28 Nov 2012

Forestry worker's death investigated

11:24 am on 28 November 2012

The Department of Labour and other agencies are investigating the death of a 23-year-old forestry worker in Tararua.

The fatality on Tuesday brings the number of deaths in the logging industry to 13 in three years.

Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly says an inquiry into the industry is needed.

Ms Kelly told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme that forestry is unmonitored and unregulated and is getting away with what she says are dangerous practices.

She says the forestry industry has a death rate seven times that of the United Kingdom, with poor wages and conditions which may be related to the accident rate.

The chairman of the national Forest Owners Association's health, safety and training committee, Sheldon Drummond, says New Zealand has one of the highest workplace safety standards in the world.

Mr Drummond says with the increasing use of machinery in forestry work, the risk of an accident will fall dramatically.

The general manager of the Department of Labour's health and safety operations, Ona DeRooy, says a new workplace code of practice is due to be launched next week.

She says an extensive investigation will be conducted into the death.