MP for Rotorua Todd McClay today launched the Approved Code of Practice for Safety and Health in Forest Operations at the Forest Industry Contractors Association ‘Big Day Out’ conference in Rotorua.
The forestry sector has the highest rate of fatal work-related injuries in New Zealand and the rate of ACC claims for the forestry sector is almost six times the rate for all sectors.
“Over the past decade the forestry sector has put significant effort into reducing fatalities and serious injury. Despite this effort, injuries, fatalities, and social costs are still unacceptably high. The sector’s challenge is to reinvigorate injury prevention and continue the drive towards zero harm and fatalities,” Mr McClay said.
The new Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) will support the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s forestry harm reduction campaign, which aims to reduce the unacceptably high rate of accidents in the forestry sector. It will focus on the tasks of tree felling and breaking out, which consistently account for the greatest number of serious harm accidents notified to the Ministry.
“The launch of this ACOP is a big step towards reducing the work toll in the forestry sector. Too many workers are seriously injured or killed while undertaking forestry operations, particularly in the tasks of tree felling and breaking out. The new code aims to ‘lift the bar’ and introduce standards that will help the sector improve its health and safety record,” Mr McClay said.
“In launching the revised code we have completed one of the 12 actions in the Forestry Sector Action Plan, launched just over a year ago. The Minister of Labour has set a target of reducing workplace deaths and serious injuries by at least 25 percent by 2020 – we have just over seven years to get there. I believe this revised code and the Forestry Sector Action Plan are steps in contributing to this target in the forestry industry.”
The new ACOP will be rolled-out throughout the country at sector- and Ministry-hosted events. It will take the combined efforts of the regulator, industry representatives and workers in the sector to reduce the work toll in forestry. The new ACOP is just one step towards a reduction in harm and fatalities in New Zealand’s third largest earner in the export industry.