Industry representatives gathered at a Talking Safety Forum in Bunbury, and participated in workshop led by Andrew Huffer called Getting a Clear Direction for Safety in the WA Forestry Industry.
When reading and listening to the feedback from attendees, the Forest Industry Safety and Training Committee (a joint initiative with representatives from all FIFWA Divisions and the Forest Products Commission) and the FIFWA Council both recognised the vital importance of bringing the whole of industry together to work collaboratively in the development of an industry-led Safety Action Plan, among other initiatives.
In order to fast-track that process, FIFWA appointed Mr Graham Wimsett to the position of Safety, Health & Training Project Officer. Some of you may recognise Graham from his previous roles with Koppers, or as member of the Leschenault Timber Industry Club. Graham has extensive experience in environmental health, safety and regulation.
Graham will use the workshop’s Output Report and consult with the entire industry, connecting across all sectors and regions to develop and progress a Safety Action Plan with relevant key objectives and clear actions. The industry-led Safety Action Plan will provide a framework for ensuring we meet the Australian Forest Products Association’s and Australian Forest Contractors Association’s joint commitments, which requires the implementation of essential training standards by December 2020. The Safety Action Plan will also outline objectives and clear actions regarding workforce development, which will ensure our industry is accepted as a safe and attractive place to work.
As industry leaders FIFWA look forward to bringing everyone along the journey as we develop the Safety Action Plan, approaching the AFPA/AFCA deadline of December 2020, the State election in 2021 and crucially, the drafting of the next Forest Management Plan (2024 to 2033).
In mid-November the Forest Industry Safety and Training Committee (a collaboration of FIFWA membership and the Forest Products Commission) organised two Talking Safety Forums. The topic was one that impacts us all – fatigue. The forums provided opportunities for industry and the general public to gather and discuss issues related to workplace health and safety, and workforce development. The forums were generously sponsored by companies from the Great Southern and the South West.
Nearly 200 people attended each event, one in Albany and one in Manjimup. Feedback from the events has been encouraging and the next time the forums are likely to be held in Bunbury also. Members and non-members alike commented that they will never forget the stories they heard that day, and they were motivated to make changes in their own workplaces.
We are very grateful for Steve, Drew and Alan's time. It was a privilege to hear their stories first hand.
In case the images are hard to read, below are the short biographies for our guest speakers.
Managing Director, Tabeel Trading, Mt Gambier SA
Steve was born and raised in the Gippsland Latrobe Valley region in Victoria initially working in a farming environment and then completing a plumbing trade in 1982. However, it soon became clear that his passion and interest was in machinery which brought him to Mt Gambier in 1984. He began manual felling and haulage of the burnt timber with his first truck and founded the family company, Tabeel Trading.
After working with a manual chainsaw for 12 months he felt there must be a better way and mechanisation began its early days. The innovation of harvesting and chipping equipment saw many changes in the 80s and 90s with Steve always ready to change and adapt for better outcomes which is shown today with the use of the most up-to-date equipment and technology within the company. Today he is most proud of his 7 children and 3 grandchildren and knows how important families are in people’s makeup and support.
Starting from nothing in 1984, Tabeel Trading now employs 138 people with harvest and haulage services in hardwood and softwood plantations. The company is currently contracted for 1.125 million tonnes within the Mt Gambier and South West Victoria regions. He still also has agricultural interests in cattle and sheep production on the family property in Mt Gambier.
Steve will be speaking about the accident that took the lives of 4 employees in November 2016 and the impact this had on the company, its employees, the industry and himself. He will also talk about the changes to the forestry industry that have resulted from this accident and the changes that have been implemented within the company to hopefully prevent this tragedy from happening again.
Professor Drew Dawson
Director, Appleton Institute at Central Queensland University
Professor Drew Dawson is an internationally acclaimed sleep scientist who is recognised for his work in the areas of sleep and fatigue research, organisational psychology and human behaviour, industrial relations negotiations, and the human implications of hours of work.
Drew has worked extensively with the aviation, manufacturing, retail, entertainment, transportation and mining sectors in Australia, and is a world-renowned expert on fatigue in the workplace. He has instigated fatigue management programs, developed shift work and fatigue policy, undertaken pre-employment assessments, and facilitated shift work education sessions.
He also regularly presents at national and international conferences and has provided expert witness testimony in many fatigue related court cases. As director of the internationally recognised Appleton Institute, Drew oversees basic and applied research into the effects of shift work and sleep loss on the health and well-being of employees.
Grain Grower, Beverley WA
Beverley grain grower and Green Shirts Movement representative, Alan Sattler was in a life-changing car accident brought on by fatigue. He sustained a dislocated hip, fractured his hip socket, fractured his pelvis, broke some ribs and a couple of vertebrae, and spent 12 weeks learning how to walk again.
He is a passionate advocate for spreading the word and highlighting risks associated with workplace fatigue, burning the candle at both ends and pushing the limits with regards one’s health and wellbeing.
Having experienced this life-changing accident he speaks about the dangers of depression, excessive drinking and how it can all combine with potential, horrific consequences to your life, family, friends and community.
WAFCN undertook a site tour of Simcoa (Silicon Metal Company of Australia) Operations Pty Ltd in early September. The tour was attended by shire representatives from Harvey, Dardanup, Bunbury, Boyup Brook, Manjimup, Donnybrook-Balingup and Dr Steve Thomas MLC.
Simcoa is an Australian-based company committed to producing the world's highest quality silicon. Simcoa operates the only fully integrated silicon metal production plant in the world.
The industrial site consists of a sawmill, two charcoal retorts, three submerged arc electric furnaces, as well as a filter house (for cleaning the furnace off gases) and product packaging and despatch facilities. We were lucky enough to view the working furnace.
This modern plant uses the highest quality raw materials - low ash charcoal, coal and a high purity quartzite. With highly skilled operators and technical expertise, this results in a product which is unique in terms of its consistency and quality.
Blackwood Valley Softwood Tour
WAFCN, together with the Forest Products Commission undertook an informational field trip in the Blackwood Valley region to learn about WA’s softwood industry.
We heard about the key aspects of softwood production, including establishment, silvicultural management, harvest, markets and resulting products. We viewed plantations at different phases of growth, active thinning and biofuel chipping operations and the silvicultural practices used to optimise production of this high demand natural resource.
It was great opportunity to speak with experienced FPC foresters including Paul Newman (Production), Greg Hodgson (Manager Fire Protection), and Troy Sawyer (Production Manager) and ask questions that relate to your community.
The field trip had shire and community representatives from Harvey, Donnybrook, Dardanup.
WAFCN, together with FIFWA attended the Albany Show. We were located in a marquee opposite the log chopping arena which was a great attraction. In the marquee we were joined by Forest Products Commission, PF Olsen and Mount Romance.
WAFCN also attended the Dardanup Bull and Barrel Festival, the Brunswick Show and the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Fetival, along with other industry organisations and companies. Such events are great chances to support local communities through sponsorship and engage with interested members of the public. Next time you’re at a local show, be sure to pop by!
Here's an update from Wendy Perdon, Project Manager for the South West Timber Hub.
Well we are now 5 months into the activities of the South West Timber Hub and things are really starting to take shape.
Harvest and Haulage
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