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NZ’s new injury prevention program

The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) in New Zealand announced that work has begun developing a new injury prevention program aimed at encouraging safer practices in the forestry sector. Source: Voxy

The ‘ACC Forestry Sector Injury Prevention Programme’ will be developed and implemented in collaboration with WorkSafe NZ, the NZ Forest Owners Association (FOA), the Forestry Industry Contractors Association (FICA) and the Council of Trade Unions (CTU).

“For the past 18 months, the safety record of New Zealand’s forestry industry has lagged behind other New Zealand industries, as well as forestry sectors globally,” said ACC’s head of insurance products and injury prevention David Simpson.

“Recent fatalities, 11 since January 2013, have highlighted ongoing safety concerns.

“This new initiative represents a concerted, collaborative approach by key sector players to address these concerns.

“The ACC program will involve eight separate streams of work aimed at developing clearer, effective guides for workers on the ground, to influence them to make safer choices in their day-to-actions.

“Likely outputs of the program include workshops and educational resources, such as assessment tools, videos and case studies, designed to address the range of tasks and situations that workers face on the job.”

The ACC program is intended to complement the independent review of forestry safety launched in January by FICA and FOA, which will address a broader palette of issues affecting safety in the sector.

“ACC’s program will focus on how we can help workers and employers make safer decisions, minute by minute, on the job,” said Simpson.

“The FICA and FOA review may address these factors, but it’s also likely to explore bigger picture issues such as how the sector is organised, how compliance is enforced and more.”

A steering committee comprising key stakeholders and worker representatives has been formed and will meet regularly.

The committee will act as an advisory group, to support and advise ACC on how best to design and implement the program.

“By bringing together those who oversee the industry and those who work on the ground, we believe we’ll be able to get a much better understanding of what the issues are, and how we can solve them,” said Simpson.

ACC will fund the FOA to lead the development and implementation of the programme, but Simpson stresses its collaborative nature.

“Each party involved has their own important perspective to contribute, and I’m sure this will make for more successful outcomes. We all agree that any fatality or injury is one too many, and we’re determined to work together to make the forestry industry safer,” he said.