Health and Safety in Relation to Tree Work Within the UK

Health and Safety in Relation to Tree Work Within the UK 

Growing, caring for, and learning about trees and other woody plants are all part of the profession known as arboriculture. Public parks, individual residences, and business ventures employ arborists. Because you must frequently operate at heights and use specialised equipment like chainsaws and woodchippers, this profession is physically demanding.

As a result, arborists encounter a variety of health and safety risks at work, including falling, coming into contact with dangerous chemicals, and getting hurt by tools. To safeguard the security of arboriculture employees, rules and regulations have been enacted in the United Kingdom. The Work at Height Regulations of 2005 is among the most significant.

These regulations require that every work performed at a height be carefully planned, overseen, and carried out by trained personnel. Utilising the appropriate tools, such as ladders, scaffolding, and individual fall protection systems like harnesses and safety ropes is part of this. Under regulations, employers must also undertake risk analyses and offer their staff the proper instruction and training.

Every day, whether trimming or felling trees, arborists operate at heights. One of the riskiest parts of an arborist’s profession is working at a height where falls can cause severe injuries or even death. Therefore, arborists must take safety precautions and abide by the laws to protect themselves.


Health and Safety in Relation to Tree Work Within the UK: Regulations

Any work done at a height must be planned, supervised, and carried out by qualified persons, per the Work at Height Regulations of 2005. To identify the risks and dangers of the job, the manager must do a risk assessment. Then, the employer must take action to manage and lessen the risks, such as giving the employee the required equipment and training and supervising the work to ensure it is completed safely.

Arborists must utilise the right equipment to protect their safety when working at heights. Examples of this equipment include ladders, scaffolding, and personal fall protection systems like safety ropes and harnesses. Employers must give employees the proper tools and ensure they are operating well. They must also ensure that employees know how to utilise the equipment correctly and how crucial it is. Along with having the right equipment, arborists must be mindful of how vital it is to keep their balance and body position while working at height.

Maintaining your centre of gravity over the base of support and avoiding quick movements that could knock you off balance is necessary. Arborists must also be cautious of the risks associated with fatigue and dehydration, which can impair their ability to stay balanced and respond swiftly. Working with hazardous chemicals, including fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides, may be necessary for arborists. Who is in charge of controlling and limiting exposure to harmful chemicals and other compounds is specified in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations of 2002.


Tree Surgery Tools & Equipment

Arborists must have the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE), such as gloves, goggles, and respirators, and be familiar with and use hazardous products. Employers must conduct risk analyses and implement control and exposure measures to safeguard employees when handling hazardous products. Some ways to do this include using less dangerous chemicals, teaching workers how to handle and store them, and ensuring they wear the appropriate PPE. Another significant risk in arboriculture is the usage of equipment and tools. Chainsaws, woodchippers, stump grinders, and raised platforms are just a few of the tools that arborists employ. The 1998 Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations mandate that all arboriculture equipment be secure, adequately cared for, and subject to routine inspection.

Employers are responsible for ensuring staff members have the necessary training and can operate machinery safely. Additionally, when using tools and equipment, arborists risk being stuck, getting crushed, or having a limb amputated. Workers must be given the proper PPE, such as safety boots, gloves, and protective clothes. Employers must also ensure that equipment is secure and that staff members know how to utilise guards and other safety equipment.

Employers and employees in the arboriculture industry can take additional actions to safeguard the health and safety of their personnel in addition to the norms and regulations mentioned above. These are what they are: To guarantee that they are up to date on the most current safety rules and procedures, workers get frequent training and refresher courses.

Machinery and equipment are frequently inspected to ensure they are functioning and defect-free. Regular health examinations are established to identify conditions that could endanger a worker’s ability to do their job safely. To ensure all safety precautions are implemented, and no stages are neglected, checklists and procedures are employed. The development of an emergency response strategy guarantees that staff members are ready to act speedily and efficiently in the event of an accident or other disaster.


Hazardous Substances

The most crucial factor in arboriculture is worker health and safety. On the job, arborists are exposed to various risks, including falling, coming into contact with dangerous materials, and getting hurt by equipment and instruments. Several laws and standards, such as the Work at Height Regulations of 2005, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations of 2002, and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998, have been put in place to ensure their safety.

In addition to these regulations, companies and workers can take a number of other actions to guarantee the health and safety of their workforce, such as routine training, equipment inspections, health checks, checklists and procedures, and emergency response plans. By carrying out these actions, we may contribute to ensuring that arborists can perform their crucial tasks securely and efficiently.


Article was written by Peter Arnold.

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