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Industry-led forestry inquiry welcomed

Industry-led forestry inquiry welcomed

Labour Minister Simon Bridges today welcomed the announcement of an industry-led inquiry into forestry safety, which will commence next month.

“I am pleased the forestry industry has taken ownership of the inquiry as enduring safety solutions in our forests cannot be made by government enforcement alone,” Mr Bridges says.

“The number of workplace deaths and injuries in forestry is too high and any action to reduce that toll deserves support.

“The Government’s health and safety regulator, WorkSafe NZ, will make a significant contribution to the inquiry. It will provide secretariat and other support, and will also make a substantial submission.

“I encourage the inquiry to report back swiftly so that Government can seriously consider all recommendations as quickly as possible,” Mr Bridges says.

“In the meantime WorkSafe NZ will continue its proactive enforcement work. So far more than 200 enforcement actions have been taken, including shutting down 14 operations due to imminent danger of serious injury or death.

“WorkSafe inspectors have been surprised by operators’ low level of compliance, and frankly so have I. Nearly half of the 164 operators visited since August 2013 are failing to meet their health and safety obligations.

“As a result, I have directed WorkSafe NZ to urgently review the Approved Code of Practice to clarify what is expected from forest owners, managers and operators under the law.

“I believe the industry taking responsibility coupled with the Government’s commitment to improve forestry safety will help lead to sustainable change.”

Ends

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