The four forums sought to highlight the importance of work health and safety (WHS) practices within the timber industry.

The forums looked at the implications of poor WHS practices and discussed current initiatives underway in Australia and New Zealand to support safe practice standards across the sector.

The roadshow attracted large numbers with almost 500 people in total.

ForestWorks was one of the hosting organisers, and the company’s CEO Michael Hartman attributes the success of the roadshow to its collaborative nature.

“It was very satisfying for us to be part of a collective of organisations who worked together to organise the forums,” he said.

ForestWorks were one of four presenters at the event, which also included presentations by Wiremu (Lee) and Marsella Edmonds from Tuakiri Ltd in New Zealand, David Bennett, Manager Forest Systems at PF Olsen Australia, and Doctor Luke Mirowski, Research Fellow from the University of Tasmania.

Michael Hartman, Lesia Clark, and Michelle Ingley-Smith featured in the ForestWorks presentation, which focused on the FOLS orange card certification assurance program. FOLS is a certification program assisting operators in the timber industry to hold current qualifications and operate at high standards of practice.

FOLS is now available across the industry and provides transparency for skills gained and held, protecting workers and their businesses from some of the
risk associated with activities across the supply chain.

During the roadshow event, Wiremu (Lee) and Marsella Edmonds delivered a powerful message regarding the importance of leadership in WHS and the benefits a proactive safety culture in helping to ensure all workers return home safely each day.

They drew on their personal experience of losing their son to an accident in a New Zealand.

Speaker David Bennett discussed safety management systems for reducing risk and improving compliance, including the “˜Five Fatal Factors’ that contribute to the risk of injury in the timber industry, which are:

  • Working too closely together
  • Falling debris from overhead and not focusing on activity above
  • Uncontrolled energy sources
  • Non-routine tasks
  • Workers not saying no when they believe a situation is unsafe.

The University of Tasmania’s Dr Luke Mirowski talked about driver and operator fatigue management, demonstrating a new smartphone app to help manage fatigue.

Michael said workplace health and safety is of critical importance to the timber industry, and that ForestWorks would be committed to supporting the industry through collaboration, using effective systems to better meet safety requirements, and developing skills and capabilities in this area.

“The FOLS skills certification assurance program helps to ensure individual workers are qualified to undertake their work activities, and also hold current skills.

“An employee that holds an orange FOLS Card is an employee who has not only undertaken the appropriate nationally accredited training; they are an employee who can demonstrate that they are currently working in the industry and have kept their skills up-to-date,” he said.

With work practices and environments constantly changing, the FOLS system understands the importance of workers staying up-to-date with their work practices.