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NZ Forestry Industry out of control?

Filed under: General — Downunder @ 9:10 am Thu 19th December 2013

If you have any information about unsafe logging procedures that are likely to cause death or injury to workers email me at [email protected]

Out of the 100 serious forestry incidents for 2013, 10% have been fatal.

In November this year (2013) New Zealand saw two forestry deaths in one week bringing the total to nine for the year.

Story here

A 28-year-old man was killed in a logging accident in Nelson – the ninth forestry death this year and the second this week.

The death follows that of 63-year-old Murupara man David Charles Beamsley, who was killed in a forestry incident on Tuesday.

“It is an outrage that three men have been killed at work this week, two of them forestry workers.”

The forestry industry would face some tough questions from health and safety regulators following the death of a man in a logging accident today, Labour Minister Simon Bridges says.

Days before Xmas – New forestry fatality takes 2013 death toll to 10

A man aged in his 20s was killed by a falling tree while working on a forestry block in rural Horowhenua this morning.

“A tree has come down on top of him.”

Men are overwhelmingly represented in workplace deaths. Our right to life, a safe work environment, a reasonable living and to return home to our families at the end of the day is a basic requirement – it’s not negotiable – again and again this is not being respected.

Forestry Worker Deaths for 2012 (5)

27/11/2012 Forestry 24 M Pahiatua
Attempted to fell a tree, it has become hung up on another tree; the initial tree has come free and fallen on him.

26/06/2012 Forestry 49 M Bay of Plenty
Hauler logging clear-fell operation, tree felling, Tree feller struck by a large falling branch during a tree felling operation.

26/06/2012 Forestry 44 M Whareongaonga Forest
Deceased and three other workers were breaking out from a stack of logs when the logs rolled crushing deceased.

11/04/2012 Forestry 33 M Wanganui
Felling tree, tree split in half, bottom section slid back onto feller.

6/03/2012 Forestry 38 M Atiamuri
Deceased hit in the neck area with hauler rope whilst freeing snag.

Source: (Last updated 13 December 2013)

As the year draws to a close with 10 work place deaths in the forestry industry for 2013 – that is double last year – surely we must be asking how and why this could be happening?

Compare this to the death of a woman

“There’s a mother not home for Christmas.”

Prison for farm worker who broke cows’ tails

2014 update

First forestry worker killed 16 days into the new year

The year has started disastrously for the forestry industry with a worker killed in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley, and another seriously injured near Whakatane.

News from WorkSafe tasked with cleaning up the industry

“We have identified an alarming rate of safety non-compliance amongst cable logging operators – nearly half of the 162 we’ve visited weren’t operating in compliance with the industry code and we had to take 203 enforcement actions to force those operators to comply,” de Rooy said.

“We had to shut 15 of them down they were so dangerous.

“We are so concerned at this level of unsafe practice that we have sought meetings with individual forest owners to make very clear to them that they have significant responsibilities,” de Rooy said.

“We will want to see their safety plans for the contractor crews demonstrate active management of safety standards. If they are deficient, we will be holding them to account.

“The issues that are becoming apparent lead us to conclude that there are deeply ingrained systemic issues in this industry.


  1. Its okay we don’t count for anything just “sperm donors” and providers that are expendable. NOT
    Just yesterday a school teacher friend of mine almost lost his home to a partner now an ex that had been in his life for less than 12 months and hes worked hard all his life because of stupid biased law.
    That’s also death. How sad things are.

    Comment by Dominic Dilligaf — Thu 19th December 2013 @ 9:36 am

  2. I think you’ve pointed out the other side of the coin here Dominique.

    What you are seeing is disruption at home caused by greed; woman wanting some easy money, at the expense of a hard working teacher. How is the man meant to do his job and teach children with this going on in his life?

    I see a similar issue rising in the forestry industry, where the industry is not maintaining a work force of graduated experience which gives a lot of protection to workers in dangerous jobs. This is not cost effective and better ways can be found to increase the bottom line; like many other industries line up a casual workforce and cut labour costs.

    This comes at the expense of lives, families and children.

    That’s the cost of feminism. Women can trash a man for whatever they want and so can industry.

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 19th December 2013 @ 10:40 am

  3. Surely ACC must be concerned about this:

    This is a tough industry where the work is hard and poorly paid and the safety record concerning: there have been eight deaths and 90 serious injuries in forestry this year, the most recent just last Monday when a man was trapped by a falling tree in Kaihu, Northland.

    Article: Why is forestry so deadly – Last updated 05:00 15/12/2013

    Out of the 100 serious forestry incidents for 2013, 10% have been fatal.

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 19th December 2013 @ 12:29 pm

  4. There were also 188 serious-harm notifications last year – the highest number in five years.

    Here is an article on inspections of operations to date.

    Inspectors had so far assessed 150 operations, or about half the roughly 330 in New Zealand, Mr Bridges said.

    Of those, 14 were shut down because there was imminent danger of serious injury or death. That means 9.3 per cent had potentially fatal or injurious health and safety failings.

    Inspectors also issued 182 enforcement notices, suggesting more than one safety shortcoming was identified at some of the 150 operators.

    Did this death occur in an operation that had recently been assessed?

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 19th December 2013 @ 12:50 pm

  5. The Forest Owners Association is defending itself following government criticism it is not taking responsibility for deaths in the industry.

    Forest Owners Association president Paul Nicholls disputes the view that the industry has all the answers and says it will launch a review of the industry next year.

    “For that review to be successful we’d like all the people that are currently out there criticising the industry to work with us to make sure that we can uncover the reasons for the accidents and what we can do better.”

    Mr Nicholls says the review beginning in February will look at hours of work and introducing safer technologies, but says the industry needs outside help to find solutions.

    What a statement from an industry leader – We don’t know what we are doing.


    Comment by Downunder — Thu 19th December 2013 @ 12:58 pm

  6. ‘I understand they are now trying to locate the report but in the meantime I have received it from Shane’s widow. She is extremely upset to know that the report into Shane’s death has been ignored and she has real concerns that the Sector is not being properly monitored by the regulator,’ said Helen Kelly.

    Source: CTU

    It has taken the Forest Owners Association all year to suggest that they might do something about it after Xmas;

    Mr Nicholls says the review beginning in February will look at hours of work and introducing safer technologies, but says the industry needs outside help to find solutions.

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 19th December 2013 @ 1:08 pm

  7. Expect fewer forestry deaths!

    A tenth forestry death comes as the Government hardens its stance on safety in the sector.

    It’s recently taken two new prosecutions, and is ramping up site inspector numbers in the new agency, Worksafe New Zealand, which opened its doors this week.

    Labour Minister Simon Bridges says he expects to see fewer deaths as a result.

    “I’ll be very disappointed if there aren’t. We really are doing all the things possible to bring the toll down.

    “So I think we can be reasonably confident that the numbers will change.”

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 19th December 2013 @ 1:44 pm

  8. Acting chief executive Geoffrey Podger said it was concerning that WorkSafe NZ had to deal with the 10th forestry death this year in only its first week of operation.

    Herald Story:

    The sector has the nation’s highest rate of workplace injury deaths, according to the Chief Coroner’s office, with an average of five fatalities a year over the last six years.

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 20th December 2013 @ 8:03 am

  9. Forestry sector ‘not an industry in crisis’ – Key

    Of the 150 cable-logging operators visited as part of the audits so far, inspectors have issued 182 enforcement notices and shut down 14 operations because of imminent danger of injury or death.

    An average of 5 fatalities a year for 6 years equals 30 deaths forestry deaths. Mining deaths in the last 6 years equals 29.

    Justice Minister Judith Collins has been considering the introduction of a corporate manslaughter charge as recommended by the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety in its report issued earlier this year.

    Mr Key said yesterday it was off the table.

    Instead, forest managers had to take more responsibility and the Government was putting more onus on them through inspections carried out by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, he said.

    But a spokesman for Ms Collins said yesterday that she was still investigating the charge and awaiting advice on corporate liability and how those matters might be handled.

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 20th December 2013 @ 8:13 am

  10. Not an “Industry Crisis” Yeah Right!

    Does that have something to do with Almosr (If not ALL) the Fatalities and injuries were Male?

    Comment by Alastair — Fri 27th December 2013 @ 7:55 pm

  11. 16 days into the year and our first forestry fatality for the 2014

    A man has been killed in an accident in the Wairau Valley this morning.

    Ambulance officers pronounced the forestry worker deceased about 10.30am after the incident was reported to emergency services about 10am.

    If we continue at this rate the fatalities will definitely exceed the 10 reported in 2013.

    If you have any information about unsafe logging procedures that are likely to cause death or injury to workers email me at [email protected]

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 16th January 2014 @ 11:43 am

  12. Boat sinking charges

    Although this doesn’t relate directly to the forestry post, forest owners have been warned they may face charges for not ensuring adequate safety management, which is what this case is about.

    The hearing for Gloria Davis, of Bluff, who faces charges relating to the Easy Rider sinking in Foveaux Strait, begins in the Invercargill District Court today.

    Davis, who was the partner of William Karetai, the skipper of the boat and one of eight people who died in the sinking, has been charged with three offences under the Health and Safety in Employment Act and two under the Maritime Transport Act.

    Comment by Downunder — Mon 20th January 2014 @ 7:07 am

  13. A couple of years ago, I believe that I was poisoned by carbon monoxide at work. At the time, I didn’t realise the hazard that I was exposed to. When various carbon monoxide poisonings occurred and were reported in newspapers, I learned a few new issues to lookup and learn more.

    About 12 months later, I learned that the effects in terms of intoxication, continue to get worse even after removal from exposure. I had driven myself home, but at home, was barely able to walk or wobble inside and collapsed on lounge sofa. I wrote an unofficial complaint to my employer and copied to OSH. Neither ever replied, even just to acknowledge receipt of my letter.

    A couple of weeks back, I met someone with similar experience. He told me that by not arranging oxygen treatment, my employer had exposed me to a much higher risk of injury and also a longer recovery time. I researched further and was somewhat horrified by what I found.

    I then made a formal complaint to OSH, just before Christmas. That too has never even been receipt acknowledged. So, both the EMAIL and the letter copy were ignored completely.

    It gives the impression of no interest, or no care, or total overload by the most hazardous cases at hand.

    Whichever it is, I am left with the impression that OSH issues in NZ, is priority 428,467,976 under John Key’s Government. They seem to put more effort into adding gaming tables at Sky City Casino, or acting like serving wenches for the FBI chasing Kim Dot Com’s millions, when NSA copy more private information than KDC ever dealt with. Are they worried about serving NZers?

    This even makes Labour look attractive, just by comparison only.

    I hate voting by who I am least scared of. We ought to be looking for the best policies, rather than be looking for the least dangerous party.

    In the end, voters just have to take their own actions to protect their legitimate interests, at whatever cost that may bring.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Tue 21st January 2014 @ 2:07 pm

  14. $100,000 bill for preventable death

    Because a colleague was operating a long track excavator, Mr Olsson was effectively in control of the operation, despite just over a week’s experience.

    “Adam Olsson was fresh on the job. He had no formal forestry industry qualification and had never previously worked on a tree-felling operation,”

    When State Coal owned the Strongman Coal Mine the Government paid between 200 and 250 thousand pounds in compensation to the 19 workers who died in the 1960’s explosion.

    The company was ordered to pay Mr Olsson’s family $55,000 in reparation but a $52,500 fine was reduced to $25,000 because it could not afford any more.

    No doubt there has been deflation in the value of a life.

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 14th February 2014 @ 3:01 pm

  15. 16th March – A whole 2 months since the last work-related forestry death.

    Comment by Downunder — Sun 16th March 2014 @ 8:11 am

  16. Haven’t seen many logging trucks on the roads. Maybe the Ports are full or KR’s lack of locos has limited the trains?

    Comment by Alastair — Sun 16th March 2014 @ 9:43 am

  17. I am not casual about deaths and we should also be keeping just as watchful an eye on occupational diseases and impacts onto mental health too.

    Similarly for the road toll and the ird-cs / familycaught$ toll. The best measure is DALY Disability Adjusted Lost Years, which has been proposed by World Health Organisation.

    We need to keep a much better eye on people dallying in other people’s lives (without consent). MurrayBacon – axe murderer.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sun 16th March 2014 @ 12:04 pm

  18. In a twist to the call for action over forestry deaths the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) has applied for leave to take court action in two cases that WorkSafe did not, and the CTU says they should have.

    CTU president Helen Kelly said both of the cases involved particularly bad health and safety systems, and unions believed the forestry companies needed to be accountable for breaching the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

    “My view is in both these cases WorkSafe should have prosecuted.”

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 22nd April 2014 @ 4:44 pm

  19. “You can’t just kill someone and walk away,” she said.

    Ms Kelly says the legal action is about the individuals and the wider problem of insufficient accountability in the forestry sector where 32 people have been killed since 2008.

    NZ has always been among the poorer countries in terms of accountability. Air NZ were confident that their role in programming the crash on Erebus could readily be hidden from the fare paying public (but hadn’t reckoned on the tenacity of Judge Mahon).

    Cave Creek 14 deaths on an unprofessionally designed and built viewing platform. National Minister for DoC saw no need to accept any accountability, until 14 months later, when the issues were shown to be systemic underfunding of the whole Department.

    familycaught$ is still sweeping the children’s upbringing vandalism, driving parents insane and bankrupt and to suicide – not our problem! We are a Learning Organisation, claims judge bashier. familycaught$ are largely shielded from accountability, by judges refusal to hear claims against fellow judges, ACC and the shortcomings in the Human Rights and Bill of Rights Acts in NZ.

    Transparency International NZ chapter is just run as a Government marketing organisation, rather than measuring corruption, as the chapters in most other countries do.

    The CTU are doing the only remaining thing possible, prosecuting where the Government should have prosecuted, but couldn’t, due to serious underfunding by National Government, to suit their company owning friends.

    Lets Prosecute Child Abductors

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Wed 23rd April 2014 @ 8:35 am

  20. In an update on the CTU prosecutions mentioned above Radio New Zealand reports

    The Council of Trade Unions has won the right to prosecute a Tokoroa company in relation to the death of a forestry worker.

    Rotorua District Court on Friday granted it the right to take a private prosecution against M & A Cross over the death of Charles Findlay last year.

    Comment by Downunder — Sat 10th May 2014 @ 8:36 am

  21. Forestry death charges:

    WorkSafe NZ has laid charges against a company and two people following the death of a 20 year-old man in a forestry accident near Levin last year saying the company knew that serious harm was reasonably likely.

    Lincoln Kidd died on December 19 last year.

    The company has been charged under section 49 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act, which alleges the company knew that serious harm was reasonably likely to be caused.

    The charge carries a maximum fine of $500,000. The company has also been charged under Section 50 which carries a $250,000 maximum fine.

    One person has been charged with acquiescing, assisting or directing the company and faces a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding $500,000.

    The other person faces a charge in relation to an alleged failure prior to the date of Mr Kidd’s death, punishable by a maximum fine of $250,000.

    Comment by Downunder — Wed 18th June 2014 @ 1:44 pm

  22. Just when we thought we were getting somewhere:

    Forestry tutor crushed by falling tree:

    A forestry tutor has been flown to hospital today after he was crushed by a tree he was felling while teaching a class in Marlborough.

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 26th August 2014 @ 2:58 pm

  23. Manslaughter charge over forestry death:

    The Horowhenua man accused of killing a man in a forestry incident was arrested after going to police to give evidence for a coronial inquest.

    Foxton man Paul Robert Burr, 46, made no plea when he appeared in the Levin District Court today charged with manslaughter.

    He faces the charge after Lincoln Kidd, 20, was crushed by a falling pine tree while working with others on a forestry block between Levin and Foxton in December last year.

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 4th September 2014 @ 1:52 pm

  24. I wonder why Judith Collins who took no steps to prevent teenage father suicides isn’t being prosecuted for the same thing

    That’s right, no prosecution no justice
    Even if she is found not guilty

    Remember the legal precedence of the Louise Nicolas case.
    4 1/2 years in prison

    Maybe the police do protect their own
    I can prove they protected her
    When I complained about her offending in 2009

    When she was minister of police

    Comment by The man in Absentia — Thu 4th September 2014 @ 4:55 pm

  25. @25 Update on Forestry Manslaughter trial:

    Foxton man Paul Robert Burr, 46, pleaded not guilty in the High Court in Palmerston North today to the manslaughter of Lincoln Kidd.

    Kidd, 20, was crushed by a falling pine tree while working with others on a forestry block between Levin and Foxton in December last year.

    It is alleged that Burr caused the death of Kidd by failing to take reasonable precautions to avoid danger while operating a tree-felling mechanical harvester.

    This is the first time a person has been charged with manslaughter over a forestry death in New Zealand.

    Burr also faces charges laid by WorkSafe New Zealand in relation to the incident.

    Justice Simon France granted an application by the Crown to have the WorkSafe charges heard alongside the criminal charge.

    The trial was set down for August next year.

    Burr was remanded on bail until a case review date in November.

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 23rd September 2014 @ 11:01 am

  26. The results of the will to clean up the Forestry industry.

    Worksafe New Zealand data shows in 2015 three forestry workers died on the job, compared to 10 in 2013.

    And although there were 79 serious accidents last year, that was half the figure for the previous year.

    The industry was massively overhauled in 2014 after an investigation into its appalling accident record.

    The investigation found forestry was the most dangerous industry to work in, with more than 1000 serious injuries and 32 deaths between 2008 and 2013.

    Imagine if there was the same will to reform the IRD and stop male abuse.

    Comment by Downunder — Sat 30th January 2016 @ 9:17 am

  27. I have not liked government policy on forestry, for a long time.–all-while-we-remain-desperately-short-of-timber

    Commodity creation, and commodity improvement.
    Is the foundations, of economy.

    We sold off huge areas of land, to foreign owners.
    And export, raw a commodity, unimproved.

    Not very bright.

    It’s not that international markets, are dictating prices.
    It’s that it’s so wasteful of potential.

    How many arguments, does a society need.
    About creating jobs.

    So about 30 million cubic meters, of logs.
    Gone unprocessed.
    $1 of wages per cubic meter, or $30,000,000.
    Or 300 $100,000 a year jobs.
    Bases on prices, from raw log, to finished products.
    300 jobs, is a fraction, of what’s possible.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Sun 15th August 2021 @ 10:26 am

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