16 Jan 2011

Forestry safety practices 'need improving'

3:02 pm on 16 January 2011

Too many forestry deaths occur because of a lack of training or poorly maintained equipment, the Department of Labour says.

Since 2007, 10 people have died, and more than 500 have been injured while at work.

Seven of the workplace deaths occurred in the Waikato region - the area with the highest proportion of forestry production in New Zealand.

The Department of Labour's regional manager for Waikato, Ona de Rooy, says it's an unfortunate record that must be turned around.

She says too many accidents occur either because equipment is not set up correctly and properly maintained, or employees are not trained and supervised in their jobs.

Ms de Rooy says a high number of injuries occur during tree felling, and she wants the sector to improve its safety practices.

She says while the number of serious injuries is in decline, safety must remain a priority in what is a very hazardous industry.