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Safety Champions – Johnny Albert

Johnny Albert is the foreman of a silviculture crew planting for PF Olsen this winter. When Ged Terry, PF Olsen’s Chief Operations Officer, visited the crew he was impressed with the safety induction he received from Johnny. A safety induction is an important first-step before visitors come onto any worksite, and it ensures a safe visit. It also tends to be a good gauge of general safety performance at that site.

Johnny is with Inta-Wood Forestry Ltd and first started with them in 2007. Although Johnny has worked in other industries he says: “I keep coming back”. It’s clear that forestry is for him - it’s his work.

This is Johnny’s first year as the foreman of a crew. The responsibilities of his new role “have lifted his head to see a wider picture”, and he can see that “good health and safety relies on good planning and processes”.

A visit to the site shows that Johnny has put a good deal of thought and effort into planning. Every morning he conducts the toolbox meeting and another after lunch where they discuss the morning run and the risks for the afternoon run. He works closely with the crew as well as keeping on top of reporting, inspections, safe behaviour observations and incidents.

The PF Olsen supervisor who manages Johnny’s crew day-to-day offered this comment: “Johnny is easy to communicate with. If I ask him a question he gives me an honest answer. He is on top of things, and reliable, which is great.”

When asked about Health and Safety Johnny commented that he sees in the media that people still die at work in New Zealand, which is worrying. He added, “At the end of the day we all want to go home to our family. So the safety work we complete needs to be the first and last thing the boys should know, not just me. I’m happy when I see the boys picking each other up on things.”

Johnny got a lot out of the PF Olsen pre-season planting workshop (see Wood Matters July 2016) which was held at the beginning of the planting season. “It worked for me,” he said. “The practical planting exercise was a big help to those new to planting. The information on the hazards and risks was good to get. As for the session with Jason Whatuira, the crew have taken away Jason’s good words on making a change and really think he speaks the truth.”

The 2016 planting season also saw a system of drug and alcohol testing and incentives. As a result, the whole crew is motivated to stay drug free. They are ‘stoked’ with the vouchers that are being given to crews that return a clear monthly drug and alcohol test. Johnny adds proudly, “We have a good safety and drug free record and we intend keeping it that way.”

We would like to wish Johnny all the best for his future in forestry, for his future study and in his current role. He is a safety champion in the making.