Topics: Employment, Environment

Independent panel finds Forestry as one of NZ's most dangerous sectors

By Mere McLean
Independent Review Panel Chair George Adam

"People deserve to come home safely!"  Those are the words used in the Independent Forestry Safety Review which was released today.

The independent panel found Forestry to be one of NZ's most dangerous sectors, with a shocking number of people being killed or injured while working on the job.

Forestry is NZ's third largest export earner, contributing an annual income of around $10bil and employs around 20,000 people. 

But it's also one of NZ's most dangerous work places with 967 people seriously injured and 28 people killed between 2008 and 2013. 

10 people died in the Forestry sector last year alone.

The independent report only focused on serious injury and deaths, and says the injury rate is significantly high compared to other sectors.

The panel has outlined options to make the industry safer, but says the burden of work safety for forestry workers needs to fall on more than the workplace supervisor.

Challenging work conditions and long hours is another contributing factor to accidents in the industry, which is why unions have been pushing for improvements to be made.

The panel say they are not interested in blame but are focused on improving overall health and safety.

They have recommended a new advisory board is established to oversee forestry qualifications and offer practical measures to help reduce the injury and fatality rate over the next five years.