State forestry agencies in New South Wales, Australia, renew safety partnership; injury claims have fallen 35% since partnership was signed in 2011, says official, 755 injuries in past five years have cost workers compensation scheme more than AU$8.3M

SYDNEY , June 30, 2014 (press release) – Industry-specific safety training programs and better information sharing will be some of the benefits to flow from the renewal of WorkCover NSW’s safety partnership with Forestry Corporation of NSW.

The partnership, which was first signed in 2011, sees WorkCover and Forestry Corporation of NSW develop effective approaches to work health and safety and injury management in this high-risk sector.

Acting General Manager of WorkCover NSW’s Work Health and Safety Division, Peter Dunphy said significant progress had been made in recent years to address safety issues in partnership with the forestry industry.

“Through the partnership, WorkCover NSW and Forestry Corporation of NSW have delivered the Forest Industry Engagement Program to facilitate hazard identification and general risk management in forest harvesting,” Mr Dunphy said.

“A range of resources that improve the safety of forestry workers and the community have also been implemented, including the Forest Industry Safety Tool, a comprehensive publication that helps forest operators develop strong safety management systems and comply with workplace safety obligations.

“WorkCover and Forestry Corporation of NSW have also contributed to the development of a new national package for forestry operations, Managing risks in forestry operations.”

WorkCover data indicates that over the past five years there have been 755 injuries in the NSW forestry industry costing the Workers Compensation Scheme more than $8.369 million.

Common workplace injuries include body stressing, falls, trips and slips and being hit by moving objects. Forest logging contractors are also over-represented in truck rollover crash statistics.

“Importantly, there has been a 35 per cent reduction in injury claims since the partnership was signed in 2011,” Mr Dunphy said.

Forestry Corporation of NSW CEO Nick Roberts said the partnership aimed to address the unique risks and hazards associated with forestry and timber harvesting.

“Forestry Corporation’s workforce is diverse and mobile, with staff and contractors involved in activities ranging from setting and monitoring remote wildlife traps through to large scale tree felling and timber hauling operations and firefighting,” Mr Roberts said.

“By improving dialogue and cooperation between Forestry Corporation and WorkCover, we expect this partnership will drive new ideas and practical solutions to minimise the risks involved in forestry work.

“We’re already working together on a safety training program specifically tailored to log truck drivers and we hope the partnership will deliver many more practical initiatives that will make for a safer workplace for all forestry employees.”

“This initiative is another example of the State Government’s commitment to developing sustainable workplace safety outcomes in NSW which get workers home safely and make businesses more productive,” Mr Dunphy added.

For a copy of the Forest Industry Safety Tool or for more information on workplace safety and injury management call 13 10 50 or visit www.workcover.nsw.gov.au 

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