26 Feb 2015

New forest safety council formed

1:24 pm on 26 February 2015

The forest industry has taken another step in implementing recommendations from last year's forest safety review.

It has established a safety council that will place all the industry's safety improvement measures under the same tree.

The council, representing forest owners, contractors, workers, unions and the government, will get going in early April.

The industry set up the independent review panel after an appalling year of accidents in 2013, when 10 forestry workers died and about 170 were seriously injured.

Forest Owners Association president Paul Nicholls said there was a dramatic turn-round in safety performance since then, and the council's job would be to keep the momentum going.

"So it will primarily be taking the recommednations from the independent safety panel that we had last year and implementing them. And that will cover things like ensuring that workers are certified and trained for the task, making sure that the training that we have is adequate and suitable for what we want to do in the bush and looking at how we can implement contractor certification," he said.

Mr Nicholls said existing training programmes would also be brought under the Forest Safety Council, which would have an independent chair and a national safety director.

It would be jointly funded by the industry and the government, giving it three times the resources that were previously available through the ACC's injury prevention programme.

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