WorkSafe raises concerns about things it has seen on sites recently

Just before Easter, WorkSafe sent out an important communication raising concerns about things it has seen on sites recently.

Fiona’s blog – Growing our Safety Culture initiative nominated for award

Safetree’s Growing our Safety Culture programme has been named as a finalist in the NZ Workplace H&S Awards.

This nomination is a well-deserved recognition of the work done by everyone who helped get this excellent programme off the ground, as well as all the companies and crews who have used and supported it. Well done to all of you!

The aim of the Growing our Safety Culture programme is to improve worker involvement in health and safety decision-making. Better worker engagement, by default, leads to better risk management. The programme also helps develop the leadership skills of foremen and managers – which also improves risk management.

At the end of March, 786 people had been through the programme – including 73 crews, 37 forest-owner staff groups, and 41 contractors or crew bosses. Eleven forest owners or contractors had run the programme with their crews, contractors, foremen or their own staff. These companies were: Timberlands, NZFM, Port Blakely, Ernslaw One, JNL, Rayonier Matariki, City Forest, Hancock Forest Management, Nelson Forests, Summit Forests and Kohurau Contracting.

Timberlands has decided to put everyone through the programme, including its board. And Port Blakely’s North American shareholders were so impressed with it, that they have run it with some of their crews in the US.

Growing our Safety Culture is a finalist in the category for best leadership of an industry or sector. Another forestry company made the finalists list – Hancock Forest Management NZ in the worker engagement category. Congratulations to everyone at HFMNZ involved in that work.

The winners of the awards will be announced on May 28th.

See more about the Growing our Safety Culture programme

View the Growing our Safety Culture resources

WorkSafe focus areas for 2019

Just before Easter, WorkSafe sent out an important communication on some of its focus areas for 2019. I included this in our pre-Easter newsletter. But I’m aware people might already have been on leave by then, so I’m drawing this information to your attention again.

WorkSafe said it wants to highlight concerns that have come to light during visits by Inspectors to forestry harvesting sites in recent months. These concerns relate to the provision of workplace facilities, mobile plant noise and hauler guarding. WorkSafe indicated that in future Inspectors are likely to take action when they come across these problems.

Hauler guarding: WorkSafe said Inspectors have observed that fall and entrapment guarding on haulers is sometimes missing or ineffective. In the past, the risks created by this ineffective guarding might have been managed with rules and procedures. However, WorkSafe indicated that it doesn’t consider this sufficient, and that mechanical or technological solutions should be put in place. It said Inspectors will have a particular focus on guarding this year.

Noise: WorkSafe said it had also observed situations where workers in cabs might be exposed to sustained noise levels sufficient to cause permanent hearing damage. It said companies need to be sure that the equipment they are buying is safe in their operating environment under actual operating conditions. Exposure to noise needs to be monitored, and where risks were identified, they need to be dealt with.

Workplace facilities: WorkSafe said Inspectors frequently visited workplaces where workers had to eat or seek protection from the weather in fuel-soaked containers, and did not have access to drinking water, hand-washing facilities or toilets. WorkSafe said from July it would begin enforcing regulations requiring forestry companies to provide appropriate facilities for workers. It said it appreciated the challenges this could present in a forestry context and it would work with companies to find pragmatic solutions. Some of these pragmatic solutions have been identified during Safetree Contractor Certification audits and Safetree will share these with the industry and WorkSafe.

For more detailed information on WorkSafe’s communication see my previous newsletter.

Latest statistics

See new statistics and reports on the Safetree website:

Information from WorkSafe on forestry fatalities in 2018.

The IRIS report for Q4 2018.

The IRIS report includes a few incidents relating to load tensioning, and loading and unloading. McCarthy Transport has produced a visual guide with practical advice on how loader operators, truck drivers, and contractors can work together to improve log loading and load security.

Read the guide

Workshops and courses

Contractor certification workshops

Find out more about certification at these workshops in May and June running in Nelson, Whangarei, Palmerston North, Balclutha, Rotorua and Nelson.

See more

Safetree leadership courses

These courses for crew foremen, crew and health and safety reps were developed specifically for forestry. They support the development of people in forestry, and help businesses improve team performance. They were piloted by several forestry companies in 2018 with great success and now we are offering them across the sector.

Find out more

Learning Review workshops

Scion is running free workshops on Learning Reviews, which are designed to maximise learning opportunities from adverse events. See details or register on the Scion website:

Dunedin workshop

Napier workshop

Nelson workshop

Use the Growing our Safety Culture resources to understand your workplace culture

The Growing our Safety Culture programme provides insights into the culture that exists in a workplace.

Even if you don’t want to do the full programme, you can use the programme resources to help you understand the culture that exists in your workplace.

For example, the Engagement resource will help you understand how well workers are involved in decisions that impact on health and safety.

Try using the following questions from that resource to get a sense of whether your worker engagement practices are on track or need action.

In your crew/team do you do the following things: Seldom/Sometimes/Always

  • Discuss health and safety issues
  • Help plan the safe and healthy way to work
  • Review health and safety procedures
  • Raise health and safety concerns.

Tips to improve worker engagement

  • Have an agreed, formal process for workers to participate in health and safety matters and to contribute to the decision-making process
  • Provide informal opportunities for workers to share their views and raise work health and safety issues
  • Ask for, and consider, the views of workers
  • Provide feedback on issues raised by workers in a timely manner
  • Involve workers in planning how work can be done safely
  • Involve workers in risk assessments
  • Involve workers in reviewing health and safety procedures
  • Involve workers in near hit and incident investigations
  • Share information and decisions in a timely manner
  • Support formal worker representation, if required.

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