Information about forestry fatalities – Safetree

FICA AdminMember Updates, News

To help the forestry industry learn and become safer, WorkSafe has agreed to share information about forestry fatalities. Below is the factual information available to date about the fatalities in 2017.
WorkSafe’s investigations into the incidents are continuing and they will inform us of any other key issues or trends as they come to light in the investigations.
Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims.
For more information and further updates, visit

Date: 16 March
Location: Gisborne, Mangatu Forest.
Person: 38 year-old father of 7 young children.
Activity: Thinning to waste. Contractor working for a corporate forest owner.
Terrain: Plateaus and gullies. The person was working uphill on a plateau. He was approximately 50 metres from another worker. They were in radio contact with each other and the other worker noticed that the person’s chainsaw was idling and went to check and found him.
Circumstances: At this point in our enquiries we are unable to conclusively determine what exactly happened but the person was found on his face, head first down a small bank with a 6-8 metre 20cm stem diagonally across his shoulder and back area.

Date: 12 April
Location: Gisborne, Mangatu Forest
Person: 42 year-old father.
Activity: Harvesting – experienced feller starting to open up area for recovery. Contractor working for a corporate forest owner.
Terrain: Not difficult.
Circumstances: The incident happened while driving a tree onto a standing cut up tree. Approximately 15 trees had been felled prior to the incident.

Date: 15 May
Location: Northland, near Mataraua Road, Kaikohe
Person: 32 year old father of two young children
Activity: Tree felling. Contractor working for a small forest owner.
Terrain: Sloping terrain, with a drop off just below where the trees were being felled. We have been told of an abundance of rocks below the surface. A number of standing dead trees were noted in the surrounding area.
Circumstances: The person had been felling trees, ranging from 200mm to 500mm in diameter, uphill. After he failed to call in another faller went looking for him, and found him unresponsive, beneath a dead tree that had uprooted. His chainsaw was found in the off position, in a stump, after having the hinge wood cut through. We are currently unable to determine the exact cause of the incident at the stage.