Forestry families want more safety regulation
More than 100 family members of forestry workers killed on the job attended a memorial service held in Wellington to mark Sunday’s international day of remembrance. The grieving families of forestry workers who have died while working say the time has come to regulate an industry they believe is controlled by greedy forest owners who push their con- tractors too hard, ultimately risking workers’ lives.
The families marched for those killed at work and lobbied Parliament on Monday, calling for better regulations in an industry that claimed 11 workers from a workforce of about 6500 last year.
Overall, 51 people died doing their jobs, making forestry the country’s most deadly industry.
‘‘It’s a deregulated and dangerous industry by design with nine or 10 big forest owners contracting 300 companies, who are squeezing the workers too hard,’’ Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said.
Forestry widow Maryanne Butler-Finlay said the death of her husband, Charles Finlay, had shattered her Tokoroa family.
Finlay was the father of twin daughters Shelby and Sharneica and their 45- year- old father’s death has again been painfully highlighted – their older brother Charles will miss his father sorely with the passing of two bittersweet milestones: his recent 21st birthday celebrations and the announcement that he is to be engaged.
‘‘We’re a broken family. He was health and safety conscious – you don’t just go to work and die,’’ Butler-Finlay said.
Finlay was struck in the back of the head by a 55 kilogram splint of wood, which had shot through the air. His was the sixth forestry fatality of 2013 and the 28th since 2008. The industry has now seen 32 deaths since 2008.