The Forest Industry keeps workers safe with COVID-19 recommended work practices Protocols

The Tasmanian Forest Industry leads the way with the release of a set of recommended work practices to be used by workers across the forest industry operating under the Australian COVID-19 restrictions.

The Protocols were inspired by those operating in the New Zealand Forest Industry and the industry safety survey carried out by the Tasmanian Forest and Forest Products Network COVID-19 Communications Working Group which comprises 8 leading industry organisations. The survey which covered the full supply chain of the Tasmanian Forest Industry found that over 82% of workers were extremely or very confident that they can continue to work safely through this period.

Additionally, 71% said they could continue to work this way for 3 months or more. The survey also gathered valuable information on the mental health and wellbeing of workers at this time and the Protocols assist business with support and links to resources in this area.

“Currently all businesses need to develop a Safety Plan to manage the risks of COVID-19 and keep workers safe. These Protocols will be of great assistance to businesses to create those Plans in conjunction with their workers” said Bryan Hayes, CEO of Forico.

The Protocols are consistent with the Government Guidelines and the newly released Worksafe Tas Guide to COVID-19, however they do not exempt any business from their obligations under the Act.

They cover general safety measures for everyone to keep themselves and others safe, as well as specific measures for General Forest Operations, Harvest Operations, Log Haulage and Processing.

“As an essential service, the forest industry has been operating safely during the pandemic. These Protocols will assist with planning and will be a valuable resource for all forest businesses across the supply chain to ensure the Tasmanian Forest Industry can continue to support the Tasmanian community at this time” continued Bryan Hayes.