Occupational Health and Safety in the Forestry Business
Domestic Initiatives in Forestry Business
Sumitomo Forestry manages approximately 48,000 ha of company-owned forests in Japan. Contractors conduct planting, weeding, improvement cutting, thinning and clear cutting operations. For the purpose of preventing occupational injury to these contractors, the Group conducts safety patrols and holds Workplace Safety Conferences at each office twice a year.
At Workplace Safety Conference, we are stepping up educational activities such as lectures by experts in occupational injury prevention and environmental education, and on-site safety instruction.
In fiscal 2022, although COVID-19 infection continued to affect our operations as in the previous fiscal year, we held at least one workplace safety conference at each forestry office. Various themes were discussed with relevant parties to deepen mutual understanding, including occurrence of forestry occupational injuries, occupational safety measures in forest activities, heat stroke prevention.
In fiscal 2022, there were no occupational injury requiring payment of compensation benefits for absence from work in accordance with the Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act in Sumitomo Forestry’s company-owned forests working site. We will continue our efforts to achieve zero occupational injury.
Number of occupational injuries involving contractors in company-owned forests*1*2
*1The number of work-related accidents resulting in payment of compensation benefits for absence from work in accordance with the Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act is disclosed.
*2The aggregation period for fiscal 2020 onwards is January to December of each year, and the aggregation for fiscal 2019 is April 2019 to March 2020
Occupational Health and Safety Management System Chart of Forest Department
Sumitomo Forestry's Domestic Forestry Group, Forest Resources Department, which is responsible for forest management in company-owned forests in Japan that cover approximately 1/800 of the domestic land area, has been working with contract business to raise awareness of occupational injury prevention by developing our own occupational safety management manual, introducing mechanization, and introducing drones for transporting seedlings materials. To further strengthen safety activities and raise awareness of safety, we introduced the ISO 45001 occupational health and safety management system in fiscal 2021.
Sumitomo Forestry's Environment and Energy Department, Environment and Resources Division, Japan Bio Energy, and Quality Control and Worker Safety Management Department jointly acquired ISO45001:2018 certification in August 2021. In 2022, the Domestic Forestry Group, Forest Resources Department, Environment and Resources Division, Niihama Forestry Office, and Motoyama Seedling Tree Farming Center were added to the scope of application, and Sumitomo Forestry's Environment and Resources Business obtained ISO 45001:2018 certification. In addition, the Hyuga Forestry Office, Togo Seedling Tree Farming Center, and Gifu Seedling Tree Farming Center have made self-declarations of conformity* in preparation for certification in fiscal 2023.
We will continue to strengthen our safety and health management system in our company-owned forests and seedlings operations.
*An ISO-based management system has been established, operated and adapted by the company
Overseas Initiatives in Forestry Business
The Sumitomo Forestry Group manages a total of approximately 240,000 ha of company-owned plantation forests overseas. To prevent occupational injury, all overseas forestation companies* ensure that operators are equipped with safety equipment, and remind them of safety and health issues through periodic safety lectures and morning meetings.
Specifically, (1) Thorough equipment inspections before work, (2) Regular meetings with logging contractors to evoke caution about safety management and real-time reports in the event of an accident, (3) Assessments of occupational health and safety for the company and logging contractors are conducted by occupational safety experts.
In fiscal 2022, 11 serious occupational injuries (4 or more days lost from work) occurred due to carelessness of workers or lack of safety confirmation of the work environment. The highest number of injuries occurred when knives and chain saws were used for clearing underbush. To prevent recurrence of such injuries, we strengthened safety education for workers and reviewed work methods. In addition, a global forestry occupational workplace safety conference was held to raise safety awareness among managers.
*Open Bay Timber Ltd. (OBT), PT. Wana Subur Lestari (WSL), PT. Mayangkara Tanaman Industri (MTI), PT. Kubu Mulia Forestri (KMF), Tasman Pine Forests (TPF)
Number of serious occupational injuries (four or more days of lost work time) occurring on overseas afforestation site (contract)*
*The number of work-related accidents resulting in payment of compensation benefits for absence from work (four or more days of lost worktime) in accordance with the Japanese Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act is disclosed.
Measures against COVID-19 Infections in overseas plantation forest
Each site of overseas planted forest has established its own guidelines for measures against COVID-19 infections and has implemented these measures. Monthly antigen tests are conducted for clinics that support local medical care, as well as store personnel and executives who have frequent contact with people, in addition to basic measures such as handwashing and wearing masks.
At WSL, MTI and KMF in Indonesia, the Headquarters in Pontianak, West Kalimantan succeeded in shifting to a system keeping the number of people on-site to the minimum, and the office in Jakarta to a total telework system via measures surpassing that which required by the government. Strict access management at plantation forest operation sites prevented the spread of the virus to employees and contractors.
In Papua New Guinea, OBT assisted the Health Department in mass vaccinations of local residents in remote areas by arranging transportation, accommodation, and other services.
Working without the ability to move freely or travel back to one's hometown puts an extreme burden on many employees. However, better communication and encouragement among employees brought everyone together in an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.
Global Forestry Workplace Safety Conference Held
In September 2022, the Sumitomo Forestry Group held its first Global Forestry Workplace Safety Conference to raise awareness of occupational safety in its forestry business in Japan and overseas. 40 people from Group companies in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and Indonesia, forestry offices around Japan, and relevant divisions and the Quality Control and Worker Safety Management Department participated online in this conference. The participants discussed measures to prevent occupational injuries at forestry sites in Japan and overseas, and confirmed a policy to prevent occupational injuries through sharing and analyzing the causes of workers' near-misses.
The Sumitomo Forestry Group will continue to hold Workplace Safety Conferences to ensure the safety and health of on-site workers, with the aim of eliminating occupational injuries.