Plans for a Toroawhi H&S forestry pilot

11 September 2019

The Forest Industry Safety Council is looking for someone to be a health and safety forestry champion for a pilot project aimed at ensuring a strong workers’ voice in New Zealand’s forestry sector.

Workers know what makes work successful on a day-to-day basis and they play an essential role in reducing work-related injuries and ill-health. Therefore, good worker participation is critical to successfully managing work-related risks. This view was reinforced by both the Royal Commission review into health and safety following Pike River, and the Independent Forestry Safety Review following the 10 fatalities in 2013.

We’ve done lots of good work with the sector since the establishment of FISC, but we still need to crack the gnarly problem of how to ensure there is a strong workers’ voice. In our sector it can be very difficult to create ways for workers to have an influential voice in health and safety and work design decisions, due to the nature of the workforce, crew size, remote locations and work organisation.

One way of addressing this gap is the idea of roving or regional health and safety champions, so FISC is working on a pilot project to test this idea in our sector. The role has been called ‘Toroawhi’, which means ‘collectively we create the momentum for change’. The champions will operate in the community and across multiple worksites, supporting worker engagement and participation as well as supporting businesses to improve practices.

They won’t be a WorkSafe inspector or union rep so they won’t have any regulatory powers or be on a membership drive. Their role is to support the sector by providing additional expertise and soft-skills (great communication and people skills, etc) especially for smaller businesses where this work can be more challenging.

Regional pilots in the UK and Australia showed positive outcomes for workers in improving participation and engagement, and also a positive impact on key business outcomes, including productivity. As we know, good health and safety is good business.

If you could be a champion, a Toroawhi, or you know someone else who could be, please email – or ask them to email and they’ll be in touch.

What is Toroawhi?

– One-year pilot project, co-designed with WorkSafe, with the aim to improve worker engagement and participation in the sector.
– One-year fixed-term contract for two people to be based regionally; region selected will depend on quality of candidates.
– Funded by WorkSafe.
– Role reports to FISC and will be co-branded Toroawhi and Safetree.
– Good development opportunity for someone looking to transition to a new role.
– Recruitment will begin in November – who could be your region’s Toroahwi?

Source: FISC