An industry-wide, co-operative and comprehensive push to reduce the number of deaths and injuries in our forests is now underway. Safetree™ has been showcased to forestry leaders from across the country at the Forestry Industry Safety conference in Rotorua.
As you know, far too many people die or are injured in the bush. As Ray McDougall, a foreman at Mangoihe Logging who appears in the Safetree™ launch video says, humans are “the softest thing in the bush – metal and wood certainly beat the human body.” And that’s why we’ve developed Safetree™, to help forestry workers do their jobs the right way, the safe way, every time so each day they go home to their families in one piece.
It’s early days yet, but the Safetree™ website will become the place for forestry people at all levels to go to find safety resources aimed directly at them. There will be how-to videos, downloads, posters, flip-charts, tailgate resources and much more to show them the safe way to work. We’re also going to be working on a smartphone app to push reminders and all sorts of useful information to those who have signed up.
Safetree™ is very much a combined effort, bringing together forestry industry groups and government. Our thanks goes to ACC, the Council of Trade Unions, the Forestry Industry Contractors Association, the NZ Forestry Owners Association and WorkSafe.
Enormous thanks, too, to the faces representing Safetree™, especially Wiremu Edmonds and a crack crew from Mangoihe Logging. Wiremu is already a familiar face to most people in the forestry industry. He’s been a long-time workplace safety advocate, and since 2010 has been travelling around the country talking to crews about building a Forestry Safety Culture.
Sadly, Wiremu and his family know all too well the enormous cost unsafe practices in the forest can bring. In 2013 his son Robert Epapara was killed by a workmate who felled a tree within two tree lengths of his position. Crews respect Wiremu for his drive and his wisdom, and the knowledge his words come from one who knows.
The crew in the video comes from Whanganui’s Mangoihe Logging, led by Mark McCarthy. With more than 40 years in forestry, Mark is an expert practitioner and his crews are held up as shining examples of safe practice. None so much as the crew we feature in our Safetree™ video, and we will revisit Mark’s crew as we create Safetree’s how-to videos for each of the main cable logging tasks.
It’s exciting to have the Safetree™ initiative underway at a time it’s very much needed.
Please sign up for our newsletter and keep checking back on www.safetree.nz to learn more about keeping safe on the job.