Business South Dec / Jan 2022

| 61 Safety focus leads to investment Hugh de Lacy Shane Griffin Logging this year took delivery of South Island’s first John Deere 959M Tracked Feller Buncher fitted with a Quadco QB440. Shane Griffin Logging FORESTRY Ending up in Christchurch’s Burwood Hospital paralysed after being hit on the head by a branch from a tree felled by a chainsaw provided the motivation for Shane Griffin to sink a million dollars into a brand new Caterpillar tree-felling machine. The accident happened in 2015 and was the sole serious safety event that Milton-based Shane Griffin Logging had encountered since Shane started out in business with a single skidder and a log-loader in 1996. It left him paralysed for five months, and six years later he’s largely come right but is still limited in what he can do beyond managing his business. A lifetime logger, Shane has built his business up to employ a staff of 14 running a range of skidders and loaders in the Otago Coast Forest east of Waihola and Milton. The company is on its second rotation of harvesting for the forestry giant Wenita Forest Products, a private New Zealand-registered company 62% owned by Chinese state-owned enterprise Sinotrans, with the rest held by the Australian-owned investment fund manager New Forests. Wenita manages 30,000ha of mostly radiata pine with 14 of its own staff and 120 contractors and, aside from the Otago Coast block it also operates in the Otago-Mt Berwick and Berwick forests. There was some irony in the accident happening to Shane because he was already a highly safety-conscious operator who had encouraged his staff to qualify for the Forest Industry Safety Council’s Safetree Professional Tree Felling Certificate. In fact Shane was still recovering in Burwood when one of his employees, Wayde Lindsay, became the first forestry worker in the country to be awarded the certificate. Presented to Wade and three other forestry workers at the Southern Wood Council conference in Dunedin that year, the qualification shows Wayde met the requirements to be deemed competent as a professional, industry-certified manual tree-feller. The ceremony was the formal launching of the forestry council’s Safetree Professional Forest Worker Certification scheme which aims to reduce the serious accident toll in the forestry industry. The scheme offers an industry-recognised nationwide mechanism to assess and certify that workers are competent to do specific high-risk tasks. Latest figures from Statistics New Zealand confirm the forestry, fishing and agriculture sectors continue to have the highest accident rates in the country, though the Covid lockdowns have seen the total toll drop over the last year. In 2020 those industries had an accident rate of 188 ACC claims per thousand full-time employees, up from 180 the previous year when they were the only ones to register an increase. The next biggest incidence of accidents occurred in the construction sector, followed by manufacturing. Most of the forestry industry claims were for soft-tissue injuries, including ligament, tendon and muscle damage across all parts of the body. Shane says he believes the forestry council certification scheme has already had a positive effect on his staff’s awareness of the workplace dangers, and he expects to see a reduction in the injury rate over the next few years. Every story is unique. Our job is to help make yours one of the classics. Providing services that include Accounting and Business Advisory, Tax, Audit, Insurance, Wealth Management, Lending and Finance, Findex combines local knowledge and global expertise to help you write your next chapter. 03 417 8066 123 Union Street, Milton 9220 36 Union Street, Milton - Ph: 03-417 7282 or Peter Tiffany 027 417 7069 Email: GENERAL ENGINEERING Farm and Forestry equipment repairs Mobile Hydraulics & Hoses Mower & Chainsaw - Sales and services Contact us today For all your insurance needs email 82 James Street Balclutha 03 418 2919 Working with our clients to provide the right covers at the right price Insurance solutions for all sizes and types of business and personal insurance For Specialist Local Knowledge & Advice contact us at: