Forestry safety document opens to public

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The Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel have today released a document for public consultation.

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges welcomed the release and said it was important the industry had taken ownership.

"We know that there is an unacceptable level of death and serious injury in the forestry sector, with 67 fatalities since 2000 and the highest rate of serious harm on a per worker basis," he said.

"It's important that the forestry industry has taken ownership of the issue as enduring safety solutions cannot be made by Government alone.

"Their independent review is far-ranging and I encourage stakeholders and the public to have their say on the consultation document.

"In the meantime, WorkSafe NZ's proactive enforcement approach in the forestry sector continues. Since August last year, almost 300 enforcement actions have been taken, including 25 partial or full shutdowns due to imminent danger of serious injury or death. There are also two prosecutions underway."

WorkSafe NZ has recently completed visits to 32 forestry owners and principals around the country and is currently reviewing the Approved Code of Practice for forestry safety in order to clarify what is expected from forest owners, managers and operators under the law.

"Progress is being made but the Government cannot make the necessary sustainable change alone, which is why the independent review is essential.

The Government will seriously consider the recommendations of the review once it is completed," Mr Bridges said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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