16 Feb 2014

Coach develops forestry safety vest

12:35 pm on 16 February 2014

A former rugby league coach has adapted a piece of sporting equipment for the forestry sector in an effort to save lives.

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Photo: PHOTO NZ

Graham Lowe has designed a GPS monitoring vest which can measure workers' fatigue levels by gathering data on their heart beat and hydration levels, which he said is almost ready to be launched.

Last year set an unwelcome record for forestry incidents, with 10 deaths and more than 150 serious injuries.

Mr Lowe said fatigue inhibits sports performance and the effect is even more profound for forestry workers.

"Coming from a sporting background, I know how thoroughly fatigue is measured, so why not apply that same sort of technology to these guys who are working harder in all sorts of weather?"

Forestry Contractors Association chief executive John Stulen said the device would be a welcome innovation, and although technology would not fix all safety concerns, this tool could address the problem of fatigue.

Mr Stulen said it is already known that many of the incidents and serious harm happen just before the lunch break, and just before the end of the work day.