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News

April 23rd, 2014

Forestry Industry Safety Review - Update

Announced in January this year, the purpose of the Independent Forestry Safety Review is to identify the likely causes and contributing factors to the high rate of serious injuries and fatalities in the New Zealand forestry sector. The review will result in a series of recommendations and practical measures to help reduce harm in forestry activities. Competenz supported the Forest Industry Safety Review Panel as it developed its terms of reference and to ensure training was included. The review is being funded by the Forest Owners, Forest Industry Contractors and Farm Forestry Associations, with administrative support and other resources provided by the government's health and safety regulator, WorkSafe New Zealand. The primary review panel consists of business leader George Adams, employment health and safety lawyer Hazel Armstrong and business safety specialist Mike Cosman. Since February, wide industry consultation, including with Competenz, led to the establishment of a review framework that includes three major channels of inquiry:

  • The Workplace (led by Hazel Armstrong)
  • People In Work (led by George Adams)
  • Work Organisation (led by Mike Cosman)

This framework is based on the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health & Safety report that was completed last year. Existing regulations and worker representation will also be investigated under each channel. Competenz is clear about the role we can play in contributing to the success of the Review. Competenz is committed to the review of the training and assessment activities in the forest industry to ensure that the quality of both are at the right standard and to identify any opportunities for improvement. This assessment will be driven through “People at Work” inquiry channel, and Competenz has nominated Mark Preece, Competenz Industry Manager for Forestry, to the “subject matter reference group.” Mark’s role within the reference group will be to communicate and disseminate the views and analysis of an internal Competenz working party that is being convened to add extra impetus to the review of training. To initiate the proceedings into the review of training, Competenz has provided the panel with a comprehensive briefing and information pack detailing:

  • The qualification development process (including a summary of current TRoQ status);
  • Industry engagement & consultation processes;
  • Learner support;
  • Training methodologies and learning materials;
  • Assessment and moderation practices; and
  • Learner profiles and achievement statistics.

In parallel to the subject matter reference groups, the review panel will conduct wider industry consultation through focus groups, social media and communication programmes to generate public feedback and submissions. This includes twelve formal meetings and two hui, the convening of twenty-four groups of contractors and their workers, and fifty representatives from the families of workers who have died in the forest. The final report is due in August. The following organisations were consulted in the development of the inquiry’s terms of reference and on the appointment of the inquiry panel:

  • Accident Compensation Corporation
  • WorkSafe New Zealand / Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment
  • Ministry for Primary Industries
  • Business Leaders Health and Safety Forum
  • Competenz (forest industries ITO)
  • Council of Trade Unions
  • Forest Industry Contractors Association
  • Farm Forestry Association
  • Forest Owners Association

Competenz, in partnership with the Forest Industry Safety Review Panel, will keep you informed of the progress of the review on a regular basis. For more information about Competenz’s involvement in the Forest Industry Safety Review process, please contact Fiona Kingsford at f.kingsford@competenz.org.nz or 09 539 9837.