Workplace Safety critically important in 2013

With the publication of the Pike River enquiry late in 2012, and the government clearly very serious about implementing the recommendations from that, and reporting back of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Safety due by the end of April we can anticipate a lot of Board of Directors and senior management focus on workplace safety throughout 2013. Following the introduction of the new Approved Code of Practice in December 2012, the poor accident performance of the forest industry was highlighted by Helen Kelly of the CTU. While the new Code will clarify and improve operating rules in the field, it will not improve safety without strong forest company and contractor leadership on safety culture.

Improving safety leadership skills within New Zealand business was the key motivation for the Department of Labour, ACC and a few of New Zealand's larger employers getting around the table a couple of years back and setting up the Business Leaders' Health and Safety Forum.

This group has now grown to 118 significant NZ company CEOs and GMs, including several forestry owners/managers and wood processors. It has a full-time Executive Director and a full agenda of work, peer learning events and external experts scheduled for 2013.

Peter Clark, CEO of PF Olsen, has been active in this group since its formation and is a foundation member and continues to serve on its Steering Group. In 2012 PF Olsen, with able support from two of its key contractors, shared its experiences in improving safety in the supply chain and introducing Drug and Alcohol testing in the forest industry. See: Engaging contractors on health and safety.