The forestry sector is one of our four priority sectors due to the high incidence of injuries and fatalities. We have had a dedicated Forestry Programme since 2010. The programme requested that Research and Evaluation carry out formative research to provide evidence to inform a review of the current focus and the development of future initiatives.

The research employed a mixed-method approach which involved an analysis of SWIFT data to track injuries and fatalities in the sector since 2010 an analysis of attitudes and behaviours of workers and employers in forestry taken from the Health and Safety, Attitudes and Behaviours Survey (WorkSafe NZ) and the collection and analysis of primary qualitative data across five regions nationally.

The qualitative research involved face-to-face interviews with: managers of corporate forests, contractors working in corporate forests, and focus groups with crews. In addition, we interviewed owners of small-scale forests, contractors working in small-scale forestry and held focus groups with their crews. There were also face-to-face interviews with WorkSafe inspectors and assessment managers working in five regions.

There are 8 reports:

This report discusses changes to injury and fatality rates, particularly since 2013, before analysing how changes came about and what drove these. It considers the role that forestry owners, contractors, crews, unions and WorkSafe played in bringing about improved practice on the ground, and discusses what could be improved in the future.

"Well, I think there has been a lot of changes" - Changes in health and safety in the Forestry sector (PDF 325 KB)

The research found that WorkSafe’s focus on small-scale forestry is warranted. This report discusses the specific issues faced in small-scale forestry and the differences between harvesting woodlots and farm forests, and large, industrial forests.

A different kettle of fish - Small and medium scale forests (PDF 1.2 MB)

This report looks at the differences and similarities between two of forestry’s subsectors – silviculture and harvesting. The two subsectors are viewed as being distinct groups, with silviculture receiving significantly less focus than harvesting. However, it was evident that whilst there are differences, there are also many similarities in the health and safety issues for the two groups, and with silviculture often being a pathway to harvesting for workers – a focus on silviculture is warranted in the future.

"There’s silviculture and there’s logging – that’s two industries” (PDF 2.3 MB)

This report discusses the forestry sector’s early response to the new Act. The research took place in the first six months of the change in legislation, which limits the potential to observe changes in behaviour. However, it provides insight into the role the change in legislation has played in changes in the sector, and how workers and PCBUs are responding to the new requirements.

“If you haven’t heard of it, you’ve been living under a rock” - Forestry’s early response to HSWA (PDF 237 KB)

This report looks at the health risks associated with working in forestry, such as noise, vibration, musculoskeletal disorders, psychosocial issues, and fatigue. It then discusses how New Zealand forestry employers (both contractors and forest owners) address these, and where responses could be improved.

"Healthy on the outside, sick on the inside" - Work-related health in forestry (PDF 297 KB)

This report discusses the training and workforce development issues faced in forestry. In particular, it considers the recruitment and retention issues that New Zealand forestry is experiencing, and the implications of this for health and safety. It discusses the state of training in the sector, from the perspective of those in the industry and highlights what some corporate forestry owners are doing to address issues of quality of access.

“If your pay’s not going up, you’re not going to progress anything – why would you stick around?” - Training and workforce development in forestry (PDF 238 KB)

Worker engagement, participation and representation is an area of relevance to all employers, particularly in light of the new legislation. This report discusses what is currently being done in forestry to meet these requirements, and any issues faced by the sector.

Worker engagement, participation and representation - a forestry view (PDF 211 KB)

This report provides a summary of the seven reports below It gives a brief overview of the research as a whole and is useful for those who want to understand the key issues without reading the seven reports in full.

Forestry in 2016 - a summary report (PDF 1.7 MB)