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Initial tree felling fatality notification

We regret to tell you of another fatality in the forestry and arboriculture sector in mid March. A worker in North East England was struck by a tree and killed when felling a tree with a chainsaw.

There are significant risks in our sector that all members must be both aware of and appropriately trained to avoid. 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.

Please remember:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mechanised means of felling such as use of grapple saws, tree shears and harvesters are preferred to using chainsaws.
  • During felling, keep other people more than two tree lengths away.
  • Keep the escape route, and work area, clear of obstructions.
  • Emergency arrangements should include first aid provision and ability to quickly contact emergency services.


Stay up-to-date on the latest guidance on the HSE Tree work health & safety website, the Arboriculture Association website, and the Forestry Industry Safety Accord (FISA) website, specifically the FISA 301 Chainsaw use and FISA 302 Chainsaw felling guides.

Take care.

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