Forestry health and safety

Looking after yourself and anyone working in your forest is important. Find out the rules and your obligations as a forest owner.

Dangerous work

Forestry is one of the most dangerous industries in New Zealand.

  • 50% of the injuries forestry workers report are to soft tissue – including sprains, puncture wounds, cuts, dislocations and hearing loss.
  • Forestry workers are 6 times more likely to be badly hurt at work than workers in other industries.
  • Forestry workers are 22 times more likely to die at work than workers in other industries.

Looking after foresters

Ensuring the health and safety of workers is an important part of being an employer. As a forest owner, you may need to hire workers to care for or harvest your forests. The Government has laws and programmes in place to protect employees. You must meet all health and safety requirements or risk facing fines or criminal charges.

The Health and Safety at Work Act

The Health and Safety at Work Act came into force in April 2016. It:

  • sets out what businesses need to do to protect their employees
  • emphasises practical management of hazards that may cause significant harm
  • encourages worker participation in health and safety policy development.

The Act applies to all businesses and situations. If you employ workers to manage, harvest or work in your forest then you are required under the Act to take all reasonable steps to ensure their safety.

The Health and Safety at Work Act is administered by WorkSafe New Zealand, a standalone Crown agency.

Find out more

Who to contact

If you have questions about the information on this page, email

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