It was with great sadness that I heard about the death of a Gisborne forestry worker the week before last. It was a stark reminder that forestry remains a high-hazard industry, despite the considerable improvements made to health and safety in recent years.
This fatality is still being investigated and it will be some time before we have an official report on what happened. It’s important that this report highlights any lessons the industry could learn that might prevent future deaths or serious injuries.
Media reports about the fatality have highlighted concerns about why Police Officers attended the incident, with WorkSafe inspectors in communication with the Police on site, before the workplace was released back to the contractor. This was done as part of a long-standing arrangement between Police and WorkSafe.
These concerns highlight that the manner in which whānau and crew are supported during a difficult time like this is very important.
Communication is key. Those close to the victim will be desperate to understand what happened. So, they need to have the investigation process explained to them clearly, and to be given regular updates on progress.
Perceptions are also important. Whānau need to feel that those involved in the investigation care about what happened to their loved one, and that the investigation will be a robust one.
Adhering to cultural practices can also help address the hurt the victim’s family are experiencing. With this in mind, FISC is going to lead work to provide better information to the industry on the cultural and spiritual aspects of dealing with fatalities. This will supplement an existing booklet we produced with FICA some time ago that provides factual information for those involved in a WorkSafe investigation.
We will share this information with you when it is completed.
Joe Akari, CEO Safetree/FISC
See the existing information on notifiable incidents
Featured Safetree Certified Contractor: Loggabull
When central North Island contractor Brian Rutgers (pictured above), from Loggabull, decided to refit his old hauler, the first thing he did was ask his experienced operator and foreman for their ideas on what would make the machine work better.
Their suggestions, which included a sliding cab to improve or remove blind-spots, mean the revamped hauler is now much safer and more productive than before. Watch Brian and the crew tell the story of the hauler refit.
Latest IRIS report
See the latest IRIS report for information on trends in incidents in the second quarter of 2022 (Apr-Jun). The report says lost time injuries declined slightly in May and June, from a peak in April 2022. Medical treatment injuries fluctuated during the quarter. The total incident frequency rate (TIFR) remained relatively static during the quarter after a steady decline in the second half of 2021. Severity (average days lost per lost time injury) followed a long-term trend and continued to increase in the quarter. The lost time injury frequency rate (lost time injuries per million hours worked) showed a very small increase in the quarter, after trending down to March 2022.
We ran a workshop for Safetree Certification Auditors at the end of October, as part of our continuous improvement process for certification. This was an opportunity to enhance the consistency and quality of the audits, and for our auditors to share information and ideas on ways to better support contractors and workers through certification.
We’ve also loaded some handy ‘how-to’ guides on the certificiation/audit process onto our website. Please share these with contractors and others involved in certification. • How to sign up for Safetree Contractor Certification
• How to sign up for Safetree Worker Certification
• How to do a desktop audit
• How to request a field audit
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