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Forest safety paradigm shift from international experts



Forest safety paradigm shift from international experts


After a horror year of workplace fatalities in 2013, New Zealand’s forest industry performed superbly in 2014, both in terms of safety and wood production. The credit for the dramatic turnaround in safety performance has to go to the people on the forest floor. These hard-working people were the same ones who made their voice heard at the Independent Forest Safety Review. They did it to ensure workplaces in forestry could be safer for everyone.

As part of the sweeping safety reform in forestry workplaces, the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) is bringing international safety experts to New Zealand next week for an industry-wide summit. At this event, forest safety leaders and forest company CEOs will have access to the best safety thinkers in the business globally.

Summit spokesman John Stulen says, “Using international thought leaders in forest safety is vital for bringing change to our local forestry workplaces. Locally, industry leaders have been well connected to them. So a number of significant changes are set to be announced beginning next week at our summit.”

“Major safety interventions are set to be launched for forestry in coming days and weeks”, he added.

“The Independent Forest Safety Review set the stage for a huge ‘Agenda for Change’ and it is set to be announced at the Summit.”

On 3-4th March, the FIEA Forest Industry Safety Summit for Rotorua brings three big safety leaders for forestry. Every single one of them has a reputation for being respected change agents in safety in forestry in North America:

Steven Falk from Switchback Systems in Canada on the British Columbia 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 and 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 three 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. Over 400 delegates have already registered to attend the conference series running in Rotorua on 3-4th March and Melbourne on 10-11th March. For more information or to register directly online, go to http://forestsafety2015.com

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