Ministry’s treatment of forest death shabby

19 Apr 2013 – 14:36

Shane Philip Frater, 28, died on 1 May 2009 in a forestry block near Te Pohue, off the Napier-Taupo Rd, when he was hit by a branch of a tree as it slid down a hillside.  “Despite the Department of Labour carrying out the investigation it now has no record on its database of this forestry death, or record of his death in the statistics for forestry deaths in 2009, raising questions about how many other Forest fatalities are not recorded,” Helen Kelly said.

“The CTU put in an Official Information request for all investigation reports into Forestry deaths since 2008 and thought we had received them all.” Helen Kelly said.

“I was extremely surprised when the widow of Shane Frater called me to ask to attend our Workers Memorial Day service for forest families on 28 April.  There was no record of Shane’s death in the list supplied to me.  On inquiry to the Ministry about this report I received and email stating:

“There was no Shane Frater on MBIEs list of Forestry Fatalities and my initial search of the data base has also not revealed anyone by that name. I have asked my office to check with the local Inspector and we will provide an update as soon as we are able to clarify further.”

“I understand they are now trying to locate the report but in the meantime I have received it from Shane’s widow.  She is extremely upset to know that the report into Shane’s death has been ignored and she has real concerns that the Sector is not being properly monitored by the regulator,” said Helen Kelly.

“It is really upsetting to know that the Ministry has not even recorded Shane’s death, it is like he never existed.  He is very much loved and missed every day. I cannot believe that they don’t even acknowledge him and had no record of the accident.” Deborah Mcmillan, Shane’s widow.

Helen Kelly said “MBIE has recently released a new code of practice into forestry which we consider sub-standard.  Its own investigation into Shanes death made serious recommendations regarding these regulations but clearly they weren’t even considered during the development process.  Shane has been, in fact, forgotten by the system.  A system that continues to let forestry workers die and be injured at unacceptable levels.  We want an inquiry into the Forestry Sector to consider all reports and points of view.  We are so pleased Shane’s family got in touch with us and are willing to be part of the effort to keep future workers safe.”


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