Management of Risk in Arboriculture
Work on trees involves risk, and it is vital for those who work in the area to understand all the regulations around working at height, with chainsaws and other large machinery, and to be compliant with all relevant legislation.
Risks include falling branches, falling trees, falls from a height, using dangerous equipment, inadequate PPE, failure of PPE, slips, trips, sawdust and eye injuries, burns from machinery or friction from ropes.
Arborists generally deal with the management of trees in urban or suburban settings, differing from ‘foresters’ or ‘loggers’ although there are some similarities. In these settings, it is often care management of trees, and maintaining their health and maintaining the surrounding environment, that is of importance rather than harvesting a crop from trees.
Much of the working day at Edinburgh Tree Surgeons involves the management of risk, from initial assessment to complex risk assessments and working as a team. All of our staff are working on the same page to keep ourselves, the public and the places we work as safe as we can.
Our Legal Obligations
Employers have legal duties to ensure all staff are fully trained and that the working area is safe. Height work needs to be properly planned and risk assessed, undertaken by competent people with regular inspections of equipment. Before undertaking work at height or work by rope access hazards must be identified and risks evaluated and mitigated where possible. Chainsaws can cause fatal injuries and this risk needs to be mitigated by appropriate training and CPD and all necessary PPE available in good condition.
Groundworkers and bankspersons must be in place for aerial tree work to support the climber, to control ropes and prevent public access and restrict vehicle access into the drop zone. There also must be a competent person available to perform an aerial rescue operation if required. Groundworkers must be constantly vigilant, anticipate the needs of the climber and keep the ground clean and clear, with ropes in safe positions.
Risk of damage to property must also be assessed, as well as the location of any power lines. Damaging power lines can cause death and serious injury, so their location must be determined before work starts. These can be overhead or also buried underground when undertaking digging or stump grinding works.