Nelson loggers lead industry safety

Wednesday 11 Apr 2018

Three Nelson men are leading the way to improving safety in forestry. Mechanised Cable Harvesting (MCH) – run by Nelson locals Ross Wood, Hamish Matthews and Nathan Taylor - is the first in New Zealand to become a certified forestry contractor.

Set up just over four years ago, the company uses machinery to harvest the trees, which Taylor said was much safer than harvesting using chainsaws.

"Putting a guy in the cab of a machine is a lot safer than putting him in a hard-hat."

Currently, its crew of nine men work for Tasman Pine Forests. But the company is setting up a second crew that will work for Nelson Forests.

National Safety Director of the Forest Industry Safety Council Fiona Ewing said that MCH's certification meant it now had an industry-wide stamp of approval for its safety practices.

Most contractors have to comply with safety standards set by forest owners and managers and pass safety audits. But until now there was no single certification system that applied across the industry.

Taylor said becoming the first Safetree Certified Contractor was a great thing.

"What I like about this scheme is that it goes beyond the paperwork.

"It includes an on-site audit that looks at things like whether you've got a good crew culture. That's important because your culture affects what happens on the ground every day - whether people take ownership and look after each other. It's really important in making a good workplace."

Looking further into key points of safety culture and technology, in August FIEA is running their annual forest safety and technology conference series in Rotorua on 8th August and in Melbourne on 15 August.

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