Introducing new Chair, Daily Debrief resource, Information on a fatality, Survey on employment standards

Fiona’s blog

I’m pleased to announce that Simon O’Grady will be joining FISC in April as our Chair.

Simon works outside the forestry industry, as Chief Investment Officer at Kiwi Wealth, so will operate as an independent chair. In his investment roles he has developed an understanding of the investment and financial side of the forestry industry. He also co-owns two forestry blocks totalling about 400 hectares, one in the Marlborough Sounds and one in Horowhenua.

Simon will take over as Chair when Dame Alison Paterson steps down after nearly six years in the role. On behalf of FISC, I would like to thank Alison for the work she has done for the industry. Her contribution has been essential to establishing and developing FISC. 

Simon says he took on the role as Chair because he wants to contribute to FISC’s work of protecting forestry workers. His analytical and strategic skills will support FISC at a governance level. He is based in Wellington but he’s keen to start connecting with industry people across the country, and to hear their ideas on FISC’s work and what else we should be doing. Simon will be formally welcomed onto the Council at its next meeting in April.

Follow up from Contractor Certification workshop

We got some excellent feedback from industry people who attended our Safetree Contractor Certification workshop in January. Thanks to everyone who attended and provided input. Certification has been running for three years now and the workshop was part of a review we are doing to ensure this initiative is delivering what the industry needs.

What we heard from attendees was that certification is valued by the industry and people see real benefits in going through the certification process. However, there is also a need to refine and improve the scheme to maximise its value for the industry. The next step in the review is for the Technical Action Group (TAG) to meet on 9 March where the improvement work will begin! In the meantime, we’ve captured some comments from people who’ve been through certification about what they see as being the benefits.

Watch Logic Forest Solutions and Ellis Silviculture Contractors talk about the benefits of certification.

Daily debrief resource

We’ve had some good feedback about our Daily Debrief Resource, which we circulated before Christmas for people to use at their Safe Start events. Doing a quick debrief at the end of the day is an opportunity to learn, to recognise good work and to set things up well for the next day. It also ensures people have their heads clear of work issues when they drive home and can spend quality time with their whānau. Crews that have adopted this as a part of their everyday routine have seen gains in operational efficiency, team cohesion and morale. For those who missed the resource, here are the links again.

Daily Debrief Resource 
Daily Debrief Resource poster

Worker views sought on employment standards

The Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Council is seeking views from silviculture and harvesting workers on employment standards in forestry. It is asking workers to complete a short Survey Monkey survey in order to gather their views. This feedback will help it develop employment standards that can be agreed to by all industry participants. The Forest and Wood Processing Council was formed to help respond to the industry’s workforce needs. It says the new standards will help set a level playing field for forestry. They will help stop the ‘race-to-the-bottom’ effects of competitive tendering, while providing flexibility to preserve the cultural identities and practices of contractors. It is keen to hear from as many forestry workers as possible.

Go to the survey

Information about fatality near Masterton in January

To help the forestry industry learn and become safer, WorkSafe has agreed to share information about forestry fatalities. Below is some initial information from WorkSafe about a fatality near Masterton in January. We are grateful to WorkSafe, Mr Whare’s whānau, the Contactor and Principal for releasing this level of detail.

  • Person: Steve Whare, 53 years old, an experienced and popular member of the logging crew.
  • Date: 26 January 2021.
  • Location: Tinui Valley, near Masterton.
  • Employer: Egmont Logging Ltd who were harvesting for Farman Turkington Forestry Ltd.
  • Activity: Machine-assisted felling of a mature Macrocarpa shelter belt on farmland.
  • Terrain and conditions: At the time of the incident Mr Whare was clear-felling on the flat and it was clear underfoot. The weather was hot and sunny.
  • Circumstances: WorkSafe says indications are that Mr Whare had completed his cuts on a tree being held by a grapple. It appears as though the shelter belt was close cropped about 30 years old. It had a mean height of approximately 32m, with intertwined tops. WorkSafe understands that Mr Whare retreated to a partially protected position 2 trees away. Following that, it appears that as the machine started to move to lower the cut tree, the top third of the tree next to it (intertwined top), has broken off, fatally striking Mr Whare. WorkSafe says its investigation is ongoing and the information above is as it understood events at the time of this update.
  • Risk Management: WorkSafe says the Health and Safety at Work Act requires those in control of, influencing, or arranging work, to do all that is reasonably practicable to protect workers and others from harm arising from that work. A principle of the Act is that workers should be provided the highest level of protection against harm to their health, safety and welfare from hazards and risks arising from work. In high-risk situations this means understanding and applying the hierarchy of controls. If the risk cannot be eliminated, then the next step is to look for ways that the work can be done without risk before adopting measures to manage the risk. Where trees can be fully mechanically felled, they should be. Only where they cannot and must be felled should exposing a tree faller with a chainsaw to the risk be considered.

See WorkSafe’s position on the use of technology
See more information from WorkSafe on notifications of into fatalities

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