What killed Ken Callow?

What really killed Ken? Listen to the story by Kens family about his working life (& death). Help us share this video through a billboard.

Created by

New Zealand

Fairness At Work

1 year ago





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Forestry is the most dangerous industry in New Zealand. In 2013 there have already been two deaths. Since 2008, 23 workers have died and almost 900 have been seriously injured. 

A New Zealand forestry worker is 6 times more likely to die at work than a UK forestry worker, and twice as likely as an Australian forestry worker. 

Each death is a family, community, workplace losing someone who was loved. Each injury is someone’s life being changed forever by something that happened at work. 

We need the government and the industry to step up and stop this from happening.

Goal and Reasons

A goal is the driving force for a project and represents the campaigner’s desired outcome. Reasons provide the justification for why this outcome is necessary.


To get the Government to agree to an inquiry into the forestry industry leading to health and safety and employment standards that stop the deaths and injuries of forestry workers.


  • Each death is a family, community, workplace losing someone who was loved. Each injury is someone’s life being changed forever by something that happened at work.

  • Forestry is the most dangerous industry in New Zealand. In 2013 there have already been two deaths. Since 2008, 23 workers have died and almost 900 have been seriously injured .

  • This industry will not change by itself. Unless the Government steps up and regulates for real change in the way the forestry industry operates, the harsh reality is that we are very likely to see many more deaths of forestry workers in the years to come.

  • The Forestry Owners described Ken's death as 'unfortunate'. The Department concludes that he was 'the architect of his own demise.' No one considered the harsh conditions of work. No one talked to his family. We did.

  • NZ Forestry is 7 x more dangerous than the UK. The 8 big forest owners contract out almost all the work. They do not set standards for how workers are employed by these contrators. They conditions are hard, long hours, bad weather, long unpaid travel times. Turnover is very high.

  • Recently released new safety standards written by the government and industry are far inferior to those of Australia, the UK and Canada. These need to be re-written.

  • An inquiry will dig down into what is really going on just as the Pike River inquiry did. It will talk to workers and families, examine accidents and deaths and make strong recommendations

  • The reputation of NZ timber is at risk from our poor record. We claim to have sustainable forestry, but our accident rate is our dirty little secret.


A stakeholder is any person or organisation who can directly influence an issue. The stakeholders listed below have been selected by the campaigner and are invited to declare their official position on this issue.

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    Simon Bridges

    Minister of Labour - New Zealand

    Involvement Minister responsible for health and safety at work. What they can do Change the law to strengthen the standards making it safer to work in forestry. We are also calling on the Minister to launch an inquiry into health and safety in forestry. the inquiry needs to get experts to identify the issues in the industry that are causing this carnage. It is unacceptable.
    Simon has not made a response yet
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    First Union

    New Zealand

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      Robert Reid

      New Zealand

      Robert has not made a response yet
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    NZ Forest Owners Association

    New Zealand

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      David Rhodes

      New Zealand

      David has not made a response yet


The following facts have been submitted by the campaigner to provide sound evidence for their position. These facts and their references have not been verified by One Big Voice.

23 people have been killed in forestry in the last 4 years.

New standards in the industry are weak and will not make it safe enough for our workers, we need stronger laws.



Dear All,

Thanks for your on-going support of this campaign.

Last week we launched our fundraising campaign to bring forestry families together for Workers Memorial Day commemorations in Wellington in late April. It would be wonderful if you could please support this fundraising here http://www.givealittle.co.nz//cause/supportforestryfamilies

It would also be great if you could pass the Givealittle link on to anyone else you know cares about what is happening in the forestry industry and might support this cause.



- See more at: http://www.onebigvoice.com/petition/stopthekillinginforestry#updates

Hi All -

Thank you again for your support for this important campaign.

Workers Memorial Day is on Sunday 28 April - it is an annual global event to remember those who have been killed while doing their job.

This year, the Council of Trade Unions is holding a memorial service for the families of the many forestry workers who have died in this industry.

We want to highlight the accident rate in forestry and seek change.  

A New Zealand forestry worker is 6 times more likely to die at work than a UK forestry worker, and twice as likely as an Australian forestry worker.  Each death means a family, community, workplace loses someone they love. Each injury is someone’s life being changed forever by something that happened at work. We need to make it safer.

The service is open to the public, please come and show your support for the forestry families.

For further details please see: our Facebook event or our website.

Also, please make sure you've signed, and please keep sharing our petition.

many thanks and hope to see some of you on the 28th.

kind regards, Fairness at Work

Hi All,

Thanks again for your support to get the billboard up - we launched it this week - see this great piece from Breakfast yesterday morning, see Roger and Caroline on Breakfast .  And in The Herald.

Our next action is a petition to the Minister of Labour and the Forestry Owners Association demanding an inquiry into the deaths in forestry - please make sure you sign the petition and share with your friends and networks. You can sign the petition HERE .

Thanks again.

Hi All,

We've reached our target! and will be putting up a billboard to bring attention to whats going on in forestry.

A huge thanks to everyone for the support and donations, will have an update about the billboard location etc soon!

In the meantime, please sign and share our petition to the Minister of Labour and the Forest Owners asking for an inquiry into the outrageous number of deaths in forestry. We need to stop the killing in forestry now.

Stop the killing petition


Hi all -

Under $600 to go! huge thank you to everyone who's donated so far. We're really close to getting the billboard up to spread Ken's story, please keep sharing and talking about this.

Helen Kelly, CTU President, has also written a blog about safety in the forestry sector - take a look: The silence is killing them

Again, thank you and keep spreading the word. xF@W


Hi all,

Thank you so much for supporting this campaign and for your donations towards getting a billboard up to help tell Ken's story to a wider audience. If you haven't already, please share this campaign with friends and/or colleagues, and ask them to support, we're getting close to our target now!

Here's something Caroline Callow has shared on the site, we thought we would pass it on:

"The family of Ken Callow would like to express their appreciation to everyone who has supported/donated to this campaign. This has generated a huge amount of public discussion, we hope this discussion will continue and get the public to question why forest owners are not held accountable for THEIR workplace accidents, and why Government are reluctant to put in place regulation but prefer to support a 'code."

Help us tell Ken's story - http://onebigvoice.com/media-fundraiser/what-killed-ken-callow-billboard

Again, thank you,

Fairness at Work.


Thanks everyone!

What a first day - we're a quarter of the way to our target to get the billboard up (this is a bit like what it will look like). Many thanks to those of you who have donated and shared this campaign through facebook and twitter - it all helps to get this important story and issue out there.

If you haven't shared this campaign yet, please do!

Otherwise, thanks again, and we will keep you posted about the progress with our billboard fundraising and with future campaign activities.

thanks, Fairness at Work

Add yours


Share your personal experiences and declare your stance on an issue. Honesty in your response is important for other users to use your viewpoints in good faith to help form their own opinions.

Jqhn Ellis
Ken Callow was my logging trainer, mentor, best friend and logging partner. He must have been in the industry for about 16 years, and was far better than a lot of guys in the industry today. Today I heard about Ken's passing and it has hit me like a knife in the chest.. As I am still in forestry, it has made me realise how vulnerable we are out there for this to happen to someone as switched on as ken. Well, I'm having a couple quite ones for you right now my friend. It hurts me deeply to know you have passed and will think of you everyday I kit up for the long day ahead. My love and thoughts go out to Roger, Caroline, Louise, Kens partner and 2 boys.
Olive Hawira
I wholeheartedly support the call for more stringent Health and Safety Standards and procedures within the forestry industry. Blaming the worker/s is unacceptable in an environment which is driven by targets, productivity and ultimately profits for those at the top.
debbie mcmillan
My daughter lost her dad in a forestry accident in 2009, and she is now 5 and 1/2 and still asks why daddy had to die? I have no answers for her. Someone needs to be accountable, and more needs to be done for other forestry workers.
Patricia O'Shea
And for some of us it is the lack of a just outcome which hurts. The tendency to blame the worker, and the poor quality of investigations mean that often the real cause is not addressed. In our family we have never even had an apology, even though it was proven that the machine being driven was faulty - brakes failed, machine rolled, and driver killed, 'please do better next time' was the only message they seemed interested in. Not good enough.
Katerina Chase
This issue affects my family's daily lives! My partner was the other main feller to Ken in their crew and had been working closely with him for 2 years and he knew personally and professionally, as did all there work mates that Ken was a professional at his Job!! He had just left that job for another for about a month when Ken passed. The fact of the matter for us is that it could easily be my partner in that position if the forestry industry does not improve there health and safety procedures!! Everyday I am scared that my partner will not come home because of the shocking working conditions the forestry industry operate under!! Truth is all forestry bosses care about is there target and if they don't hit that target every week, they will push the boys to longer hours and weekend work just to achieve there goal amount of wood they get down. In forestry its all about the figures & dollars signs, not the workers who slave day in day out for them to achieve it for them!
Nick Latty
I completely agree that forestry standards need to be very stringent - and doing so legally is a great way to affect change. I recently spent four months working in the forestry industry in Canada and the standards over there (that I witnessed) were also shocking. I had friends lose fingers over there, I have lost an uncle to a Holcim cement factory accident and a close friend in the Pike River Mine disaster. I feel deeply for safety campaigns such as this one. While I understand that there is a responsibility for all of us working in these more dangerous industries to understand the risks of our occupation, safety standards need to be improved everywhere in the world. This is an important campaign and I hope it can influence parliament to impose higher standards on New Zealand's commercial forestry industry.
David Reeves
Too many deaths, far too many accidents, working too long and harder hours, after a time can anybody think straight. Should this be happening in our day and age, I thought this sort of thing happened in my grand parents day. I am 17 years old and to think we have not progressed. I won't join the forestry the industry doesn't look after their workers. And Yeah Ken was my cousin and he was a real good fella.
Mary-Ann de Kort
I came from a timber town and too many people are dying for too little pay.