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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2016) 61(3): 33–36
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Professional Paper
Using our brains - the future of safety in forestry

Brionny Hooper *,1

1 Human Factors Scientist, Scion, Forest Research Institute, Christchurch. Email:
*Corresponding author.

Abstract: Despite advances in safety, our forestry workers are still getting hurt or killed. The main threat these men face is the complex, unpredictable and unforgiving environment. Until recently, research has focused on critical thinking, risk assessment and structured problem solving. Because of this, for years we have formed our safety systems on the theory that the more information and time a person has, the better their decisions and responses are. But in highly complex, unpredictable environments, we often donít have the luxury of time or mountains of data to analyse. Humans are the most adaptive species on the planet. We have been exploring new approaches based on neuropsychology that work with, rather than against, the brainís natural mode of functioning to protect our workers and to enhance their ability to respond, monitor, anticipate and learn in a high-risk environment.
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