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Forests NSW workforce meets to take safety to a higher level

Forests NSW workforce from Bombala and Moss Vale met last week to discuss numerous aspects of safety.
Ambulance NSW Bombala station manager, Kim Tonkin, was invited to remind staff of the importance of calling for assistance when a serious accident has occurred or an employees health is at risk.
She discussed the importance of quick responses, and given the remoteness of some forest areas, a quick response relies on clear information from anybody that calls 000.
Forests NSW regional manager, Mark Chaplin, said Forests NSW was working closely with the forest industry including haulage and tree planting contractors to improve their knowledge of safety management systems, and the important role that local medical resources play in assisting injured people.
“Forest activities have inherent hazards and the safety day was an opportunity to focus staff on ways to improve their well-being and understand ways that we can work closer with emergency services,” he said.
Other presenters included Forests NSW corporate safety advisor, John Hillier, who discussed vehicle safety, while Forests NSW William Shearman discussed existing programs to manage contractor safety systems.
“It is very pleasing to see local harvest and haulage contractors go to a lot of effort to improve safety performance, including investment in new log truck configurations and detailed plans to eliminate avoidable accidents,” Hillier said.
Forests NSW manager Health and Safety, Christine Di Bella, outlined Forests NSW three-year safety strategy, challenging the audience to consider personal challenges that they could adopt to make a difference to safety in the workplace.
Forests NSW director Planted Forests, Ian Brown, highlighted a considerable improvement in safety performance in the Monaro Region during the past 12 months – with no recordable injury that included time away from work.
OH&S chairman, Jeremy Clear, said he was pleased with the level of discussion between field and management staff on the day, which meant genuine safety concerns could be raised.
“The crew is now better informed and prepared to deal with a safety incident,” he said.
Forests NSW CEO Nick Roberts also visited Bombala recently (in June) and presented staff with a letter of gratitude from the Victorian Premier for their involvement the February bushfire emergency.
Monaro Region deployed 19 staff during a four week period to undertake forest-based fire fighting alongside the Rural Fire Service and Department of Energy and Climate Change from across NSW.
Roberts and local management were impressed with the dignity and professionalism Monaro staff displayed in helping their Victorian colleagues in the most trying of circumstances.