Assessing the risks and putting health and safety first

We regret to say that we have been notified of another fatality in our sector. After felling a tree in Kent earlier this month, a worker was crushed and killed, with the circumstances being investigated further.

Please see this notice from HSE regarding the recent incident.

The number of fatalities in the last year is higher than ever before, almost one each month, and statistics suggest that forestry and arboriculture are more dangerous than construction. One of our roles as a member of the HSE’s Arboriculture and Forestry Advisory Group (AFAG), is to raise awareness of the risks in our industry and to promote key health and safety messages to our members.

It is ever more important to raise and maintain high standards. Health and safety is a key part of the work we’re doing to raise awareness of the skills crisis in our sector.


Being struck by a tree, or branches, during felling or other tree work is a significant cause of death and major injury in forestry, arboriculture, and other land-based industries. Tree work is common, and the risks need to be managed.

  1. Anyone involved in tree work, including felling, must be trained and competent for the task being done. Keep other people well away from work areas.
  2. Tree work must be planned and supervised. Check trees for signs of decay and other factors that may affect felling or the work to be done. Where necessary set up exclusion zones.
  3. Select suitable equipment. Mechanised means of felling, e.g. harvesters, grapple saws and tree shears, should be considered and used where appropriate.
  4. Look out for dead wood, insecure/unstable branches, and broken tops in the tree to be cut, and in adjacent trees.
  5. During felling, keep other people more than two tree lengths away.
  6. Keep the escape route and work area, clear of obstructions.
  7. Emergency arrangements should include first aid provision and ability to quickly contact emergency services.


For health and safety advice, please visit the following websites:

Latest news