Safetree Conference rescheduled for November; Covid-19; Free Leadership Courses; Working in Bad Weather

Fiona’s blog

I expect that a hot topic of conversation at the rescheduled Safetree Conference on 19 & 20 November will be how forestry people have adapted to what’s been an extraordinary year for the industry and New Zealand generally.

Forestry businesses have displayed incredible resilience in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic aftermaths. The conference will be a great opportunity for us to share stories about how people have protected their workers and their businesses. 

The collaboration that led to the timely creation of pan-forestry industry Covid-19 working protocols was a great achievement. Protecting the wellbeing of people provided ‘neutral ground’ where forestry business were prepared to set aside commercial rivalries to achieve a greater good.

I would like to see the industry build on that experience and explore other areas where we could work together to look after our people and our businesses. The conference will be a great place for us to continue the conversation, as it will bring together people from right across the industry.

See more about our line-up of speakers below, along with the link to register if you haven’t already done so.


Details of the Safetree Conference – Connect for Success

19 & 20 November 2020, TSB Auditorium (Shed 6), Wellington

FISC and FICA are proud to partner again on running the Safetree Conference, which aims to support the success of our forestry companies and the health and wellbeing of our foresters.

The conference was scheduled for March 2020 but had to be postponed due to Covid-19. We have retained our keynote speaker Dr Lance O’Sullivan, a former New Zealander of the year and passionate advocate for Maori health. 

The presentations and workshops are designed to be relevant to a broad range of people, from CEOs to frontline workers. There will also be an opportunity for delegates to check out products and equipment at the Trade Display area both on the 19 & 20 November.

For more information and to register visit the FICA website. 

Working with Covid-19

Recent media about new cases of Covid-19 are a reminder that businesses still need to manage the risks of this virus. The key things to remember, and to remind people of, at Level 1 are:

  1. Stay home if you are unwell
  2. Maintain good hygiene (hand washing and cleaning shared surfaces)
  3. Keeping track of where you have been for contact tracing purposes.

No-one wants to see us move to a higher Alert Level. However, if this was to happen, forestry is well prepared because we have agreed protocols in place for working at all Covid-19 Alert Levels.

See the Level 1 update
See all the Covid-19 Protocols 

Interested in free leadership courses?

Are you interested in putting your people through Safetree’s leadership courses for crew foremen, crew and health and safety reps? These courses are specifically designed for forestry. They support the development of people, and help businesses improve team performance. We currently have funding to offer a limited number of these courses for free.

The dates and locations of upcoming courses are:

  • Gisborne: 9 & 10 July
  • Taranaki: 29 & 30 July
  • Rotorua: 3 & 4 August
  • Whanganui: 19 & 20 August
  • South Island (East Coast town TBC): 7 & 8 September
  • South Island (West Coast town TBC): 10 & 11 September

If you would like to take advantage of this offer please email

Working in bad weather

With winter in full swing now’s a good time to remind crews and workers about how to stay safe during bad weather. Here are some key pointers from Safetree’s Toolbox Card on Working in Bad Weather.

Contact your foreman about stopping work or changing tasks when:

The wind is blowing things off the trees or around

  • The wind is bending the trees.
  • Debris is being blown down.
  • You can’t walk against the wind.

Wind plus soil conditions make it unsafe to work

  • If it’s too wet, poorly rooted or non-windfirm trees can become unstable.

Other weather conditions make it unsafe

  • Heavy rain stops you looking up to check for tree movement or debris in the tops.
  • You don’t have the right gear (wind/waterproof) to keep you warm and dry while working.

REMEMBER TO KEEP IN TOUCH – Always check in with others if you’re working in bad weather as the chance of injury is higher than usual.

See the Working in Bad Weather toolbox card 

Toroawhi update

Our Torowahi/Worker Engagement Champions are making the most of Level-1 and are back visiting harvesting and silviculture crews.

They’re supporting workers and forestry businesses to give workers a stronger voice in health and safety. Research shows that the safest workplaces are ones where workers speak up and contribute to decisions that affect wellbeing and safety.

Toroawhi Richard Stringfellow is particularly focused on working with silviculture crews in the central North Island, while Wade Brunt is working with crews in the Tairāwhiti region.

Contact Richard at:
Contact Wade at:

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