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Progress on forestry safety action

Hon Simon Bridges

Minister of Labour

24 June 2014
Media Statement

Progress on forestry safety action

In the first five months of this year, the number of serious injuries reported in forestry has dropped by nearly half compared with last year, Labour Minister Simon Bridges says.

“This is positive news and indicates the work the whole industry – the regulator, the forestry companies, the contractors and the workers - has been doing is paying off, but this is not a time to celebrate,” Mr Bridges says.

“I remain concerned that WorkSafe New Zealand is continuing to find very serious levels of non-compliance in the industry.”

WorkSafe New Zealand figures show 46 serious injuries have been reported this year up to the end of May compared with 82 in the same period last year. This year’s figures are substantially below the six year rolling average for the same period of 77.

During the recently completed proactive ‘breaking out’ assessment programme, inspectors made 222 visits and issued 299 enforcements including 25 prohibition notices.

The latest figures from WorkSafe’s new proactive ‘tree felling’ assessment programme show inspectors visited an additional 224 tree felling operations and issued 235 enforcement notices, including 36 prohibition notices which shut down part or all of a felling operation.

WorkSafe NZ also visited 32 forest owners and companies to determine their compliance with their duties as Principals. Further discussions will be held with the owners and managers to get greater clarity on the link between their actions and the continuing levels of non-compliance at the bush line.

“These latest figures must lead the whole industry to re-double its efforts to put the safety of its workers first,” Mr Bridges says.

“The significant decline in reported serious injuries is encouraging but there is a long way to go to get this industry into safety-first mode.

“I look forward to the results of the Independent Forestry Safety Review which will be released later this year. The Government will seriously consider the panel’s recommendations as part of the overall efforts to bring down the unacceptable level of harm and death in forestry.

ends

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