Good grip on safety

Wenita Forest Products chief executive David Cormack (left), Lawson Roxburgh (Roxburgh...
Wenita Forest Products chief executive David Cormack (left), Lawson Roxburgh (Roxburgh Contracting) and Cory Hellyer (AB Equipment), look at the Tigercat cutting head, with operator Damian Mikaere in the cab and Chris King, from AB Equipment, alongside. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
With a price tag of about $700,000, the Tigercat LH855 is no ordinary chainsaw.

The Canadian-made forestry harvesting machine bought recently by Roxburgh Contracting is believed to be the third Tigercat in Otago.

The machine, suited to working in steep terrain, reduced the need for forestry workers on the ground, meaning less chance of injury.

A hydraulic claw held the tree, which was then chainsawed off at the base, before being lowered on to the ground.

With safety in the industry being in the spotlight, Roxburgh Contracting was ''taking all the right safety steps'' by making a substantial investment, Cory Hellyer, construction equipment salesman for AB Equipment in Dunedin, said.

Wenita Forest Products chief executive David Cormack said it was ''pretty exciting'' to see such equipment in the South.

''With all the bad news in forestry with health and safety, to have a machine with this sort of capability is really exciting,'' Mr Cormack said.

While safety in the industry had always been important, it was ''really front of mind these days'' and all involved in the industry wanted to see the accident rate decrease. Improvements were being seen and definitely improvements in attitude, he said.

The Tigercat was a significant investment but also a vote of confidence in the industry. It was a sophisticated machine which required a skilled operator and it was suited to the younger generation coming into the industry, he said.

There was still probably a public perception of ''people running around with chainsaws cutting trees down'', he said.

Lawson Roxburgh said the machine was also very comfortable for the operator, particularly when working on steep slopes.


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