New safety culture for forestry

Dame Alison Paterson has been appointed to chair a council which aims to make forests safer places to work following the 2014 recommendations of the Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel.  

The Forest Industry Safety Council board includes representatives of forest owners, contractors, workers, unions and Worksafe New Zealand and funding will come from the Forest Grower Levy and from government – ACC and Worksafe. 

 A new council aims to improve the safety of forest workers.

“We are proud to have someone of the calibre of Dame Alison as chair, as well as a board made up of all those who can influence safety on the forest floor,” says Paul Nicholls, president of the Forest Owners Association.

“All of us share a determination to build and reinforce a safety culture that embraces everyone in the forest workplace, from the forest owner, through contractors and crew leaders, through to the man on a chainsaw or at the controls of a hauler.

“We all have a responsibility to each other, to ensure that safety becomes ahead of all other considerations, economic or otherwise.”

Paul says it is a deliberate strategy to name the new body a ‘council’ and to appoint a chair who is highly respected both in the rural sector and in the wider New Zealand community.

 “By reinforcing the status of the council, we also reinforce the importance of improved workplace safety. Our objective to ensure that everyone who works in our forests returns home safely to their families at the end of each working day.”

A national safety director is being appointed, reporting to Dame Alison and the board, which will be responsible for ensuring that the council’s work programme is being delivered effectively and that this is reflected in a steady improvement in safety performance.   

Dame Alison was named a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business in the 2014 New Year Honours list. 

She was the first female director of a producer board and a publicly listed company. She served 15 years on the Reserve Bank board, was a director of Crown Irrigation Investments and chaired Landcorp, Waitemata Health and Abano Healthcare Group. 


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