Minister welcomes Forestry Safety Review recommendationsWorkplace Relations and Safety
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse welcomed the recommendations of the Independent Forestry Safety Review and outlined the Government’s initial response.
“The Government supports the findings of this review and acknowledges everyone who played a role in this critically important work. The safety record of the forestry sector is not acceptable and Government agencies are committed to working in partnership with industry to build a safe, sustainable and professional forestry sector,” Mr Woodhouse says.
The Government’s initial response released today sets out how the Review’s findings and recommendations will be addressed, including through the Working Safer reforms already underway.
“The Government supports the establishment of a Forestry Leadership Action Group (FLAG) with industry, worker and government representation.
“We believe it is essential FLAG is led by industry to ensure that the onus remains on industry to respond to health and safety issues on the ground. Work will begin immediately to set FLAG up.
“FLAG will be supported by government and play an important role in showing strong industry leadership and guidance on how the Review’s recommendations will be addressed. We also expect that FLAG will take the lead on operationalising and embedding good practice.
“The Government’s role is to develop regulations and FLAG will be a key participant in the process. It is critical for industry and workers to be involved in the development of regulations.
“We are committed to improving the health and safety of all workers and the recommendations by the Forestry Safety Review Panel will contribute significantly to help up reduce the number of injuries and fatalities in the forestry sector.”
The Review’s findings will contribute to work already underway which includes:
- The Working Safer reform of the workplace health and safety system which aims to:
- reduce the workplace injury and death toll by 25 per cent by 2020,
- cover all sectors including forestry
- set out clearer duties, more worker participation, stronger enforcement and tougher penalties
- New legislation and planned regulations which include:
- General risk and workplace management regulations
- Worker participation, engagement and representation
- Hazardous Work
- Plant and Structures regulations which aim to cover all sectors including forestry.
- Safer Forest Harvesting – a project commenced by WorkSafe NZ in August 2013 which has seen a significate increase and focus on its assessment and enforcement efforts in forestry
- An increase to inspectorate capability and new intervention approach by WorkSafe NZ which focusses more on underlying causes
- Funding and support provided by ACC for a range of industry-led forestry injury prevention initiatives
- The Ministry for Primary Industry’s work to forecast the future workforce needs of primary sectors, including forestry in the report The Future capability Needs for the Primary Industries in New Zealand.
- Competenz putting its 26 forestry qualifications through the NZQA review process.
A more detailed response to the Review on the recommendations concerning regulations and Approved Codes of Practice (ACOPs) will be released around February 2015.
For the Government’s initial response document, visit www.mbie.govt.nz/what-we-do/workplace-health-and-safety-reform/governments-response-to-independent-forestry-safety-review