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New 'Back On Track' Kit Helps Forestry Workers

April 2 2008

New 'Back On Track' Kit Helps Forestry Workers

A new industry-led injury management resource is set to improve on forestry's gains in bringing down injury rates.

While the overall number of ACC claims in forestry have been coming down, the number of long-term injuries - or people who have been off work for more than 12 months - has remained high, said ACC Programme Manager, Don Ramsay.

471 workers were on ACC's books as having been off work for more than a year in 2006/2007, at a cost of $7.6 million to the industry. "Long-term injuries are both a pain and a drain for forestry workers, contractors, and business owners. We know that better injury management will make significant improvements," Mr Ramsay said.

To support workers through injury and get them back to work, the forestry industry and ACC has developed the new 'Back On Track' kit. The kit is aimed specifically at supporting forestry workers from the minute they are injured, right through to becoming injury-free.

"When a worker is injured good communication is essential between the doctors, the employer, the employee and ACC," said ACC Account Manager Peter Musk. "The 'Back on Track' kit contains information and electronic copies of forms and letter templates employers need to have on hand at this time. This means that when a worker is injured, their information is communicated well so doctors and ACC have everything they need to make the proper assessments."

Also, at workshops held around the country, 'alternative duty lists' have been given out specifying what light duties an injured person might be able to do if they can't continue in their regular job. The alternative duty lists allow the injured person to keep working in some capacity within the crew. In the future these lists may be included in the packs.

"Sometimes these workers become 'out of sight, out of mind' and just get forgotten about. It's so much better for everyone if injured workers are managed well so they're kept on the job as much as possible and don't fall between the gaps," Don Ramsay said.

The 'Back On Track' kit comes in a zip-up wallet and, once the crew's information is added, the pack is kept in the crew's vehicle on-site. "We're very pleased with how strongly the forestry industry has supported the creation of the kit and is facilitating getting the kits and the messages out to crews," Mr Ramsay said. "It shows the industry is taking injury prevention and injury management very seriously."

Key industry players have been PF Olsen, Kajavala Forestry Limited, the Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) and the Olsen Group of Companies.

To get 'Back on Track' kits, alternative duties lists, or for more information about the kits, please call ACC on 0800 101 996.


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