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Death toll in forestry sector must be addressed

28 November 2012

Death toll in forestry sector must be addressed

The Government needs to address the horrific toll of death and injury in the forestry sector, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s spokesperson for labour issues.

Her comments follow the New Zealand Council of Trade Union’s call for a review into employment practices and health and safety in the sector following the loss of its 13th worker in just three years.

“Revelations of employment conditions that lead to work in the New Zealand forestry industry being seven times more dangerous than those in the UK are a grave concern,” Darien Fenton said.

“The various arrangements that enable employers in the sector to subcontract out their responsibilities for decent and safe work are directly contributing to needless deaths and injuries.

“For example, the practice of contracting out cutting work - where employees work dangerously long hours to earn a pittance – in order for employers to reduce health and safety liabilities, is contributing to the carnage in our forests.

“Forestry workers aren’t alone. Workers in other dangerous industries, such as road transport, deserve better protection.

“The government’s taskforce on health and safety must consider how contracting arrangements like these contribute to our awful death and injury toll.

“New Zealand needs a hands-on government when it comes to health and safety. Contracting methods that cut safety corners and allow employees to work well beyond safety limits must be reviewed,” Darien Fenton said.


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