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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters


Breaking out results

Research into forestry workers has revealed confusion about safety rules, safe retreating distances and a poor awareness of noise as a hazard.

These are some of the findings of an ongoing joint initiative between ACC, the Department of Labour and the NZ Forest Owners Association.

The breaking-out project aims to bring down high injury and fatality rates in the sector. Don Ramsay, programme manager ACC, shared with Safeguard the results of four forestry research projects which were released back to the industry in a “breaking-out” road show last year.

Following the research, forestry OHS initiatives around breaking-out and safety culture are now about to be rolled out around the country.

Rob Prebble, a forestry trainer, assessor and consultant, carried out research into the breaking-out practices of cable logging crews. He assessed the understanding and compliance of the forest industry with the Approved Codes of Practice (ACOP) and Best Practice Guidelines (BPG).

Prebble found a great deal of confusion around the rules in forestry – for instance only 29 percent of the loggers knew the ACOP signals, and the loggers had different ideas of what a safe distance was. Forestry crews had difficulty working out what was a safe retreating distance for breaker outs.

Seventy percent of the breaker-outs said they didn’t follow the retreat distance rule because it was either not practical, took too long, was too far to move, or caused fatigue. Of those, 17 percent mentioned it was “too expensive”, in that retreating slowed them down which affected production.

Eighty percent of the crews were using the four main signals from the ACOP, but 72 percent were not following recommended signals in the BPG. Seventy six percent of crews did not comply with the ACOP rule for strap attachment practices.

Forestry workers were generally unsure where some of the rules came from, and therefore were unclear of their importance

Prebble said a logical, workable COP for forestry needed to be developed with clear-cut and realistic rules, unencumbered by individual company rules. Different mediums were needed to get the messages across.

Induction procedures could be improved by using video presentations to heighten awareness of hazards, and training techniques improved to ensure new workers knew the rules. There also needed to be an emphasis on sticking to the rules, he said.

Signals needed to be standardised with a universally accepted set of signals established, and an insistence that everyone knew and used them. Prebble also identified the need for refresher training, and rewards for achievements.

Research by Dr Richard Parker, of SCION, had used GPS tracking, heart monitors and video cameras to gain insights into the job of being a breaker-out.

His findings included that few jobs involved such intense work, and that later in their working day breaker-outs reduced their retreating distances. Parker had been able to show where a breaker-out had been working by overlaying the GPS tracking trace on Google Earth.

Ian Bartlett, of Paragon Health and Safety, and Dr John Wallaart (ACC) conducted research into noise as a hazard in cable logging operations.

They found that many foresters believed the noise problem was under control in the industry, but the research showed noise remained a big issue which was not well managed in many cases.

They found there was a lack of understanding of how noise damaged hearing and some hearing protection was not up to standard. There was a lack of awareness that wearing beanies under hearing protection broke the seal around the ears, therefore exposing the person to the risk of hearing damage.




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The average salary paid to people working in OHS roles in Australia went up by 9.65 percent in the last year, according to the annual survey carried out by Australian OHS and environmental recruitment company Safesearch.

The company says this is a marked turnaround to the previous year’s results, which showed a drop in remuneration in OHS roles, particularly in senior positions.

The increase is particularly marked in senior roles, with the average reported actual remuneration in GM HSE roles being A$271,310.

National manager roles averaged A$174,474. The much more numerous “HS/E manager” roles took home an average of nine percent more pay, while increases at the more junior advisor or co-ordinator level were modest.

Safesearch concludes academic qualifications in OHS are becoming increasingly important with half the officers and advisors having diplomas or degrees, and a trend towards managers holding graduate or master degrees.

Thomson Reuters

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