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Safety and Best Practices for a Tree Surgeon

The Importance of Trees

Trees and plants are an integral part of the planet we live in. With the movement of time, the presence of trees and plants is becoming a problem in urbanisation and industrialisation. To continue the legacy of our greens and help us benefit from them, arborists or tree surgeons play an important role in our communities.

An arborist is a professional individual with years of practice in arboriculture, which spans works on management, cultivation, and study of trees, shrubs, vines, and woody plants. This has nothing to be confused with a logger or a forester, but an arborist focuses on the management of health and safety of trees and plants.

It is the job of tree surgeons in Alpine Tree Surgeons to ensure that all aspects of landscaping and tree management are well sought and carefully carried out. They provide 24-hour emergency call out service in the areas of Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex, and recently, Guildford.

What entails good practice in tree maintenance

Tree maintenance is a crucial job, and it should only be executed by qualified teams with proper equipment and extensive experience. Sometimes, the job entails risking the lives of tree climbers. That is why in this industry, a certificate of competence is required for arborists before they can perform tree operations. Imagine how tall trees are, and most of the time, arborists deal with extremely tall trees that involve expert climbing and cutting. The courage that comes along with knowledge and expertise in engaging in this kind of job is worth the praise. A team of highly qualified tree surgeons, with their skills in using high-powered tools and equipment, could only be the one who can carry out the procedures of such a dangerous job.

In the UK, arborists gain qualification through formal education.  Besides a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, further education in arboriculture can be pursued.

With the wide scope of responsibilities and activities of arborists, there is no single and specific health and safety guideline available but directions and topics of discussion to observe good practice. For example, tree felling involves working with heights, encountering electrical posts and lines, hazards from using a chain saw and other high-powered tools, and using cranes. Arborists should also skilled and knowledgeable in trimming and pruning, which may involve pest removal, fencing, bracing, etc.

The list below includes some of the areas every individual working in arboriculture should take into consideration when looking for guidelines for their specific scope of work.

  1. Tree climbing—It takes a lot of skills to climb a tree. Arborists who climb high on large and tall trees need to be equipped with chainsaws and climbing gears when the job requires cleaning up brought by storm or any natural disaster.
  2. Using climbing spurs/spikes—Spurs and spikes are a great stepping platform to ascend a tree. Spurs are dug on the bark of a tree and using these as leverage for the body to lean back and hold it in place using a lanyard. Digging spurs on the bark may damage a tree unless the purpose is to cut it down.
  3. Rope throwing bundle—Use a carabiner and a rope to support your weight when climbing up or down. Make sure the rope or lanyard is securely fastened on ends and can safely pull you up or down the ground.
  4. Working with heights—Like mountaineers and hikers, arborists should never be afraid of heights. The highest tree can stand as high as a multiple-story building. Felling a tree that stands more than a hundred feet requires skill and special techniques to keep the surrounding area safe, including the arborist himself. If you have trees within your property, you still need to secure permission to prune or fell a tree, especially when it is covered by certain regulation on tree preservation.
  5. Ground works—Arborists should have a great deal of understanding how to care for trees in terms of pruning, insect control, and fertilisation. This is essential before they can make recommendations on the health condition of the tree or if it is needed to cut it down.
  6. Machine operation—When working with trees, arborists should have the expertise to operate machines.

Tree management and tree surgeons should look at the following qualifications when they employ arborists:

  • Highly critical in identifying potentially hazardous trees
  • Can repair, remove, prune, or apply fertilisers on declining trees or any wooden plant
  • Can operate equipment used in aerial operations
  • Can do landscaping jobs and groundworks, such as soil modification using specialised tools and equipment
  • Can perform periodical inspection

As described, tree surgeons have one of the most dangerous roles in our community. Arborists can be injured while at work. What are these dangers? Are they life threatening?

To ensure the safety of their community and to serve homes and business areas, tree surgeons also seek for their own safety; the reason why they need to comply with national safety guidelines for a mutual benefit.

Arborists can experience the following:

  • Falling from trees, ladders, or any elevated equipment
  • Struck by bark parts or cutting tools
  • Insect bites
  • Electrocution from cable wires
  • Poisoning from harmful chemicals
  • Accidents from natural disasters (wind, snow, storm)

The next time you are in search of reliable arborists, Alpine Tree Surgeons have the complete men skilled in all aspects of tree care. Visit our website and know more about our services. Wherever area you might be in the UK, we are there to serve.