Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


The forest safety battle is not yet won

The forest safety battle is not yet won

Point scoring in the media will not make our forests safer places to work, says the Forest Owners Association.

“The unions are claiming credit for a sudden reduction in the fatality and serious accident rate and Worksafe NZ is slamming us for a lack of safety leadership. These comments are unbalanced and unhelpful,” says association president Paul Nicholls.

“Political posturing and blaming others won’t save workers lives. To transform the industry’s safety culture, participants will need to acknowledge their past shortcomings and to share experiences and knowledge. They are less likely to be open to this if they are being publicly pilloried.”

He says this year’s lower accident rate is great news, but points out that it’s the long-term trend that counts – accident rates fluctuate from year to year. He also claims the Forest Owners Association (FOA) has been associated with every major safety initiative in the industry in the last 20 years.

“In that time the long-term serious accident rate in the sector has halved, relative to the number of trees harvested. Also, the accident rate in forests managed by FOA members has fallen to 25 per cent of that in non-member forests.

“This is not to say we are perfect. We still have a long way to go before we achieve our goal of being a zero serious harm industry, but we are heading in the right direction. Much of what we are doing clearly works.

“Our members lead by example. Our safety resources are freely available on the web to all operators. But we don’t have the power to enforce good practice. That’s the job of the regulator.”
Mr Nicholls says improved safety requires the commitment of the owner of the forest, the employer, the employee, ACC and MBIE/Worksafe.

“Until last year, ACC and MBIE/Worksafe were not pulling their weight. They have acknowledged this and have pledged to work with the industry on safety initiatives and to properly resource the safety inspectorate. We welcome that.

“Worksafe inspections – especially of operations where the risks are the greatest – need to be routine. Not just something that’s done in those years when there is a spike in the accident rate.”

He says the trade union campaign and publicity about the industry-funded Independent Forest Safety Review (IFSR) have raised awareness of the need for safe work practices. But he argues that short-term campaigns do little to improve long-term safety outcomes.

“We have to make permanent changes to forest operations so that safety is still seen as a top priority when the publicity fades away. We are putting a lot of effort into a joint ACC/FOA injury prevention programme, with materials being rolled out over the next six months. Initiatives like these will combine with others to make permanent beneficial changes to our safety culture.

“We will also be paying close attention to the findings of the IFSR, which we expect to give us some further insights into what we can do better.”

Mr Nicholls says the industry initiated the review with government support and sought to include the views of all people with an interest in the sector.

“The Combined Trade Unions is one of those parties, but they represent only 4 per cent of the forest workforce,” he says.

“Submissions to the independent review panel have now closed. Let’s now allow the panel to do its job. Meanwhile we strongly encourage forest owners and contractors to adopt the initiatives that we know will make their operations safer.”

[ends]

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

17 Year Sentences In Baby Moko Case: Attorney General On Plea Bargain

“The Crown’s decisions in this case, including the decision to accept the manslaughter pleas, were motivated by the need to secure convictions for this horrendous killing and to avoid the significant risk that either of the defendants could escape such a conviction because of evidential issues.” More>>

ALSO:

No Rail For New Harbour Crossing: National Giving Up On Rail In Auckland

The National Government’s decision to scrap two planned rail lines in Auckland shows it is giving up on a city-wide rail network in Auckland, and on thousands of commuters who sit in traffic jams every single day, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Ombudsman’s Verdict On Paula Rebstock And Ian Rennie

Unfortunately, the brave and damning report by Ombudsman Ron Paterson on the “flawed” and “unfair” inquiry conducted by Dame Paula Rebstock into events at MFAT pulls back the veil on a far wider issue. More>>

ALSO:

Charities' Report: Stressed Families - Overstretched Services

“Like so many of the whānau and families they serve social service organisations are under huge financial stress. The support demanded from desperate people in communities is far outreaching the resources available.” More>>

ALSO:

Detention: Wellingtonians Protest Treatment Of Refugees

Peace Action Wellington (PAW) and around 50 Wellingtonians blockaded the Australian High Commission, creating a symbolic detention centre to protest the Australian Government's policy of mandatory offshore detention for refugees and asylum seekers. More>>

ALSO:

Diver's Alarums: Breach Means Training Provider Must Repay $1.47 Million

The New Zealand School of Outdoor Studies is to repay $1.47 million (GST-exclusive) to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) following an investigation which showed that some student enrolments between 2009 -2014 could not be validated and that courses were under-delivered against their agreement with the TEC. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Government Plans Suggest Bulk Funding Return

Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

Interim Report: Auckland Looks Long Term To Pay-Per-Km Road Pricing

Aucklanders can expect to be paying variable rates per kilometre to travel on the city's most congested roads under an emerging transport strategy being formulated by the government and the Auckland Council. More>>

ALSO:

Despite Promises: Government Extends Iraq Deployment

Cabinet has agreed to extend New Zealand’s contribution to the joint New Zealand-Australia mission to train Iraqi Security Forces until November 2018. More>>

ALSO:

On The 'Terrorism' Card:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news