Ask for support if under pressure, always drive to conditions, slippery logs, and learning from good work.

Fiona’s blog: Under pressure? It’s OK to ask for help

Firstly I want to acknowledge the recent tragic incidents in our industry – the road accident in Kaingaroa Forest and the tree faller death in Taranaki last week. These deaths take an enormous toll on everyone connected to them and my thoughts are with the families, friends, workmates and communities during these very sad times. The commitment and resolve of FISC to improve safety in forestry is only strengthened by these tragic events.

Along with these tragic events comes the news of falling log prices. This will inevitably put financial pressure on all levels of the forestry industry, and pressure in whatever form can take a toll on mental wellbeing. 

No matter who we are, or the job we do, we all feel pressure at some time. Work stress, combined with stresses outside of work, can become overwhelming. If this is happening to you, or you can feel you’re not yourself, there’s support out there; please ask for help. 

Safetree has teamed up with Vitae, a counselling service, to provide their services to the forest industry. Find out more information on the Safetree website. You can also call or text 1737 to access immediate support from a trained person who’s there 24/7. Use that number even if you’re not sure what’s going on but feel you need to talk to someone. 

Look out for your crewmates.

If someone doesn’t seem quite themselves, it’s OK to ask how they’re going – be a good mate. 

Remember the messages in our Fit for Work tailgate card:

  • A lot of injuries happen when we get stressed, angry and frustrated. Take a deep breath, refocus and stay calm.
  • Tell your foreman if you’re not feeling totally with it – maybe you’re getting sick, tired, or maybe the stress is becoming a bit too much.
  • Be a good mate at work – Tell crewmates they’ve done well, treat each other with respect and have breaks with your team (so you stay connected).


Drive well – always

My two least favourite words are ‘take care’; they don’t give any positive input on what you actually have to do to take care of yourself. When it comes to driving, I always tell my kids to “drive well”. 

We all think we drive safely. But do we? I spend a lot of time on the back of my husband’s motorbike and I see a lot of poor driving, especially on rural roads: people following too close, driving on the wrong side of the road, not wearing seatbelts, kids not in car seats… 

Please always “drive well”, which means: 

  • drive to the conditions
  • mind your following and breaking distances
  • wear your seat belt
  • have no distractions – especially texting – while driving.

We always think the other driver is the ‘idiot’, but how are we driving?

Safety Alerts

Dropped log at the Port of Tauranga: While a log truck was being unloaded at the Port of Tauranga, a log slipped out of the log head and landed on the cab of the truck, puncturing the roof and pinning the driver against his seat. 

The incident happened at a port but this could happen whenever loads are being moved so there are valuable reminders in the Safety Alert, particularly around taking care when logs could be slippery (such as when wet or during spring, when there’s a lot of sap), and for drivers/everyone to be in their Safe Zones.

Read the full Safety Alert

Industry Alerts

Log hauling cables create hazard for low flying aircraft: Lowering a logging cable while the crew took break was the only thing that saved a low flying NZRAF helicopter in Nelson’s Wairoa Valley from a catastrophic crash. 
Low flying aircraft can be expected down to 150m, so if you think your logging operations could create a hazard for aircraft in your area, notify any one local aerodromes or aerial operators directly, and notify the Civil Aviation Authority. See the CAA’s Airspace Hazards webpage for information about what hazards must be notified and the contacts to do so.

Read the full Industry Alert

Learning from success

Please send us some of your successes! We often focus on what goes wrong during our day at work, when far more things go right. By focusing on the positive, we can still learn a lot, and we’d like to hear what you’ve learned, so please email us

Learning from positive events is covered in our “Learning from success” tailgate card. 

Here are the top points:

  • Look for ways to learn in your everyday work – don’t wait for something bad to happen to learn and improve.
  • Ask, “What did we do today that helped us go home safe and well?”
  • Speak up and suggest ways to make improvements to anything you think could be better.


Don’t forget to also learn from near hit incidents, and to involve everyone in the discussions.

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