Medicinal cannabis, Leadership courses, Conference update, Covid protocol learnings

Fiona’s blog

I’m pleased and proud to announce that Wade Brunt, one of Safetree’s Toroawhi, has been named a finalist in the NZ Workplace H&S Awards for a wellbeing programme he ran last year while still working for Gisborne forestry company, McIndoe Logging.

Wade is a finalist in the Health and Safety Representative category of the awards, which showcase some of the great work being done in New Zealand to care for, and protect, our workers.

Wade’s finalist nomination relates to the work he did setting up the Jogging for Logging health camps for his fellow forestry workers. These exercise sessions were tailored for forestry people like him, and gave them a chance to improve both their physical and mental wellbeing.

Wade’s obvious passion for improving the wellbeing of the forestry community was one reason I engaged him as a Safetree Toroawhi – a champion to improving worker health and safety in forestry.

See more about Wade’s work on Jogging for Logging

See Wade talking about his work as a Toroawhi

Cannabis in the workplace: Check if your policies need to be updated for changes to the rules

New regulations that came into effect in April mean employees can now be validly using medicinal cannabis.

From a workplace perspective, medicinal cannabis can be treated in the same way as any other prescribed medicine when it comes to managing the risk of impairment.

When taking a drug test, employees must declare any prescription medicines that they are taking, including medicinal cannabis. Your drug testing provider should be aware of these changes and will be able to advise you further on the appropriate protocols.

The use of medicinal cannabis is entirely separate from the upcoming cannabis legalisation and control referendum which will be linked to the 2020 General Election.

If recreational use of cannabis is legalised following the referendum, it is useful to think of dealing with this in the same way we currently deal with alcohol consumption. While it is legal for people to drink alcohol in their own time, we do not expect people to show up to work under the influence of alcohol. The same would apply for recreational use of cannabis.

If recreational cannabis is legalised testing will still be allowed.

Existing drug and alcohol policies may be affected by the medicinal cannabis regulations and, possibly, by the outcome of the referendum. It’s important to review your policies to ensure they reflect the legalisation of medicinal cannabis use, and (depending on the referendum results) potentially the recreational use of cannabis.

The existing FOA Code of Practice Eliminating Alcohol and Other Drugs from the Workplace will be updated to take into account these changes, when the result of the referendum is known.

There are a couple of podcasts on the Business Leaders’ H&S Forum website about Canada’s experience of legalising cannabis and the impact this had on the workplace.

See more

Great feedback on Safetree leadership courses

Thanks to everyone who has attended the latest round of Safetree leadership courses. Feedback from participants has been really positive. People like the format and practical nature of the material – it gives them tips and ideas they can take back to their workplace and use straight away.

The courses are also helping people understand the approach being taken in the Safetree Certified Contractor programme, and why this programme is focused on good risk management and worker engagement, rather than just compliance.

If you’re interested in putting your people through one of these leadership courses for crew foremen, crew and health and safety reps get in touch. We currently have funding to offer a limited number of these courses for free.


Update: Safetree Conference: Connect for Success

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

I’m pleased to announce that Allison Mooney ‘the people interpreter’ will be a speaker at our conference. Allison is a fun, entertaining speaker but her message is a powerful one that is informative and even life-changing for some people.

Alison says that, regardless of what organisation we’re in, we all deal with people. Transformation occurs when we respect and celebrate each other’s differences. You will come away from this session with a simple but effective tool that will change the way you see others, and will help you learn how to ‘press the right buttons’ to reduce the number of ‘people challenges’ you face.

See more or register on the FICA website

Covid-19 forestry protocols – key learnings

The collaboration that led to the timely creation of pan-forest industry Covid-19 working protocols was a great achievement. The protocols were used across the industry and contributed to the control of Covid-19 in New Zealand. Protecting the wellbeing of people and the future of their businesses provided ‘neutral ground’ where the sector was prepared to work together to achieve a greater good. There is potential for this spirit of cooperation and collaboration to be built on for other challenges the industry faces.

A key learning from this work was the critical importance of the industry showing leadership and working together. Rowan Struthers from China Forestry Group played a significant part in achieving this collaboration, along with organising the structure of the working groups. There was positive feedback from forest owners that contractors took a very conscientious approach to the implementation of protocols.

The protocols also showed the benefits of having an organisation like FISC that was able to represent the industry and work with other sector leadership bodies, particularly construction. This enabled forestry to learn quickly from others and to achieve a degree of consistency in approach which helped when it came to getting the protocols endorsed by WorkSafe.

Safetree’s existing networks and databases also provide invaluable for getting feedback on the draft guidance and distributing the final protocols.

A key learning from the protocols was that one of the biggest challenges for forestry is meeting the physical separation requirements in vehicles. This challenge was met by identifying ‘bubbles’ of workers who could travel and work together, as well as physical screening in some vehicles.

Another challenge highlighted by the protocols was hygiene and welfare facilities in forestry. These are not as sophisticated as those found in other sectors. Provision of good welfare facilities is vital to prevent disease spread and these facilities should be maintained post Covid-19.

The protocols are now established and endorsed by WorkSafe and are available to the sector if Alert Levels change. Thanks again to everyone who contributed to this work.

See the protocols

Targeted training and apprenticeship fund and apprenticeship boost wage subsidy

Competenz has confirmed that several forestry related qualifications/training programmes are included in the Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund. This fund covers enrolment, assessment and block course fees from 1 July 2020 until 31 December 2022 that the ITO would usually on-charge to employers. Eligible programmes include:

All Apprenticeships: Forest harvesting; Pulp and Paper manufacturing.

All Level 3 and Level 4 New Zealand Certificates in: Forest silviculture and harvesting; Solid wood processing; Wood panel manufacturing and Pulp and Paper manufacturing.

More details can be found here

Employers can also apply for the Apprentice Boost Wage Subsidy. This funding comes through the Ministry of Social Development.

See more

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