5 May 2014

Forest owners seek safety solutions

1:37 pm on 5 May 2014

Forest owners and contractors say they aren't sitting on their hands while an independent review panel carries out its investigation into the high death and injury toll from forestry accidents.

They have responded to strong Council of Trade Union criticism of safety standards by urging the umbrella group to take any evidence backing its concerns to the review panel.

Forest Owners Association president Paul Nicholls says the panel will need input from everyone in the forestry sector to come up with practical solutions to improve work safety.

He says steps to reduce the accident rate had started years before the review was launched in March and those are continuing while the review panel and the Coroners Court carry out their investigations.

"We had a proposal with ACC that had actually been with ACC for about three years, but got approval last year," Mr Nicholls said.

"It's a jointly-funded project from industry and ACC to look at tree falling and breaking-out certification studies to see what we could do to improve the way we certify our tree fallers and breakers out.

"Also, again in conjunction with ACC, we had started some years ago safety culture workshops and we're continuing to promote that around our industry."