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Time for inquiry into health and safety in Forestry Industry

27 November 2012

Time for an inquiry into health and safety in the Forestry Industry

The news today of the workplace death of yet another forestry worker shows this is an industry that has a serious health and safety crisis and needs a rigorous review into its employment practices, CTU President Helen Kelly said today.

“We welcome the work the Government is doing in health and safety including the Independent Taskforce Review but something is seriously wrong in this particular industry and a special investigation is required”, Helen Kelly said.

Helen Kelly said that the industry is controlled by a few very big forest owners who largely contract out the cutting work to small employers who are forced to compete on price to win work. Stories of forestry workers working long hours, on low pay, in high risk and extreme working conditions are now coming to the surface, making this one of the most dangerous industries in the country with seven times the death rate of the UK.

We don’t yet know the details of how this young man died today but we do know there have been 13 fatalities in the industry in the last three years (excluding those killed in logging truck accidents) and many more injuries.

Forestry is the third largest export industry in the country and needs more scrutiny into its operations.

We call on the Government to immediately establish a group to talk to workers in the industry and make recommendations that stop these terrible deaths occurring.

20/01/2010, Male aged 32, Port Underwood, Marlborough, Forestry accident;
20/01/2010, Male aged 37, Forest Block Tokoroa, Crushing injuries
12/02/2010, Male aged 41, Paeroa, Crushed by bulldozer;
28/09/2010, Male aged 50, Whenuakite, Crushing;
13/12/2010, Male aged 19, Wharerata Forest, Crushing;
17/02/2011, Male aged 61, Marlborough, Struck by tree branch;
31/08/2011, Male aged 45, Dunedin, Hit by tree;
9/2/12, Boy aged 5, Motueka, killed by log;
6.3.12, Male aged 38, Atiamuri, hit by hauler rope;
11.4.12, Male aged 33, Wanganui, crushed by tree;
26.6.12, Male aged 44, Gisborne, killed by log;
26.6.12, Male aged 49, Opotiki, falling branch;
Today, Male aged 24, Pongaora, crushed by falling tree

ENDS

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