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Forestry contractors focused on new safety laws

Forestry contractors focused on new safety laws

Leading forestry contractors are moving fast to ensure they understand and implement systems for meeting new health and safety laws brought in last month. Under the guidance of their industry association – the Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) – forest contractors are being encouraged to attend special workshops on the new legislation around health and safety in forestry workplaces. They have responded in greater numbers than ever before.

Ross Davis, President of FICA, says has they've seen a surge in contractor numbers attending new health and safety legislation workshops in Gisborne and Tokoroa. More are expected when the series of regional workshops goes to Balclutha on 16 June and up to Whangarei on 14 July. Contractors are turning out in droves for these events.

“FICA is all about professionalism,” says Davis, “so we’re making sure contractor owners are well prepared and proactive in meeting new workplace expectations.”

At the workshops, legal, safety and business management experts have been updating contracting industry leaders in forestry on expectations of new laws. Case studies are being used to help members come to grips with key aspects of the health and safety legislation.

“We’ve got some really practical and experienced workshop leaders to help our members get a practical understanding of the new laws,” says Davis, “and we’ve got a great thing going with law specialists from Minter Ellison Rudd Watts and ACC consultant, Martin Wouters from Manage Company.”

Discussion at workshops is highlighting that new health and safety laws deliberately spread responsibilities for PCBUs across a number of parties in forest workplaces. The workshop leaders are emphasising the need for leaders to know what is expected of them, their safety managers and their crew leaders right from the outset.

Davis adds, “Our workers and fellow contractors are busy working in technical action groups organised by our new Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) These groups are providing new tools and techniques to implement more effective safety initiatives on the forest floor.”

“So FICA is showing real leadership for people who are serious about safety, and frankly to be in this business you have to be serious about it,” says Davis, “but, we’re not stopping here – we will be putting an industry-wide contractor certification system in place across forestry soon.”

Several new forestry initiatives are to be instigated to ensure only competent people running legally-compliant and tax-verified businesses are able to tender for forestry contracts. New contractor pre-qualification systems are expected to be up and running in a pilot phase later this year.

ENDS

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