In light of the heavy scrutiny the forestry sector is coming under over its health and safety record, ACC has begun developing a new injury prevention programme to encourage safer practices.
The ‘ACC Forestry Sector Injury Prevention Programme’ will be developed and implemented in collaboration with WorkSafe NZ, the NZ Forest Owners Association (FOA), the Forestry Industry Contractors Association (FICA) and the Council of Trade Unions (CTU).
“For the past 18 months, the safety record of New Zealand’s forestry industry has lagged behind other New Zealand industries, as well as forestry sectors globally. Recent fatalities – eleven since January 2013 – have highlighted ongoing safety concerns,” ACC’s Head of Insurance Products and Injury Prevention, David Simpson, stated. “This new initiative represents a concerted, collaborative approach by key sector players to address these concerns.”
Simpson explained the programme will involve eight separate streams of work, aimed at developing clearer, effective guides for workers on the ground, to influence them to make safer choices in their day-to-actions.
“Likely outputs of the programme include workshops and educational resources, such as assessment tools, videos and case studies, designed to address the range of tasks and situations that workers face on the job,” he said.
The ACC programme is intended to complement the independent review of forestry safety that was launched in January.
A programme steering committee comprising of key stakeholders and worker representatives has been formed, and will meet regularly. The committee will act as an advisory group, to support and advise ACC on how best to design and implement the programme.
“By bringing together those who oversee the industry and those who work on the ground, we believe we’ll be able to get a much better understanding of what the issues are, and how we can solve them,” Simpson said.
ACC will fund the Forest Owners Association to lead the development and implementation of the programme.