Forestry worker badly hurt

By Sophie Ryan

6 comments
St John paramedics work to free a forestry worker trapped beneath a tree in Kaihu. Photo/Northland Electricity Rescue Helicopter.
St John paramedics work to free a forestry worker trapped beneath a tree in Kaihu. Photo/Northland Electricity Rescue Helicopter.

Warmer weather and production pressure attached to the high price of logs could be proving dangerous for forestry workers, a union adviser has said, following the serious injuries a man suffered in a Northland forest.

A forestry worker suffered serious chest and pelvic injuries after he was trapped beneath a tree.

St John's paramedics believed the man in his early 30s was struck and trapped by a falling tree just after 10am yesterday in a forest in Kaihu, north of Dargaville.

Paramedics arrived at the scene at 10.30am. Northland Electricity Rescue Helicopter pilot Russell Proctor said he transported the injured man, who was in a serious condition, to Whangarei Hospital.

An ambulance from Dargaville was also at the scene, assisting in treating him.

A representative from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment was at the scene to investigate the incident yesterday.

FIRST Union strategic adviser Edward Miller, who said the injured man was not a union member, called the incident "tragic".

Mr Miller's advice to all forestry workers was to monitor hydration and fatigue as the weather warms up.

"Fatigue kicks in earlier and hydration is really key at this time of year."

He said as log prices continue to rise the demand to deliver will increase pressure on workers that get on with the job.

"The fact that there were no deaths from July until two weeks ago reflects this," Mr Miller said.

On November 26 a forestry worker died in a forest near Murupara, Bay of Plenty, and on November 29 a man died near Nelson after being trapped between two logs.

There have been nine deaths in the forestry sector this year and 90 serious injuries.

Whangarei man John Sanderson, 40, died on January 27 after a tree fell on him.

A workplace health and safety reform will begin next week with the rollout of Work Safe NZ.

Northland MP Mike Sabin said the new Crown agent was especially important for Northland where forestry is a large and major industry.

"It's crucial for the safety of all workers in all industries, and their families and the wider community."

- Northern Advocate

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