Risk Control Methods
There are several control methods which can be used to reduce the risk:
- Modify usage of the site by re-routing paths and walkways or moving car parks or recreational facilities.
- Tree surgery i.e. pruning off dangerous branches or reducing the end weight of heavy limbs which may be posing a risk to site users.
- Bracing or propping of the tree.
- Felling of the tree(s).
However the most appropriate control method will depend upon a number of factors regarding both the tree i.e. is it a historical tree, is it a commemorative tree, as well as who planted it as well as the sites usage etc. If the tree is no of great value then felling may be the suitable option, however if on the other hand it is of great value i.e. a specimen tree, one of historical significance or part of a wildlife habitat then re-routing of adjacent footpaths and other structures may be the most suitable approach.
It is worth noting that it is possible to reduce the development of hazardous situations through preventive measures such as the staking of young trees and formative pruning of young trees to avoid hazardous situations later in their life such as weak unions and crotches. When trees have not been formatively pruned in their early years hazardous situations may arise later on in their life cycle.
It is worth noting that under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act1974 that all occupiers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of those not in their employment. “Occupier” is generally taken to mean any person occupying or having control of premises, in this case land with trees on it.
There are clear responsibilities to assess risks that arise from trees and take suitable and sufficient steps to control such risks.
In addition, occupiers have duties under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984 which states the occupier owes a “common law duty of care” to visitors and those who enter his or her land or premises and the duty of care extends to trespassers.
Key actions and Steps
If you are in charge of land which contains trees then you should:
- Contact Stan Timmins and Sons Ltd either by calling us on 07966 207280 / 0191 406 5386 or emailing [email protected]
- We will work with you to carry out an initial inspection of all your trees and identify those which present the greatest risks.
- Take any remedial actions to rectify the situation
- Set up a regular programme of inspections to ensure your tree stock is safe for site users.