Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub

Thursday 6 August 2020


A Green Triangle forest industries COVID-19 code of practice has been formulated to equip the workforce to best manage the pandemic and tightening border lockdown.

Generated by the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub (GTFIH) in conjunction with the Green Triangle Forest Contractors Group (GTFCG), the all-encompassing plan provides a stringent set of measures to avoid and control the spread of the virus across the full breadth of the supply chain.

The plan was this week presented to South Australian Premier Steven Marshall and Police Commissioner Grant Stevens during their visit to the Limestone Coast, as industry pitched a proposal to allow greater cross border movements for forest industry staff.

The proposal calls for freedom of movement for harvesting, silviculture and forest managers to isolated forest locations to undertake works essential to maintaining business flow to the more than 150 businesses the sector supports across the Green Triangle.

Hub acting chair Ian McDonnell applauded the industries collaborative efforts to protect the health and well-being of its 7000-strong workforce.

“From the splitting of shifts to roll-out of additional PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and contactless processing systems – every effort has been made by the sector who have each tailored individualised work site plans in addition to this collective plan, identifying their own risks and mitigation measures to protect their workforce,” Mr McDonnell said.

“For almost five months the industry has been regularly meeting, planning, and sharing learnings on how best to manage the threat of the pandemic and to implement stringent measures to maintain continued business flow.

“The isolated nature of the forestry sector assists in meeting many of the health department guidelines, however through the development of these industry-wide protocols we are making a collective commitment to protect not only our workforce but that of the broader community.”

The industry measures include minimising staff numbers on site, enforcing greater general hygiene practice including use of hand-sanitiser, handwashing and increased worksite cleaning, and encouraging staff to work from home where possible.

Contactless workflows have been introduced, transferring all paper trails to digital forms whilst all communication is encouraged via digital means. Lunch breaks have also been staggered to further reduce potential for contact.

Mr McDonnell said GPS tracking in vehicles allowed for full tracing of all industry staff whilst out on the worksite, ensuring all are abiding by the rules at all time.

“We acknowledge that a hard border lock down would be devastating to not only our sector but the community as a whole. There are up to 250 people who need to cross the border daily to manage our forests and harvest our timber to ensure fibre can flow through the numerous processing facilities and support the broader supply chain. Cutting off wood flow will ultimately cut off jobs,” he said.

“This is why our sector is being pragmatic, regularly consulting with government for the latest advice and issuing stringent Covid-plans to go above and beyond in an effort to protect every individual on every worksite. The isolated nature of our work tasks mean social distancing requirements are already met on a daily basis so we can get on with business and protect both state economies.

“We are pleased that the government have intently listened to this messaging and we look forward to future collaboration as we continue to manage these unforeseen circumstances.”

GTFIH acting chair Ian McDonnell has applauded the industries collaborative efforts to manage the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.