There are "deeply ingrained systemic issues" in the forestry
industry, New Zealand's work safety regulator says, following
the death of another forestry worker this morning.
The worker, who was pronounced dead at about 10.30am by
ambulance staff, died after an accident in the Wairau Valley
While WorkSafe NZ investigators headed out to investigate the
accident, another worker was hurt in the Bay of Plenty.
A 40-year-old, who had been working at a site near Tawera,
close to Whakatane, received serious injuries in an accident
this morning. The worker was airlifted to hospital by rescue
WorkSafe NZ general manager Ona de Rooy said today's
incidents demonstrated the need for drastic change in the
Last year, 10 forestry workers died on the job. The Council
of Trade Unions, which has repeatedly criticised the
Government for their hands-off approach to regulation of the
industry, has renewed calls for the Government to participate
in an independent review of the industry next month.
Ms de Rooy said the level of unsafe practice in the industry
was of major concern to WorkSafe NZ.
"We have sought meetings with individual forest owners to
make very clear to them that they have significant
responsibilities under the Health and Safety in Employment
"The issues that are becoming apparent lead us to conclude
that there are deeply ingrained systemic issues in this
Council of Trade Unions Helen Kelly said today's death was
another incident where a family lost one of their loved ones.
She called on the Government to take a more proactive
"The Minister of Labour is still refusing to participate in
the review of the industry which is kicking off in February,
and we and the forestry owners have come to the party."
Figures showing at least 150 work places visited by WorkSafe
NZ were not operating in compliance demonstrated the need for
greater regulation, she said.
"They'll be a thousand worksites, are they going to visit
every single one or are they going to regulate to make it
safe," Ms Kelly said.
Earlier this week, logging company Complete Logging Limited
was fined $60,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $75,000 in
relation to the death of worker Robert Epapara's in Rotorua
The sentence was handed out for the health and safety
failings which led to Mr Epapara's death.
- Teuila Fuatai of APNZ