to speaking passionately about “Standing in the Gap”. They have drawn a huge demand from forest managers and contractors who understand the need for change in order to save lives and reduce injuries. The pair have spoken with such powerful results that industry leaders from 6 other industries have now engaged them to speak at safety gatherings. Wiremu speaks from the heart that appeals to workers on the frontline in all industries. In their hometown of Rotorua, the Edmonds’ were recognised as “People of the Year”. People now seek their services from industries beyond forestry and further afield. In 2013, the pair of motivational speakers went on a forest industry speaking tour throughout South Africa.

Steven Falk from Switchback Systems on Canada’s west coast has earned a practical reputation for identifying how tree-fallers and others in high-risk workplace situations can improve their safety performance. Steven’s teams believe people can change, and that true, sustainable success is found in the power of team. Switchback’s seminars lead participants through the fascinating process of understanding how our stored memories form our core values. It also leads to showing how our core values direct our thoughts, which ultimately produce the actions by which we are judged.

Ivan Pupulidy of the US Forest Service directs their office for learning nationally and is an expert in fire-fighting safety behaviour – acknowledged everywhere as a very high-risk occupation – especially in Australia and to a lesser degree, in New Zealand. Ivan’s explanation of concepts of risk in frontline worker roles is well respected internationally. Ivan will be speaking on safety system analysis, risk assessment process and operational risk management. These principles apply to lots of related outdoor occupations but of course most directly to forestry and fire-fighting work.

Reynold Hert chairs the British Columbia Forest Safety Council in Canada. He has a track record of implementing change in safety records of forest companies there. Prior to his safety council role, Reynold led Western Forest Products (WFP) as president and CEO for four years ending in late 2008. In that time, he oversaw a significant improvement in its safety record. Reynold brings to his role and his industry a firm belief that safe businesses are the best businesses. He believes forestry operations that integrate safety as a way of doing business can see improved results including fewer injuries, lower costs, higher productivity and better worker morale.

All four keynote speakers bring great reputations from bringing practical change to workplaces and workers everywhere. They will be well-supported by local practitioners in safe practices at the FIEA Forest Industry Safety Summit 2015. Delegate registrations are coming with the early-bird rates set to close on 5th February for both the Rotorua and Melbourne conferences. For more information or to register directly online go to

About Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA)
The group is completely focused on hosting technical conference programmes for people across the forest and wood products industries. We provide thought-provoking speaker with paradigm shifting concepts for people working in both New Zealand and Australian operations. We offer an independent forum to allow people to evaluate new tools, techniques and technologies for real business improvement.

About Forest Industry Safety Summit 2015
The industry must change. The Forest Industry Safety Summit will play an integral part in bringing the industry together to make that change. The Summit will advance discussions on safety solutions with an internation array of practical forest industry safety speakers.

People are expected from the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. For 2015 we’re including log transport and forest and rural firefighting in our coverage of key safety issues. It’s the first time for this event to run in Australia.


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