Wellbeing resources, Migrant workers, Alerts and guides

Joe’s blog

Although it has now been several weeks since the cyclones that hit the Upper North Island, I’m aware that many people’s lives and businesses are still being disrupted by the aftermath of the storms.

It’s important that these people know we haven’t forgotten about them, and that as an industry we acknowledge what they are still going through.

Recovering from events like this can be long and difficult, so it’s understandable that some people might be feeling overwhelmed by the challenges. Even those who are back at work can still be dealing with stress and uncertainty due to the physical and economic effects of the cyclones.

With that in mind, I’d encourage you to look at the wellbeing resources below and to share them with people in your businesses and communities who might be struggling. Safetree’s Toroawhi, Richard Stringfellow and Wade Brunt, are also available to visit crews to talk about keeping ourselves mentally well.

On a different note, I’d like to follow up on a blog I wrote a few months ago about the need for forestry to treat its migrant workers with respect. I had a lot of feedback on that blog, including stories about what some businesses are doing to ensure the working relationship with their migrant workers is a success.

Those stories included one about KTM Silviculture in Masterton, and how it went about integrating its Fijian workers into the local community so they’d feel less home-sick, and how it motivates and rewards them to be highly productive. Safetree has made a video about the company and its workers, which offers useful insights and lessons for other employers of migrant workers. See more below.

It’s encouraging to see that FICA is working on a Code of Conduct for those taking on migrant labour, with expectations around protocols to educate, manage and care for the workers in line with immigration visa conditions. FICA expects to publish this Code once it has been approved by the Labour Inspectorate and Immigration NZ.

Joe Akari

Wellbeing resources

Below are some useful wellbeing and resilience resources:

•            Resource from The Big Check-In, a recent online event for rural communities affected by the cyclones

•            Real-time Resilience Strategies (guidance develop for Covid-19 but still relevant)    

•            Where to Get Help (a collection of resources used by Safetree’s Toroawhi)

•            Talk to Safetree’s Toroawhi about a crew visit: Richard (027 777 0894)  Wade (027 777 0815)

Featured Certified Contractor: Troy Mason from KTM Silviculture

Troy Mason, from KTM Silviculture, reckons the key to success when employing migrant workers is to treat them like you’d want to be treated yourself.

In July 2022 Troy added several Fijian workers to his Masterton-based silviculture crews, and he says these workers have helped him continue to expand and build a high production operation.

Troy says he knew that for the working relationship to be successful, he had to manage the social and emotional impact on his Fijian workers from being so far away from their families and communities. So, he set about integrating them into his Kiwi crew and the local Masterton community, including signing them up to play for Masterton’s Pioneer Māori Rugby.

Once they get up to speed, he also pays them a piece-rate which means they can earn more and keeps them motivated. See more about Troy’s approach in this video.

Watch Troy and his crew talking about their working relationship

Updated guidance on dealing with workplace deaths

Following a fatality late last year, Safetree committed to work with FICA to provide updated guidance for forestry business on dealing with workplace-related deaths, including the cultural and spiritual aspects. We’ve now completed this work and the updated guidance is on our website.

Notifiable Incident Response Guide

Tree-driving guidance

Tree-driving is a useful technique to bring down hung-up trees or trees with considerable debris in their heads. But it can be dangerous if not done correctly and there have been injuries and even fatalities associated with manual tree-driving. Here is a link to a short video on how to undertake manual tree-driving safely. If you know of crews or people who do this type of work please share it with them.

How to Tree-Drive

Driving in the forest

As winter draws near and unusually wet weather continues in parts of the country, now could be a good time to remind silviculture and harvesting crews about driving to the conditions in forests. One of the things Safetree has done for our Toroawhi, who regularly drive in the forests, is to have them complete off-road driver training. The Toroawhi said the training was useful to help them understand their vehicle’s 4WD features, and when and how to use them. See and share the resources below on safe driving:

Safetree’s Toroawhi get 4WD off-road training

Tailgate Card on driving in forestry

Safety Alert: Dangers with middle passengers in side-by-side vehicles

Recent Safety Alerts

Manual falling – from Timberlands

Safetree at Fieldays

Safetree will once again be part of the Forestry Hub at Fieldays Mystery Creek, 14-17 June. This is an opportunity for us to promote our initiatives to support safety and wellbeing in forestry within the wider forestry community. This includes highlighting the benefits to farm foresters of using Safetree Certified Contractors. If you are attending this exhibition, come and visit us at the Forestry Hub.

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