This is a stressful time for people working in forestry.
The slowdown caused by Covid-19 (Coronavirus) is hitting people in harvesting particularly hard. I am working closely with FICA to pass on information ‘from the ground’ to agencies involved in the government’s response. So, if you are aware of new developments the industry or government need to know about please pass them on to me.
Our new Toroawhi have been supporting crews and workers in their regions. In the Central North Island Richard Stringfellow has been gathering information about the impact on crews, including those in silviculture.
In Gisborne, Wade Brunt has set up a forestry wellness centre where stood-down workers can meet, talk and exercise to help them cope with the stress they’re under. Wade hosted a visit to the gym by Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and media, which has been a great way to focus attention on the issues people in forestry are facing.
Prior to Wade joining Safetree we did a video on his personal health journey, and how he has been trying to help his fellow forestry workers improve their mental and physical wellbeing. That video is now available on Safetree. Below are several other links to information about Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and help available to businesses and people affected by it. This includes a good video that de-mystifies the virus and has very clear messages on how people can protect their health. I’d encourage you to share it around your organisations and with your workers.
Our dashboard of performance for the 2019 year shows a downward trend in serious injuries. In fact, the week away from work statistics are the lowest they have been in some time.
However, fatalities are now showing higher. This is due to WorkSafe now including a wider range of incidents in its statistics, including work-related vehicle accidents. As a result, the 2019 fatality statistics have been revised to now include the four forestry workers killed in a vehicle accident in a Bay of Plenty forest last July.
Driving has been identified as one of forestry’s critical risks so having these incidents included in the official statistics is entirely appropriate.