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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2015) 60(3): 11–13
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Feature article
Transforming forest safety attitudes and outcomes

John Stulen *,1

1 Executive Director, Forest Industry Contractors Association, Rotorua. Email:
*Corresponding author.

Abstract: In 2013, the New Zealand public was highly attuned to failures in workplace safety after so many lives were lost in the Pike River mine explosion and the Canterbury TV building earthquake collapse. The media turned its attention on forestry as a logging boom brought 10 forest industry deaths in a single year. Forestry people everywhere felt the pressure of an unrelenting union and merciless media. Forestry leaders were singled out as poor stewards of workers’ safety. Was forestry always this dangerous? What changed to make it so deadly in such a short period of time? Did inexperienced people put themselves at risk, or were employers blind to their duties to protect people in the face of perceived production pressure? This paper sets out to explain the sequence of events that led an industry of hard-working ‘can-do’ confident people through a crisis that has ultimately seen radical behaviour changes towards workplace safety.
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