'Pushing forward to a real safe future' – innovation helping make forestry safer for workers

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1 NEWS

New Zealand's most dangerous industry, forestry, is turning to technology to help speed up production while also saving lives.

New Zealand's most dangerous industry is turning to technology to keep people safe.
Source: 1 NEWS

New tree harvesting machines which can operate on steep forty-five degree slopes are being shown off in Rotorua today.

The machines, which are operated by remote control, can cut, gather, and move the logs from the forest to the road.

Scott Reed from Reed Contracting Nelson Limited told 1 NEWS "I think it's pushing forward to a real safe future. Currently things are in place that will make it (the forestry industry) very, very, safe."

With much of our commercial forestry work taking place on dangerously steep slopes, the remote control machines aim to stop injuries and save lives in an industry which sees hundreds injured every year.

Lake Taupo Forestry Trust's Heemi Biddle is excited with the new technology, saying "people aren't putting their lives in danger by working in the gullies.

"The less areas we have to work manually has got to be safer."

Not everyone is as keen on the new technology though, with Mike O'Carroll from GJ Transport saying modern technology is taking the hands on, and thinking approach, away from the industry.

After a shocking year in 2013 where ten men were killed on the job, the number of bushmen killed and injured has dropped - a trend the industry hopes will continue with the introduction of new technology.

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