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Written by
on 06 February 2014


tree surgeryTree Surgery Injuries a cause for major concern

In a previous blog post I have mentioned my concern, shared with many within the health and safety industry, that the number of injuries and fatalities which occur within the construction industry is far too high. However, there is another industry in which the proportion of injuries outranks the construction industry. The good news is that the HSE is doing something about it very soon.

It"s understandable perhaps that within the construction industries there are several thousand injuries every year. Fortunately not all of them are serious, and a much smaller number are fatal, although that"s of little comfort if you happen to be affected in any way. Yet the arboricultural industry (tree surgery to you and me) experiences a much higher proportion of injuries, though this doesn"t always get recognised by everyone.

The Heightened Risks Of Tree Felling And Surgery

Those of us, certainly myself included, who spent much of our childhood climbing trees will know all too well how very easy it is to fall out of said trees. It hurts too. Spending much of your working life either stuck dozens of feet up in a tree, or slicing through thick branches with lethal chainsaws, or indeed doing both at the same time, inevitably means that accidents can happen. It also means that, sadly, when accidents do happen they tend to be pretty serious.

The arboricultural industry is not a large one, certainly in comparison to the construction industry, yet the percentage of people within the tree surgery industry who suffer serious injuries each year represents one of the highest there is across almost any industry.

This green and pleasant land certainly has its fair share of trees, and with so much of our urban environment snuggled up close to these trees it’s necessary to keep them in a safe condition. The strong winds we have experienced recently resulted in many weaker branches and trees crashing down, causing damage and injuries, and so very often we all rely on those in the arboricultural industry to put themselves in potential danger in order to keep trees safe and in a healthy condition, able to cope with strong winds and bad weather.

Safety Awareness Day For Arboricultural Industry

But there is good news, because this high risk industry is being recognised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) with its very own day.

On 18th March this year the HSE is holding an Arboricultural Contractors Safety and Health Awareness Day in Warwickshire. The aim of this day is to provide a number of presentations and practical demonstrations which will cover a wide range of topics, including Health and Safety Regulations, training, certification and the safe use of chainsaws. It is hoped that this day will provide a great opportunity to gain practical help and advice from industry experts, as well as the chance to raise questions.

If you"re interested in finding out more about this awareness day then you can contact the organisers by emailing them at [email protected]. The venue is Lantra House, Stonleigh Park, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG and the date is 18th March 2014.

Forest Commission Presents Safety Training Days

Developed in partnership with the Forestry Commission"s Learning and Development team there is another half day event in Staffordshire on 18th March, repeated on 25th March in Lochaber, Scotland. During this day trainers with years of experience working within the forestry industry will be covering a range of topics, including the safe use of forestry machinery, chainsaws, directional felling and public access issues.

The scenarios they will be covering include many which have seen real accidents and injuries over the years. If you would like more information on these two half days then contact [email protected].

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.