Managing work pressure and SafeStart 2020 resource

Fiona’s blog: Managing work pressures

At this busy time of year, it’s not uncommon for the pressure to ‘get the job done’ to really escalate, particularly when there are trucks waiting to be loaded or ships coming into port needing to be filled. People want to keep the boss or the client happy so they’re willing to go the extra mile to help.

Sometimes, however, this pressure to get the job done can undermine both the health and the safety of workers. Unmanageable or excessive work pressure can cause stress and ill health – including high blood pressure and heart disease. It can also lead to poor decision-making or damaged working relationships – which increase the risk of incidents happening.

So, it’s important that forestry businesses and bosses stay attuned to the impact that work pressures are having on all their people, including contractors – and that they do something to manage these pressures before they get too much.

Safety is a priority across the forestry industry now. It’s important that we reinforce to crews, foremen and contractors that that doesn’t change just because there is a truck or a boat waiting. Better to take a bit longer to do a good, safe job than to lose days dealing with the fallout of an incident, or worse, someone’s death.

This newsletter includes a couple of resources to help manage work pressures.

Our Safe-Start 2020 resource aims to get forest owners and managers, and crew owners and foremen thinking about the concept of ‘start-work’ authority – that is, empowering workers to only start work when they have confirmed that all the risk controls are in place and are working as they should be.

The second resource can also be used with crews. It aims to help people identify if work pressures are a problem, and offers some simple ideas to manage them.

Safetree Safe-Start 2020 resource for forest owners & managers, crew owners & foremen

Imagine taking off on your first tandem hang-gliding flight only to find out that the instructor has forgotten to attach your harness to the hang-glider. That’s what happens in one of the videos featured in our engaging and thought-provoking Safetree Safe-Start 2020 resource.

This resource is specifically for forestry owners and managers, crew owners and foremen. It’s designed to get people thinking about the best way to set up crews for a good day at work – one that helps avoid mistakes that cause incidents.

The resource challenges the common belief that people can just stop work if things get difficult or dangerous. Sometimes by the time we realise there’s a problem, it’s too late to stop before someone gets hurt. This is a particular risk in situations where work pressures have led to people starting work without being properly prepared.

You’re encouraged to download this resource, and to share and discuss it with other leaders and managers you work with as part of your 2020 Safe-Start activities.

Download the Safetree Safe-Start 2020 resource

Resource to help track whether work pressures are causing health and safety problems

As part of your SafeStart 2020 activities you could also consider making use of Safetree’s Growing our Safety Culture resource on managing work pressures. This resource can be used with crews as well as with others working in forestry. It includes ideas to help manage work pressures, along with questions to help identify if work pressures are causing health and safety problems.

Download the work pressure resource
See more about the Growing our Safety Culture programme

Sign up to the KYND health and wellbeing app

People working in forestry can sign up for free to the KYND health and wellbeing app using the code N8FISC. They can enter their health information into the app, then keep tabs on how their mental and physical health is tracking. Watch this video where researcher and former forestry manager Trevor Best talks about his research into the impact of stress on forestry workers, and Dr Tom Mulholland talks about how the KYND app can help people manage the health impacts of stress.

Watch the video

Updated WorkSafe information on forestry fatalities

WorkSafe has provided updated information on the death of forestry worker Russell Oxnam in the Manawatu on 8 October this year.

Russell was the owner of Foxpine Logging Limited, who were contracted to John Turkington Limited. Russell was working on a moderately steep slope on a windy dry day clearing windthrow in a medium size forest block. While cutting a root plate from a windthrown tree, the root plate was dislodged and fell into a dip in the terrain pinning Russell against another tree resulting in fatal injuries.

WorkSafe’s investigation into this incident is ongoing. It notes that manual tree falling remains a high-risk activity with six of the most recent 11 forestry fatalities being of manual tree fallers. This risk is even higher where windthrow is involved. Much of this risk can be eliminated through mechanisation – WorkSafe said it is not aware of any fatalities involving mechanised tree falling.

See more on managing risks when tree falling:
Best Practice Guide
Safetree tree falling resources
See more WorkSafe information on fatalities

Know someone who might benefit from this newsletter?

If you know or work with someone who could benefit from Safetree’s resources, then send them this newsletter and suggest they sign up to get it themselves. They can sign up at the bottom of our website homepage:

Safetree Conference: Connect for Success 26 & 27 March 2020, Wellington

Successful work is about more than just best safety practices. It’s also influenced by the health and wellbeing of workers, the work environment, and how well we manage external pressures to achieve productivity.

This conference will address those issues and will offer tangible ideas on how they can be managed. The speakers will appeal to a broad range of people, from CEOs to frontline workers, and other industry participants.

They include medical doctor and former New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O’Sullivan, who will talk about how smarter healthcare can help create a safer work environment in the bush. There will also be workshops on lifting capability, so attendees will come away with some new tools and skills to use.

Click to register on the FICA website

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