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Initial Notification of Arboriculture Fatality

As a member of the HSE’s Arboriculture and Forestry Advisory Group (AFAG), we regret to inform members of another fatality in the sector. The incident, which took place in Devon in late June 2022, involved an arborist who was killed when he became trapped under a tree.

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. Look out for dead wood, insecure/unstable branches and broken tops in the tree to be cut, and in adjacent trees
  4. During felling, keep other people more than two tree lengths away
  5. Keep the escape route and work area clear of obstructions
  6. Emergency arrangements should include first aid provision and ability to quickly contact emergency services.


Further guidance can be found from the HSE Tree work health & safety website and the Forestry Industry Safety Accord (FISA).

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