WorkSafe forestry focus update

Wednesday 8 May 2019

WorkSafe put focus on workplace facilities, noise and hauler guarding - WorkSafe wants to bring to the New Zealand industry’s attention concerns that have come to light during visits by Inspectors to forestry harvesting sites in recent months. These concerns relate to the provision of workplace facilities, mobile plant noise and hauler guarding. WorkSafe has indicated that in future Inspectors are likely to take action when they come across these problems.

Hauler guarding: WorkSafe says Inspectors have observed that fall and entrapment guarding on haulers is sometimes missing or ineffective. In the past, the risks created by this ineffective guarding might have been managed with rules and procedures. However, WorkSafe indicates it doesn’t think this is sufficient and that mechanical or technological solutions should be put in place. It says Inspectors will have a particular focus on guarding this year.

Noise: WorkSafe says it has also observed situations where workers in cabs may be exposed to sustained noise levels sufficient to cause permanent hearing damage. It says forestry companies need to be sure that the equipment they are buying is safe in their operating environment under actual operating conditions. Exposure to noise, as with other exposures, needs to monitored, and where risks are identified they need to be dealt with.

Workplace facilities: WorkSafe says Inspectors frequently visit workplaces where workers have to eat or seek weather protection in fuel- soaked containers, where there is no drinking water or facilities to wash hands and where workers need to toilet behind a tree. WorkSafe says from July it will begin enforcing regulations requiring forestry companies to provide appropriate facilities for workers. It says it appreciates the challenges this can present in a forestry context and will work with companies to find pragmatic solutions. Some of these pragmatic solutions have been identified during Safetree Contractor Certification audits, and FISC will share these with the industry and WorkSafe.

Source: Safetree.co.nz

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