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Paradigm shift in forest safety is no surprise to some

Media Release

21st February 2017


Paradigm shift in forest safety is no surprise to some

The leading professional group for loggers in New Zealand says big improvements in forest safety are no surprise – they’ve been focused on change for 3 years. Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) president Ross Davis says new technology and culture change have had a real impact in forest workplaces.

Davis says, “Many of our member contractors have been working closely with safety coaches and innovative engineers in the forest. Real changes in safety are now clear with people communicating better in our crews. Also, mechanised harvesters are making steep slope harvesting much safer.”

Davis says the change in the forest contracting industry has been in collaboration with both forest owners and brokers whose leaders understand the intent of our new health and safety laws. He cautioned though that there are still safety challenges in smaller forests because:

• Not enough of the single crew logging contractors are being guided by the landowners they are harvesting forests for.

• There are a lot of new small forests coming to the market for harvest in the next 8-10 years where the people are not even aware of their legal risks or responsibilities.

• The launch of an industry-wide contractor certification system will be voluntary in its initial stages. Some smaller operators may not think they need it but the opposite is true – they will benefit the most from its two audits designed to quantify people’s business practices are both lawful and safety-focused.

“Our membership is the most well-informed group about safety practices but the message that safety is paramount needs to be heard by farm foresters and the smaller contractors who are going to be operating on their forest land,” says Davis.

Ends


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