Forestry Sector Action Plan 2010-13
2. Focusing on reducing the work toll in Forestry: tree felling and breaking out
Activity occurs at all stages of the forestry supply chain from tasks such as the planting of the trees, tree maintenance, and felling, trimming, and log removal, through to the transport of the logs to ports or manufacturers and timber processors.
Tree felling and breaking out activities in particular make a significant contribution to the work toll in forestry.
- The forestry sector has the highest rate of fatal injury across the five priority sectors.
- 55% of forestry fatalities recorded by the Department of Labour (the Department) between 1988 and 2005 were attributed to the tasks of tree felling or breaking out.
- Sector and Department of Labour data identifies the tasks of tree felling and breaking out as the main tasks contributing to serious harm accidents.
- Injury severity rates have increased from an average of approximately 10 days per lost time injury in 2006 to approximately 16 days in 2008. This has an economic impact on the sector, business and the worker.
- Between July 2008 and June 2010, ACC forestry sector entitlement claims reduced by 13% to 318. Over the same period log harvest volumes have increased 10%. While significant progress has been made these claims still cost over $2.3 million.
A multi-faceted approach to intervention
International and local research indicates a multi-faceted approach is the most effective course of action to change behaviour and reduce the work toll.
This Sector Action Plan is a way of developing and designing targeted interventions for recurring health and safety problems. It is a mechanism to engage, involve and focus key stakeholders on specific issues.
Working in partnership
The Department and ACC have worked with forestry stakeholders to identify and agree on the priority issues. Feedback and input was sought from employees, contractors, Maori and businesses through key sector stakeholders.
This action plan's focus on tree felling and breaking out complements work already underway within the forestry sector. It supports activities already identified in the New Zealand Forest Owners Association's (NZFOA) Strategic Safety Plan which focuses on safety culture and leadership and safety simplification.
 What works in delivering improved health and safety outcomes. A review of the existing evidence Prepared by the Institute for Employment Studies for the Health and Safety Executive 2008; HSC Paper HSC/03/145 Research into the effectiveness of interventions; Effective Occupational Health Interventions in Agriculture Summary Report Kirsten Lovelock and Colin Cryer On behalf of the Occupational Health in Agriculture Research Team Report No.5