Workplace safety gets top billing in forests

In August, a major national forest safety conference – Forest Safety & Technology 2018 – will show how well forest workers have embraced new techniques for integrated workplace safety.

“The engagement with loggers and tree-planters by Fiona Ewing’s team at the Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) has been outstanding,” says Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) spokesman, Gordon Thomson. “In planning our case studies for this year’s conference, we found plenty of examples of people taking the things that FISC have been promoting and putting them into practice,” he adds.

“One of our keynote speakers, Hillary Bennett, has been working with people in industry and FISC for a long time. Her principles and techniques have been well accepted both here in New Zealand and in Australia among leading forest managers and contracting people,” adds Thomson.

Some of our ‘must-see’ keynote speakers:

  • Hillary Bennett, Director of Leading Safety – Creating a positive safety culture is recognised as an essential part of effective health and safety management. Conversations are at the heart of a strong health and safety culture; not only are they a way to convey commitment and caring for others, they are also a powerful way to understand, and improve, everyday health and safety outcomes. But how conversations are had can determine if they are effective. Speaking up isn’t always easy, but it’s crucial. Participating in a facilitated conversation means people can honestly reflect their views.
  • Chris Tobin, GM Sales & Marketing, The Drug Detection Agency Australasia – Chris will discuss key issues in workplace impairment testing, legislative obligations, recent trends in testing statistics, overseas trends, oral fluid testing and finally; how marijuana legalisation might affect our industry.
  • Rahul Watson Govindan, Group CEO, Thundermaps – Protecting distributed teams through hazard awareness: Tech Capabilities has advanced rapidly in recent years. The forestry industry is unique in the challenges it faces, with distributed teams in dangerous environments. By using data we can mitigate the risks employees face. The data often exists, the challenge is to get it in front of people when they need it. Specific hazard details for forestry are crucial. With people out in uncertain and changing environments outside of a company’s immediate control, awareness of various and ever-changing hazards is crucial. These systems has been applied for OSPRI – with people on large farms across the country.

Registrations are now open. We’ve got great support industry from principal partners McFall Fuel and VicForests. The conference runs on 8th August in Rotorua at Distinction Hotel. The following week on 15th August, it runs at Bayview Eden Hotel in Melbourne. For full conference details see: https://forestsafety.events

“We’ve teamed up with the Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) to organise a workshops in addition to our one-day conferences,” says Thomson. “Our conference delegates in New Zealand will get the opportunity to be part of an workshop lead by Fiona Ewing of FISC. Fiona’s team are hosting a workshop after the conference so people can talk as well as listen to gain new information.”

In Australia, there is a pan-industry workshop on the afternoon before the FIEA conference – from 1 to 5pm on 14th August, also at the Bayview Eden Hotel in Melbourne. FIEA has worked with Stacey Gardiner from Australian Forest Contractors Association and Diana Lloyd of Forestworks in Australia to organise this.

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