Forestry safety fears feed skill shortage: THIS MADE ME WILD!

Buckle up because this blog is a bit of a rant about forestry safety. This was printed in the Marlborough Press on the 31st January Forestry safety fears feed skill shortageThe short answer to this is “Yes, team forestry, New Zealand’s youth don’t want to work for you because you kill your workers REGULARLY!”



  • Forestry is facing a boom and a shortage of workers.
  • Forestry experts in Marlborough say the industry has been branded with an undeserved reputation for poor safety practices.
  • These days, no-one is allowed in the forest without a radio
  • There is extensive training in escape routes.
  • Allegedly ‘It’s a great job and as long as you follow the rules and stay aware of potential hazards”.
  • Forestry tutor Wade Johnson says the industry has “come along in leaps and bounds” since he first started more than 20 years ago…The emphasis now is all on identifying hazards and procedures that must be followed.”




2013    10 deaths

2015    3

2016    2

2017    6


According to WorkSafe NZ on aver 11 forestry workers have been in hospital for 5 days or more every month since January 2013

From January – September 2017, WorkSafe’s forestry inspectors made nearly a thousand crew visits, resulting in close to 300 enforcement notices being issued. This means 1 in 3 crews were doing something stupid. (see:The nature of deaths in the forestry industry is changing, worrying WorkSafe NZ.

 NB to my knowledge none of these fatalities was directly related to or could have been prevented by radio communication.



If you talk to an HR Professional they will talk about ‘Talent Management’ and ‘Employee Value Proposition’. To score highly in these things like

  1.  Good work conditions and effective feedback
  2.  Good pay
  3.  Not killing 1 person on average every two months
  4.  Not injuring 11 people every month to the extent that they have to stay in hospital for 5 days or more



Rant over, have a safe and productive week, and no I won’t be encouraging my child to work in forestry unless forestry safety radically improved.

Print Friendly
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Leave a Reply


captcha *