The Importance of Safety Awareness in the Tree Care Industry

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Tree risk assessment

Health and Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility

To say the tree industry is dangerous would be an understatement.  The risks to arborists are enormous if proper attention and respect is not paid to workplace health and safety.  The responsibility of safe practice is everyone’s- Manufacturers, Company Directors, Managers, Arborists, Groundies, Apprentices – working together all risks must be assessed and negated. It is also the responsibility of the public to make sure they hire fully insured, qualified, and trained in health and safety contractors to carry out their tree work.  According to Aboriculture Australia the non- regulation of the industry is a “national issue with inexpert loppers and toppers cutting and removing healthy and valuable trees, and inexperienced unqualified ‘consultants’ giving poor advice.”

Contracting Unqualified Tree Loppers is False Economy

Using unqualified and uninsured ‘tree loppers’ who offer cheap and often shoddy service is detrimental to the industry and compromises everyone’s safety.  Arboricultural companies who make sure their staff are fully trained and qualified; that work is completed to Australian Standards; all health and safety guidelines are followed; possess Public Liability Insurance and have modern, well-maintained equipment are regularly being undercut by ‘tree loppers’ with a truck and chainsaw and who do not have the same expensive overheads.  Does this mean that in order to be competitive, Arboricultural companies need to make cuts perhaps compromising on training and safety?

Safe site tree work

Industry Regulation Promotes Safety and Quality Assurance

Fortunately, the process of regulating the arboricultural industry is underway.  This will make it more difficult for unqualified loppers to operate as an industry recognised Arborist Licence will be required.  The licence will indicate that the Arborist must have:

  • An Australian Arboricultural Qualification AQF
  • Current Construction Induction Card
  • Adhere to the Licence Code of Ethics
  • Qualification to work above ground either in an EWP or as a Tree Climber

If the Arborist is found to be operating in breach of their qualifications, safety regulations or code of ethics then their licence will be cancelled.

 

Managing Risks to Safety

Safework Australia has produced a Guide to Managing Risks of Tree Trimming and Removal Work which gives a comprehensive guide to managing risks of all aspects of tree care and machinery used in tree work.  This user-friendly guide is great as a refresher and a must read for any Arboricultural company and its employees.

One of the major difficulties about safety in this industry is that workers need to be constantly vigilant of their own and of others’ safety, both co- workers and members of the public. From the beginning of the work day, they are operating large machinery; they need to be alert, well rested and cautious. Throughout the day they are in custody of many kinds of dangerous equipment and vehicles- saws; wood chippers; chainsaws; knives; EWP’s; Nifty’s to name just a few.  It is imperative that they are aware of the huge responsibility to keep themselves and others safe.

 

Tree-pruning safety

 

There are many practical aspects to managing risks-

  • Understand and follow company Health and Safety policies.
  • Each crew member should be qualified to trade standard and experienced Arborists.
  • Make sure every member of the crew is trained in comprehensively trained in First Aid, CPR and Aerial Rescue.
  • Thoroughly check all equipment for flaws before leaving the depot.
  • Complete a thorough risk assessment on site.
  • Set up a restricted work area to reduce the risk of a member of the public entering a dangerous situation.
  • If possible, subsidise a hazard for a safer method i.e. using an EWP instead of climbing a tree.
  • Wear safety gear including eye wear, hearing protection, high-visibility clothing, hard hats and steel capped boots.
  • Have a work site communication system in place such as hand signals so the workers can communicate effectively over loud noise and from a distance.

Tree Experts

At Heritage Tree Care, safety will always be our number one priority. We welcome industry regulation and the introduction of an Arborist licence which will raise industry standards for everyone in both workmanship and health and safety.  If you would like to hire a tree care company which provides a quality and professional tree service, who understand the benefits of proper tree maintenance and have the best interests of the customer and the environment at heart, call the Heritage Tree Care experts on 0737155444 for a free no obligation quote.  Our qualified Arborists will be delighted to advise you on the best course of action for your trees.  We cover Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Redlands, Toowoomba and Gold Coast area in Queensland, Australia