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How to safely select the right Tree Surgeon?

 02/12/2015    Last Modified: 14/03/2016


There is no shortage of people and companies offering tree work services, but how do you choose between them? The Health and Safety Executive says,

“…clients engaging contractors to undertake tree work need to carefully check they have the necessary skill and competence. Tree work is hazardous; to be done safely it requires properly trained and experienced people… Arboricultural trade associations can supply details of approved contractors and information to help you choose a competent tree work contractor…”

It is equally important that advice given in respect to trees is correct and from reliable professionals. People and companies in this directory have satisfied the Arboricultural Association that they are competent to provide the consultancy and contractor services as described.

The new mark
ARB Approved Contractor Logo

Recognising an ARB Approved Contractor

A great way to recognise a competent Tree Surgeon is to look out for the ARB Approved Contractor Shield. The shield is relatively new and chances are your local Tress Surgeon may still be displaying the old logo. Indeed, just because you see the old logo it does not mean they are not approved, just go to our directory page to check out a Tree Surgeon to give you peace-of-mind. We only show Tree Surgeons who have been approved and who have been assessed.

The old mark
ARB Approved Contractor Logo


This is not a set-up but a real-life situation captured on camera. So what's wrong?

Beware where you are at risk with rogue tree surgeons



Number 1No head injury protection (helmet)

Number 2No eyesight protection

Number 3No hearing protection

Number 4No fall protection (platform, rope and harness etc.)

Number 5No cut protection (chainsaw resistant trousers and boots)


Number 6No head injury protection (helmet)

Number 7No protection from traffic (high visibility clothing, road signing and traffic management)


Number 8Pedestrians and residents at risk of being hit by timber

Number 9Vehicles at risk of being hit by timber


Number 10Damage to fencing and other garden features

Number 11Damage to street infrastructure

Number 12Damage to a valuable tree

You could be at risk if you employ a tree surgeon or tree advisor who works like this and causes harm, injury or loss to yourself or anyone else.


Spot the difference

Number 1No helmet 

Number 2No eye protection

Number 3No hearing protection

Number 4No fall protection

Number 5No cut protection

Number 6Outdated chainsaw

Number 1Industrial chainsaw helmet

Number 2Full-face visor including eye protection

Number 3Ear defenders for hearing protection

Number 4Rope and harness for fall protection

Number 5Chainsaw trousers / boots for cut protection

Number 6Modern chainsaw with safety features


By choosing tree surgeons from this directory you have the security of knowing that each person or company has passed the Arboricultural Association's rigorous and industry recognised standards of safety and tree care. All home/landowners have a responsibility* to engage competent people to work on their property. If you choose to use a contractor not listed in the directory the following checklist can help you establish the contractor's competence.

*Common law duty of care responsibilities and sometimes liabilities under the Occupiers' Liability Acts of 1957 & 1984.

bad arborist, beware, dangers, good arborist, safe