Safety Profile Lee Cudd – RIMURAPA CREW


PF Olsen took on Rimurapa in 2012. "We were prepared to give this newcomer a break" says Jason Blair, Gisborne Branch Forest Manager.

"Lee Cudd and partner Wix (Ngawiki) came on board having very good safety systems; they had put a lot of effort into pre-planning and business development. Health and Safety was as good as any we had seen particularly from a silviculture crew.

"The crew worked really well through that planting season and so we wanted them to stay on despite a diminishing work program. This was largely because the Health and Safety management was superior to any other silviculture crew we had and Lee was on site more regularly and working directly with the crew."

The following year (2013) PF Olsen nominated Lee and Rimurapa for two Eastland Wood Council awards – Start-up Business and Forestry Excellence. They won both awards.

Rimurapa has continued to grow and improve safety culture. The Company is very professional and well-organised and good to deal with.

Interview with Lee Cudd

Name: Lee Cudd
Affiliation: Ngati Porou / Te Whanau Apanui
Home town: Gisborne/Tokomaru Bay
Crew name: Rimurapa Limited
Time in the industry: 19 years
Training/qualifications: National Certificates in: Forestry Foundation Skills, Forest Operations, Health & Safety and Agriculture.

Currently engaging in: Level 5 Crew Managers National Certificate and Level 4 Traffic Management.
What do you like about forestry? "I like the outdoors working environment, the physical aspects of the job, as well as the crew camaraderie, the clients and management in the business.

"It's my belief that if you can turn your interest into a career you'll have more natural enthusiasm for what you do and how you apply yourself. Coming from a rural background, forestry came naturally to me. My personal philosophy on a career/work is that if you enjoy what you do, you'll probably do it for a long time, which is true in my case. "
The Lowdown on Safety
What motivates you…
i) to act safely personally? "My motivation for being safety conscious is my family. As a husband, breadwinner and father of two daughters our family dynamic relies heavily on me making it home safely each day. This is the number one priority for me.

"I've been in the forestry industry for nearly 20 years and seen my fair share of near misses, serious accidents and fatalities. All, I feel, could have been avoided if somebody had been more safety conscious, accountable and proactive in terms of health and safety culture and implementation.

"My personal thought is; "accidents are not accidents" rather they are a small series of incidents, which if identified and properly managed can be avoided."
ii) to want to care for the safety of others? "Coming from a small community where personal relationships are tight knit and closely connected drives a strong sense of responsibility for the well-being of employees. It's more than compliance; personal factors come into play. Spouses, children, parents, grandparents and all, having to tell one of them that their loved ones are not coming home is a conversation I never wish to have. This motivates me to make sure I'm doing the best I can for the people that commit so much of themselves to our forestry industry.

"When I started 20 years ago health and safety was in its juvenile stages on the East Coast. Over the time health and safety management has advanced, giving me the ability to pick, practice and apply appropriate safety systems. We have adopted new measures and utilised whatever new technology is available to us.

"I believe that if strong safety leadership is exhibited by leaders it will filter down and resonate with crews who will understand and therefore show little resistance to health and safety initiatives. Rather, working safely will come naturally. "
What advice/suggestions do you have for others in similar positions to yourself? "In my experiences I feel the biggest hurdle in health and safety is trying to swing or influence the culture. The most effective way I've found is through active engagement and leadership; this means walking your talk or practicing what you preach if you can do this your safety culture will start to change."
In summary what insights into safety management can you provide for others that have safety management responsibilities?
  • Learn from those who have gone before you.
  • Don't be afraid of change, or critiquing.
  • Network well.
  • Use all resources available to you.
  • Walk your talk.