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Why Tree Surgery is so Dangerous


From the Health and Safety Executive: “During the last 10 years 24 tree surgeons/arborists have been killed during tree work and nearly 1,400 have suffered an injury.”

Tree surgery is one of the most dangerous jobs out there. It can be difficult to appreciate the dangers that come with the job without seeing what can go wrong first hand, but let us assure you, it can be incredibly bad! Trees are just inanimate objects though! Yes, but they’re heavy, cumbersome, often situated above where people walk and require skill and training to deal with. If you’ve got an overgrown tree that needs setting back or cutting down entirely, please don’t do anything with it without consulting a trained, professional tree surgeon in Cambridge. Here is why tree surgery is such a dangerous job.

Working at height
No matter what the job, whether it’s roofing, cleaning the top diving board at a pool or cutting down tree branches, working at height always carries risk. It only takes a few metres before a heavy or awkward landing can cause serious damage, and even if all the correct safety protocols are followed, slips, trips and falls can still happen. Humans simply aren’t designed like cats. For the most part we’re designed to be firmly planted on the ground. Let’s say tree branches need to be cut back as they’re growing towards your windows, or towards power lines. That means the tree surgeon has to climb the tree with his chainsaw attached to him via a rope or carabiner and create a makeshift platform where he won’t slip. There is a lot that can wrong in this scenario which is why it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

When a branch suddenly gives way, you have to be able to anticipate where it will fall. The branch can swing into you, for example, which risks injury or upsetting your balance. Also, in the case of very heavy branches, a sudden detachment can completely alter the balance of the tree, leading it to swing. If you’re not prepared for this, the outcome can be very unpleasant!

Working on the ground
Yes, working on the ground is a risk for a tree surgeon too. The entire job is a risk! It won’t always be the case that you are required to scale a tree to get to branches. If a tree is particularly old, branches can begin to fall off on their own accord, especially in high winds. Then, it may simply be safer for those who live near the tree to have it cut down entirely. This is a real skill and something that, if it goes wrong, can cause far more damage than if the tree had been left. When you need a tree to fall down, it is usually in a certain direction, away from a house or building and importantly, away from where you’re standing! It only takes a quick youtube search to see what can go wrong when the job isn’t done correctly. Don’t take any chances and let a professional remove your tree safely and deliberately.

Chainsaws
Power tools of all kinds are dangerous to use. Chainsaws have a long blade which means you’re particularly exposed compared with something like a drill or smaller tool. As with any power tool, you should only use one if you’ve been trained in the safe operation, and you know what contingency to follow should something go wrong. When working at height, you need to bring your chainsaw with you, hence having it attached to you. If you slip, that’s suddenly a live chainsaw that’s still attached to you! Modern chainsaws do have brakes that slow the blade down fast when the controls are released, but of course it isn’t instantaneous. Ideally you should have a top handled chainsaw that requires two handed use for stability, and only in exceptional circumstances should they be used with one hand.

Working alone
Lastly, often tree surgeons work alone. Risks always need to be controlled for a lone worker, such that they aren’t left in a difficult situation. Tree surgeons working alone need to maintain regular contact with others nearby when they’re on a lone job, to ensure that if something does go wrong, help can reach them as quickly as possible.

In summary, don’t take any chances! Contact a professional to make sure you don’t take unnecessary risk to yourself or your family. Tree surgeons are trained professionals, so you don’t have to take those chances. Thank you for reading!

For a full breakdown of health and safety advice for tree surgeons, check out the Health & Safety Executive for more info.

Until next time,
TH Tree Surgery


TH Tree Surgery

Sycamore Cottage,
40 Mildenhall Road,
Fordham,
Cambridgeshire,
CB7 5NR