WorkSafe New Zealand acting chief draws attention to 10th forestry-related death of 2013 in first week of agency's operations, acknowledges 'problem' in industry, says forestry safety is on 'highest priority list'
WELLINGTON, New Zealand
December 19, 2013
– WorkSafe NZ inspectors are at the site of the forestry fatality reported this morning near Foxton. Inspectors specialising in forestry are on their way from Rotorua to assist them.
“It is concerning that in the first week of WorkSafe NZ’s operations we have to deal with the 10th forestry-related death in 2013,” WorkSafe NZ’s Acting Chief Executive Geoffrey Podger said.
“It’s happened in the tree felling sector – acknowledged by all in the industry to be, with hauling logs to loading sites, the most dangerous parts of the forestry industry.
“It is no consolation to the ten families, workmates and communities at all, but it confirms to me that our work is targeted at the right place.
“I can assure those families and the industry that WorkSafe NZ has forestry safety on its highest priority list, but I want to see similar commitments throughout the industry, Mr Podger said.
“Our assessment of cable hauling operations that’s been running since mid-August has given us real cause for concern about the state of the industry and the commitment of every player to keeping those workers safe. From 162 visits now done, we’ve had to take enforcement action 203 times including shutting down 15 operations.
‘There’s a problem in this industry and it won’t be solved until everyone’s on the same course with the regulator,” Mr Podger said.