Successful "Safe Start" Programmes Set Positive Theme for 2009

Rotorua's "Safe Start" was held on Wednesday 7th January at a Marae at the bottom of Rotoiti forest. Great weather set the stage for a great afternoon.

After a formal welcome onto the Marae, a contractor, Horo, performed our response to the traditional welcome. This was followed by a hangi lunch.

As guests were completing lunch a true-to-life mock accident unfolded. This included a helicopter retrieval of a person with severe leg injuries (see photo below).

The whole incident (including crash) was broadcast over a loud speaker system.

Peter Clark (PF Olsen CEO) spoke briefly and was then followed by Kingi Biddle, the guest speaker, whose message "painting the future" reminded guests to consider traditional Maori values, care of the forest and for those that work in it (see photo below).

An awards ceremony followed the speeches and it was pleasing to see Iwi doing so well among the award winners.

The entire event was recorded by Maori TV and then aired that Friday evening. Feedback has been very positive and relationships have been strengthened among staff, contractors and the local Iwi - beneficial owners of the forest lands. Thanks to the Marae for doing such a good job with the venue and catering.

Similar "Safe Starts" were held by PF Olsen around the country, including the West Coast of the South Island after PF Olsen took up management of that resource late last year. Research has shown that Jan/Feb can have high rates of incidents as workers return from a period off work. The objective of "Safe Start" is minimise injury during this period and set the scene for a positive and pro-active approach to safety for the year.