Toroawhi award, conference update, IRIS data, safety alert

Fiona’s Blog

The Forest Industry Safety Council, which runs Safetree, was recognised at the NZ Health and Safety Awards in May for our Toroawhi/worker champion initiative. The Toroawhi initiative received a Judges Commendation at the awards, which recognise excellence in health and safety. 

The Toroawhi initiative aims to give workers a stronger voice in health and safety and was co-designed with First Union and WorkSafe. It was encouraging to receive this recognition of the hard work done by the people who helped get this initiative off the ground and have kept it going.

Conference – registrations open, speakers confirmed

Registrations are open for the Safetree Conference, Growing our Culture and our line-up of speakers will include well-know psychologist Nigel Latta. 

The conference will run in Queenstown on Thursday 28th October. In addition to hearing from the great line-up of speakers, this will be an opportunity to learn and share with peers from the forestry industry.

There will also be trade stands, and there are places available for suppliers and supporters of the industry to promote and showcase their products.

Register on the FICA website. 

Use the code on the registration page to secure discounted accommodation.


Nigel Latta: Nigel has worked for over two decades as a clinical psychologist, and more recently as an author and documentary maker. In his clinical career he worked in sex offender programmes, schools, alcohol and drug treatment programmes, prisons, and with many thousands of families. He also consulted with the police, child youth and family, and the prison service. In more recent years he’s written books on parenting and his work as forensic psychologist which have now been published in nineteen countries. His television career has included documentaries on subjects ranging from parenting, to inequality, sugar, alcohol, Antarctic science, the psychology of money and most recently a series on neuroscience. In 2012 he was appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Callum McKirdy: Callum is a speaker, author, mentor and facilitator specialising in workplace dynamics and behaviour. With a successful 20-year career assisting leaders and teams to develop radically authentic workplaces by leveraging their uniqueness across Australasia. Proudly dyslexic and ADHD-positive, Callum champions organisations to think differently about different thinking, and views neurodivergent people as the innovative super-workforce of the future. Callum speaks at industry conferences, facilitates high-impact workshops, trains teams, and mentors professionals who are looking to reconnect people with purpose in their workplaces.

Lance Burdett: Following a successful career as a construction manager, Lance spent 22 years as a cop, 13 of those as a crisis negotiator. With plenty of practical experience and academic qualifications, Lance published two bestselling books and makes regular media appearances. He brings together experience from training in New Zealand, Australia, England and the USA with the elite units of police, prisons, emergency services, the military, and the FBI. His programmes are grounded in neuroscience, emotional intelligence, and positive psychology.

Shelly Davies: Shelly is one of New Zealand’s go-to deliverers of business and technical writing training.  She has been teaching business people how to be more concise, more effective, and more efficient in their communications for 9 years. Her clients include scientists, engineers, tech-geeks, and business owners. She helps people unlearn bad habits they picked up at university and through their careers.  Shelly encourages research-based approaches to writing in more authentic ways, with a natural voice that increases confidence and trust

Alicia McKay: Alicia is a straight-talking strategist who supports teams and leaders to think differently about change, strategy and the future. Author of two books and co-host of popular What’s On Your Mind? Podcast, Alicia reaches global audiences with her frank, fresh approach to making decisions and getting shit done.

IRIS quarterly reports for  Q4 2020 and Q1 2021

These reports show we’re still seeing manual felling incidents. Any business undertaking manual felling should be mindful WorkSafe’s expectations around the hierarchy of controls for managing risks – which we included in our May newsletter:

“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.”

FISC is talking to WorkSafe about promoting higher-level controls within the forestry sector. For anyone involved in these high-risk manual task they must be fully competent and we would encourage you to consider Safetree Worker Certification.

The IRIS reports also highlight a number of incidents relating to sprains and strains. It’s important to ensure there’s good footing on site for getting into site cabins and into and out of machinery cabs. We’re currently working with Timberlands to share information on their initiative on worker fitness, which also helps with these slip and trip types of injuries. We’ll keep you posted on this.

The reports show that work on ladders during pruning is also an issue. Make sure you check the condition of ladders and footwear, and that the previous pruning allows you to access the work properly. A recent incident was a result of trying to high prune where previous pruning had been done poorly and didn’t allow for good ladder access.

See the 2021 Q1 and 2020 Q4 IRIS reports

Industry alert – unsafe handbrakes

See this alert on a handbrake malfunction on a logging truck.

Thanks to DT Kings Transport for sharing this alert. 

If you have information about an incident that could help others in the industry please share it with us. These alerts are a great way to highlight problems that others could be experiencing too. They are particularly helpful for small operators that don’t have their own health and safety advisers. 

Send your alerts to

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