Industry story on Tolaga silvi crew, Fatality safety alerts, Updates on certification & training.

Fiona’s Blog

It’s great to see that Safetree’s leadership training has been made available to other primary industry businesses, with the support of the Ministry of Primary Industries.

Despite the restrictions imposed by Covid-19, 95 people have completed the training since May 2021, 24 of them from forestry and wood processing. The training was held around New Zealand, funded by MPI. It is based on Safetree’s Frontline Leadership and Team Up workshops, which have been delivered to 617 forestry people since 2019. The quality of these workshops was recognised last year, when they were nominated as a finalist in the NZ Workplace H&S Awards.

The workshops deal with the fact that, in many industries, it is assumed that people with good technical skills will also be good leaders of people when they are promoted. But that’s not necessarily the case. Leadership is a learnt skill, and these workshops help teach it in an engaging and practical way that suits people working in primary industries like forestry. 

Thanks to MPI for supporting this training, which comes through its involvement in the Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Council – of which I am the deputy chair. See below first-hand comments from one attendee at the training. To find out about running workshops with your people, email

“It helps us understand people better”

Angela Blom, Health and Safety Advisor at Pan Pac Forest Products Ltd based at Napier, was one of a group of 10 Pan Pac staff to attend a course in October:

“The activities helped the group understand group dynamics and why things fail when good leadership and influence is not applied, and what good looks like when it’s done well. It also highlighted why good communication skills are a must.

“Everyone picked up something different to take away. The key was to understand our leadership style – everyone has a different style – and that leadership is about influence.

“It helped us understand people better – what the motivators are that lie beneath. It also gave us a structure for how to begin a discussion with a person who is not performing.

“One of the things I really liked was a follow-up text before Christmas with a link to a YouTube video that was a reminder of what we learned. That was brilliant.”

Fatality a reminder of the need to control machine maintenance risks

Sadly, media reported in January that a man had died while repairing a machine in a forest in North Canterbury. Our thoughts are with the man’s whānau, friends and workmates. This incident is still under investigation and we don’t yet know the full details of what caused it. However, it is a powerful reminder of the need to manage the risks associated with all machinery maintenance.

Your workplaces might not use the same equipment involved in this incident, but they might have other machinery that could cause serious harm if maintenance is not planned and done well.

I would like to acknowledge the companies involved in this incident, and the family of the victim, for creating an Industry Safety Alert that provides initial information about what happened, so others can learn from this incident. Safetree has also created an alert that summarises the key steps people need to take when planning and undertaking machine maintenance.

Read the Industry Alert

Safetree Alert 

New video: How Pride Forestry is looking after workers, including after a suicide

“Take pride in you people and look after their physical and mental wellbeing.”

That’s the message from Stacy and Penny Habib in this video about their Tolaga Bay-based silviculture business, Pride Forestry. In this video they, and their crew, talk about how they try to look after each other. This includes how the business responded after a suicide in the crew.

Watch the video 

Certification Update

Safetree Certification scheme improvements are now live, including our new online register supported by EcoPortal. The new register lets contractors see all their audit information and share it with clients, employers and others. It also it gives workers a place to register their certification and gives them more control over their professional development.

We now need contractors and workers to get themselves onto the new register. You can do this by going to the register on the Safetree website and clicking the Request a Login icon on the right. Next click the Activity drop down menu to say whether you are a contractor or a worker, then follow the instructions to enter your information.

See more information for contractors on signing into the register. 

If you have questions email

Covid-19: Keep practising the health basics

The rules on what we should and shouldn’t do around Omicron are changing quite quickly as health authorities adapt to the way the outbreak is developing. The best place to go for the most up to date info is the Covid-19 website.

However, one thing that hasn’t changed is the basic health steps we can take to reduce the risk of infection. These steps are:

  • Wash / sanitise your hands.
  • Where possible, keep workers in ‘bubbles’ so if someone gets sick, fewer people will be exposed and have to test and isolate.
  • Stay home if unwell and get tested.

It’s important to follow these precautions at home as well as at work. They help reduce the spread, and seriousness, of infection – which helps protect people and businesses.

Mentoring programme for new silviculture workers

Ten silviculture crews have completed a trial of a new mentoring programme developed by the Forest and Wood Processing Workforce Council, with funding from the Forest Growers Levy Trust and support from MPI. The programme aims to get new entrants to the silviculture industry skilled-up earlier and helps them achieve unit standards. A person following the full programme will achieve seven to eight full introductory unit standards, as well as achieving time-served milestones. The mentoring programme is designed as a package that can run for up to 36 months. Following the trial, the intent is to ramp up the programme, involve more crews in 2022, and establish the training with funding from the education sector.

For more information contact Greg Steele, M: 027 431 7211.

Safetree Conference

After the challenges of the last two years, we’re looking forward to finally getting the industry together for the Safetree Conference in Queenstown on June 16. We have a great line up of speakers, and they’ll be plenty of chances to catch up with people from across the industry. The FICA conference will run on the following two days, 17 and 18 June.

If you haven’t yet registered for the conference, you can check out the programme or register here.
If you registered before the conference was postponed last year, your registration has automatically been transferred over to the new date. However, you will need to rebook your own accommodation. For those staying at the venue for the conference, the Millennium Hotel, you can use the code FICA22 to access the conference discount.

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