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Please note that the health and safety requirements for any given operation will be heavily dependent on site conditions and the operation to be undertaken. This general advice is not intended to replace site specific expertise and should not be treated as such.

Some considerations are relevant to all operations to create a safe and efficient working environment:

  • thorough planning of the operation, including site organisation.
  • use of adequate and well-maintained equipment
  • training of operators so they are familiar with the machine in use, its safe operation and maintenance, best practice, and the personal protective equipment (PPE) required.

The main requirement of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 is that employers carry out risk assessments to assess possible risks and identify action to eliminate and control them, including but not exclusively:

  • Any hazards inherent to the site.
  • The suitability of the machine for the operation.
  • The safe, ongoing management of operators, workers, hauliers and the public who may approach sites.

Employers also need to:

  • Make arrangements for implementing the health and safety measures identified as necessary by the risk assessment.
  • Appoint competent people to help them to implement the arrangements.
  • Set up emergency procedures.
  • Provide clear information and training to employees.
  • Work together with other employers sharing the same workplace.

Further guidance and practical advice are available from the Tree Work pages of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website. A number of publications, including practical AFAG (Arboriculture and Forestry Advisory Group) guides, can be downloaded from the HSE Tree work – Free leaflets page.

For machinery related information, you can also obtain guidance from the equipment manufacturer, supplier, and agent.

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