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Health and Safety

Small Scale Forestry Safety Guidelines



  • Safetree™ is your one-stop resource to find the safety information you need to do your jobs safely and without injury.
  • Safetree™ provides resources to you at all levels of the industry to remind you how to do your jobs safely.
  • Safetree™ targets information at forest owners and managers, contractors, foremen, head breaker outs, breaker outs, tree fallers, hauler and machine operators, and silviculture workers.

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Worksafe New Zealand

Approved Code of Practice for Safety and Health in Forest Operations (ACOP)

This Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) offers practical guidance to everyone engaged in work associated with forestry on how they can meet their obligations under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 and its associated Regulations. The ACOP applies to forest operations including planning, establishment, silviculture, harvesting and transportation of log and log products.
Download: ACOP: Safety and Health in Forest Operations (PDF 1.6 MB)

Roles and responsibilities of principals and contractors

This amendment to the ACOP for Safety and Health in Forest Operations (ACOP) was developed for principals and contractors involved in forest operations, and gives advice on how they can fulfil their duties under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (the Act).
Download: Approved Code of Practice: Safety and Health in Forest Operations - Roles and Responsibilities of Principles and Contractors (PDF 711 KB)


Managing a safe and healthy small forest harvest
These guidelines provide owners of small forests with practical advice on managing a harvest safely and healthily.

Woodlot harvesting on farms
Many farms have small stands of planted trees (woodlots). A safe and productive harvest requires good planning and communication.

Introduction to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
March 2016

A Different Kettle of Fish: Small and medium scale forests
November 2016
This report discusses the specific issues faced in small-scale forestry and the differences between harvesting woodlots and farm forests, and large, industrial forests.

Safety during tree felling
Manual tree felling is one of the highest risk activities in forestry, and mechanised or machine-assisted felling is a safer alternative method. However, every kind of felling carries a degree of risk, and that risk should be assessed and managed.


Employment New Zealand

Health and safety at work »
A brief introduction to health and safety in the workplace.


Accident Compensation Corporation

1. ACC Forest Safety Guidance leaflets

Leaflet 1: Strains and sprains on skid sites

Leaflet 2: Health and well-being

Leaflet 3: Avoiding injuries when pruning and thinning -to-waste

Leaflet 4: Avoiding injuries when planting and releasing

Leaflet 5: Avoiding felling injuries

Leaflet 6: Safer machine operating

Leaflet 9: Felling and breaking out skills quiz

Leaflet 10: Quiz answers

Leaflet 11: Avoiding injuries on the skidsite

Leaflet 12: Forest machinery maintenance

2. ACC forestry safety

On the ACC forestry page:

The following small business resources provide tips and information specific to safety in the forestry industry:

WorkSafe programme
Use ACC’s key work safety programmes to establish health and safety systems and help keep your business injury-free. For further information see:


Tree Grower articles

  • The Forest Industry Safety Council report
    Allan Laurie, February 2017
    The work of the Forestry Industry Safety Council (FISC) continues to gain momentum under the Chairmanship of Dame Alison Paterson and the management of National Safety Director, Fiona Ewing. I…
  • The Forest Industry Safety Council What is it up to?
    Ian Jackson, May 2016
    On March 16 at the Forestwood conference in Auckland, on behalf of NZFFA, I signed the charter for the Forest Industry Safety Council. This was signed on behalf of the…
  • Health and safety on farms
    Nick Ledgard, November 2015
    There has been much talk about health and safety on farms lately. When the topic hit the headlines a few weeks ago, I commented to my wife that the media…
  • Some good news and some bad news
    Julian Bateson, November 2015
    Most of you will probably be wondering what is happening now with forestry safety as the news has gone a bit quiet these days. The good news is that the…
  • Forest safety update and guidelines for safer field days
    Julian Bateson, August 2015
    What has been happening with regard to forestry safety over the past few months? The news in the various national media has been relatively quiet, which is usually a good…
  • Workplace responsibilities of small-scale forest owners under the Health and Safety Reform Bill
    Julian Bateson, May 2015
    The aim of this article is to help give you a bit more of an idea about some of the changes to the health and safety law which will be…
  • A lot going on with safety in forestry
    Julian Bateson, May 2015
    A lot has been happening recently with regard to safety in forestry and on farms. In late February the Safer Farms project was launched, in early March there was a…
  • Drug and alcohol problems for workers in small-scale forestry
    Kirk Hardy, February 2015
    Small-scale forest owners often employ contractors to work on their properties. Whether planting or harvesting, it is essential that workers are not impaired by drugs or alcohol and especially when…
  • The Forest Owners Association response to the safety review
    David Rhodes, February 2015
    The Forest Owners Association welcomed the results of the Independent Forest Safety Review released at a launch in Rotorua at the end of October. The report and its summary were…
  • Forestry safety – problem or solution?
    John Stulen, February 2015
    Forestry’s dreadful experience of 10 deaths during 2012/2013 abated during 2014, hopefully for some considerable time. With the unwelcome media attention it has been challenging for all those in the…
  • Independent forestry safety review - What does it mean for us?
    Peter Berg, February 2015
    At the launch of the review panel’s report on 31 October in Rotorua there were almost 400 people present, including representatives from all sectors of the forestry community. There were…
  • Working to reduce injuries
    Julian Bateson, February 2015
    This is a bit of a different article on safety. For a change it is at the beginning of the magazine and introduces a series of other articles on the…
  • Keeping forest workers safe from harm
    Kyle Ralfe, November 2014
    Moutere Logging Ltd, a forest harvesting contracting business, has a simple philosophy − if our people are not in harm’s way, they cannot be hurt. Removing workers from hazardous tasks…
  • Developments in forest safety
    Julian Bateson, August 2014
    It might be a good idea to start with some good news, or relatively good. The injury rate in the forestry industry for the first five months of 2014 was…
  • Forest safety reviews and a proposed new health and safety Act
    Julian Bateson, May 2014
    When I first took on the role as the health and safety representative for the NZFFA a number of years ago, safety was not an area of general interest. In…
  • Managing the risks to health, safety, property and profit
    Matt Hanna, May 2012
    Risk management in farming and forestry immediately focuses landowners on compliance. Technicians enjoy compliance, but creative people often struggle to accommodate it. By nature farmers and foresters are often individualistic.…
  • Improving safety for farm foresters
    Julian Bateson, November 2010
    The risks in the business of forestry have been known for a long time and ACC has been targeting the industry for the past few years. As a result they…
  • Farmsafe chainsaw training
    Ket Bradshaw, November 2009
    The Farmsafe training course on chainsaw safety is a comprehensive introduction to using chainsaws. It covers safety, including safety gear and first aid as well as the landowner’s legal obligations…
  • Back to basics - thinning techniques
    Harriet Palmer, November 2008
    The latest Wellington branch field day – Thinning: back to basics – was organised and hosted by Dave Gratton at his Upper Hutt property. As ever when Dave is our…
  • Obey the safety rules
    Dave Gratton, August 2007
    Personal protective equipment (PPE) or, in the kiwi terminology, safety gear.  Whatever you call it, PPE is designed for only one purpose, and that is to protect you from harm.…
  • New best practice health and safety guidelines
    Dave Gratton, August 2006
    The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 promotes the management of health and safety issues in industry. The Act requires principals and self employed people who control places of…
  • How safe are you?
    Dave Gratton, February 2006
    If you did not carry out maintenance on your car you would not pass the WOF required to enable you to legally drive on the road. But when we look…
  • Farmsafe training
    Dave Gratton, May 2005
    OSH and ACC statistics tell us that farming, forestry, fishing and construction are the major industries with the highest death and injury statistics in New Zealand. Agriculture statistics show that…



  • The Forest Industry Safety Council What is it up to? June 2016
    On March 16 at the Forestwood conference in Auckland, on behalf of NZFFA, I signed the charter for the Forest Industry Safety Council. This was signed on behalf of the…
  • Forestry deaths should strengthen industry’s resolve to work harder on safety March 2016
    The deaths of four workers in the past three months is a sad reminder that the forestry industry still has much work to do to improve its safety performance, the…
  • Small scale forestry safety guidelines January 2016
    The NZ Farm Forestry Association, with support from the Forest Growers Commodity Levy, has just produced guidelines to help growers comply with current health and safety legislation as it applies to…
  • Forest safety council underway February 2015
    The forest industry has established a safety council to make forests safer places to work. This was a key recommendation of the Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel that reviewed forest…
  • Independent Forestry Safety Review Final Report available October 2014
    Since 2008, 32 lives have been lost on the forest block.  The forestry industry is the most dangerous industry in which to work in New Zealand.  The injury rate is…
  • Media release: Forest owners want people to speak up June 2014
    The sponsors of the Independent Forestry Safety Review welcome the public consultation document issued by the review panel on Friday. ”It poses a series of questions which will provide a…
  • Major forest industry safety review launched January 2014
    An independent panel is to conduct a major review into the high number of serious and fatal injuries in the forest industry. The panel members are business leader George Adams,…
  • Forest Owners support official scrutiny December 2013
    Recent assessments of forest workplaces by MBIE (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) and ACC have the full backing of the Forest Owners Association. “Regulation is not the only way…
  • Forest owners ask critics to help November 2013
    Forest owners are asking politicians, unionists and commentators to help them solve the industry's safety crisis and to stop making political capital out of tragedy. “We are all agreed –…


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