Safetree puts workers safety first

Published Forestry Bulletin – 8 December 2014

Safetree, a new industry-led safety initiative co-funded by the Forest Owners Assocaition (FOA) and ACC is due to launch in early 2015.

It also involves the Council of Trade Unions, WorkSafe NZ, the NZ Farm Forestry Association, the Forest Industry Contractors' Association, as well as worker representatives.

"This is the first time all of these diverse parties have joined forces to work towards a common goal – putting an end to serious harm and fatalities in New Zealand forests," explains ACC forestry programme manager, Diego Rodriguez.

"ACC is very excited about the potential of Safetree. We know that for any safety programme in forestry to be successful in driving behaviour change it must ensure that the needs and perspectives of workers themselves are at the heart of the initiative."

Safetree project manager, James Treadwell, comes from a forestry background and knows only too well how a well-intentioned safety campaign can miss the mark if it's not relevant to the workers it aims to protect.

"One of the most important aspects of Safetree is that worker representatives have a seat at the table. This means they can tell government and industry partners what really goes on on the forest floor, and what they need Safetree to be in order to make things safer for them and their crews," Treadwell says.

In addition, he says Safetree has a 360 degree view of the forestry sector, thanks to the involvement of a full range of government and industry partners. "We have a number of initiatives we're working on – it's an ambitious project – and we couldn't achieve our goals if we weren't all working together."

He says that Safetree will include safety information, collateral and resources designed to be relevant to everyone in the industry, ranging from forest workers, foremen and contractors through to supervisors, forest owners and managing directors.

"We're looking forward to kicking things off more formally in early 2015 with the Safe Start Breakfasts. These events for contractors and other forestry professionals are held all over the country in January and are a great chance to start the year off on the right note with the launch of Safetree."


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