Covid-19 Forestry and wood information hub
Latest Confor Industry Update on Covid-19
8 January 2021 - We are working with the public forest authorities across the UK to clarify working arrangements for the industry after the latest Covid-19 regulations were announced.Stuart Goodall, Confor’s Chief Executive, has spoken to public bodies across the UK and confirmed that the guidance here - on the Latest News page - is appropriate to the industry.
Letters of comfort for forestry and wood industry
20 October 2020
Anthony Geddes, Confor's National Manager for Wales, has written to all members, while new 'letters of comfort' have been produced for industry workers, in case they are challenged for continuing to travel to their workplaces.
The new measures will be in place from 6pm on Friday (23 October) until the start of Monday 9 November 2020.
Working in England from 5th November to 2nd December
Confor has been advised that the working arrangements for the industry should not be changed by the National Restrictions that have been introduced. The work undertaken by Confor and FISA during the last national lockdown on advice on safe practice if unable to work from home should put us in a good position to demonstrate safe working for forestry and wood processing businesses.
Forestry Commission’s Coronavirus Operational Update which details how it will work through the outbreak has been updated in line with the new national restrictions.
Working in Scotland following the introduction of Levels
The Scottish Government has introduced guidance for travel in and out of Level 3 and 4 areas, and the First Minister has highlighted the potential for that to be strengthened into regulations if it is felt to be required.
Travel (and onsite working) is permissible for the forestry and wood processing industry where necessary, while ensuring compliance with the industry guidance on safe working.
Existing Level 3 and Level 4 guidance on restricting travel contains exemptions for the continuation of essential work-related movements. In the broader guidance there is an expectation that even under Level 4 outdoor working, construction and manufacturing can continue, subject to the extensive safe working guidance that has been prepared by Confor, FISA, Scottish Forestry and Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS).
Scottish Forestry have emphasised the safe working guidance to its staff, and reassured them that work-related travel is still allowed, but also reminded them that such travel should only be undertaken when it is essential.
FLS have advised that they will continue to conduct timber harvesting, tree planting and other outdoor forestry work, in accordance with maintaining Covid-19 hygiene controls and compliance with Scottish Government guidance and regulations, as these are currently exempt outdoor working activities.
FLS Covid-19 local protection levels and status of FLS work activities - Read it here
Safe working protocols
Confor has cooperated with members and industry partners to draw up new working protocols for different parts of the industry so that work can demonstrably be carried out safely, responsibly and in line with official guidance.
- Safe working protocols in the forest - Prepared by FISA, the document can be accessed here
- Forest nursery practices and mitigation - Find guidance here
- Safe working in sawmills and panel board mills - Find the guidance here
Support for businesses
The UK government financial support pages provide guidance on available business support.
Employment and HR advice
Confor member, legal firm Brodies, has created free-to-access resources to help you navigate through the challenges you may face as an employer during the global pandemic.
- Coronavirus: FAQs for Employers
- Furlough: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Ending furlough and lockdown: FAQs for employers
To discuss any employment matters further or sign up for a free trial of the full Workbox website with comprehensive HR guidance please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Workbox helpline on 0800 230 0717. Confor members can benefit from 30 minutes of free advice through the legal helpline.
Key contacts: stay informed!
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Working Safely, Working Responsibly
Confor’s social media campaign featured workers across the wood supply chain, explaining why and how they kept working during Covid-19 and how they make sure they comply with latest health guidance
Watch them all here