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Forestry industry's safety record 'not acceptable' - Minister

Published: 12:55PM Wednesday November 27, 2013 Source: ONE News

A forestry worker killed in what appears to be a tree felling accident yesterday afternoon has been named.

He was David Charles Beamsley, aged 63, from Murupara.

Police and other emergency services were called to the scene off Tangiharuru Road, Kaingaroa, in the Bay of Plenty around 5.15pm.

Mr Beamsley is the eighth forestry worker killed on the job this year.

Labour Minister Simon Bridges said the number of fatalities was too high.

"The safety record is not acceptable - the industry needs to get its safety house in order," he said.

"There is no lack of understanding about what the main problems are, or what the solutions might be."

Mr Bridges said the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment was half way through a proactive programme of assessing cable logging and contracting operations throughout the country.

"Of the 150 operations visited so far, they've issued 182 enforcement actions and shut down 14 because there was imminent danger of serious injury or death.

"This is not good enough."

Mr Bridges said it was not possible for the Government to install an inspector in every work place.

"Those who own the forests, those who run the crews in the forests, those who train the workers, those who represent the workers, and the workers themselves have to join the regulator in taking strong, effective, lifesaving action," Mr Bridges said.

Council of Trade Union President Helen Kelly said there needed to be a swift, decisive and effective response to the issue. She said the industry could not self-regulate itself to solve the safety issue.