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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2018) 63(1): 41–43
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Professional Paper
Worker deaths a sad reminder that forestry’s safety problems have not gone away

Fiona Ewing *,1

1 National Safety Director, FISC, Wellington. Email:
*Corresponding author.

Abstract: Still much work to do Last year the forestry industry achieved a major milestone, with the Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) delivering on two key recommendations of the 2014 Independent Forestry Safety Review and preparing to deliver on a third recommendation. However, forestry also had the highest number of fatalities since 2013 when the deaths of 10 workers prompted the Independent Review. Seven forestry workers died last year – a sad reminder that the industry’s safety problems have not gone away. The latest Safetree How Are We Tracking? dashboard (Figures 1 and 2) shows some improvement in serious injuries, where a worker needs more than a week off to recover. Although there was a 15.5% rise in injuries per 1,000 workers in the year ended June 2017 (the most recent injury rate data available), there was a 6.5% decrease in injuries per 1,000 m3 of roundwood production over the same period. However, the deaths of seven workers last year is totally unacceptable. There is still a lot of work to be done to make forestry a safe, sustainable and professional industry. This work includes ensuring that everyone in the industry supports and makes use of FISC’s three key harm reduction initiatives set out below.
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