A forestry pilot programme which aims to address the industry's "harden up" culture has been extended across the central North Island.
WorkSafe and the Forestry Industry Safety Council employed two "toroawhi" a year ago to better care for the mental health of workers - one in the Taupō, Tokoroa and Rotorua areas, and another in the Tairāwhiti region.
They have met with 525 workers so far, and their work will continue into 2021.
WorkSafe data shows nationally, on average, one forestry worker per week has been seriously injured or ill because of their job in the past year.
Three people died in forestry accidents in the past year in New Zealand.
Richard Stringfellow, a toroawhi working across the central North Island, told the Rotorua Daily Post mental health was a huge factor in workplace safety.
"If life is good at home and you're coming to work with a clear head then your mind is going to be on the job."
In his "roving" role he has been regularly meeting with crews on their breaks and meetings.
Stringfellow started his work with the crews by explaining his own difficulties juggling mental health and his 30-year forestry career.
"When I go out there and talk to them we've got to get over that culture of harden up ... those days are gone."
They are then invited to meet with him privately to discuss ways to improve their wellbeing.
"Their [each worker's] story isn't going to go any further. I'm just getting them the support they need."
He was excited to see the pilot extended to 18 months.
"More so for the workers ... so if they've got problems, they can come to somebody independent of their employer.
"Over the last few months, we have set up workers with counselling services, encouraged them to get fit and even helped link some with budgeting services."
WorkSafe forestry engagement leader Grant Duffy said the toroawhi had been "successful" in shifting health and safety attitudes and improving wellbeing.
However, "when forestry workers were stood down in the early months of the pandemic and throughout lockdown this meant our two toroawhi weren't able to get out on site", he said, so they continued to support workers from afar with their return to work.
Forestry contributes about $6.7 billion of annual gross income to New Zealand per year.
WorkSafe did not disclose the costs of the pilot programme when asked.
WHERE TO GET HELP:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Helpline: 1737
• Anxiety Helpline: 0800 ANXIETY (0800 269 4389)
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.