AA Practice Notes abuse adaptive growth approved contractor ARB Approved Contractor Arboricultural Association Arborist Arborists ash dieback Asian assessment Atypical Myopathy bad arborist bat conservation trust bats become an approved contractor benefit benefits Benefits of Trees beware Biosecurity bird nesting season birds bleeding blocked drain blog boundary bracing branches british bats BS5837 building callus careers cavity certification CHIP clear Climbing code of ethics code of practice colleges common law communication complain complaints conservation conservation areas construction consultant Contractor conversion Convictions coppicing Coronavirus CoSHH council council land court COVID-19 crown crown lifting crown raising crown reduction crown thinning danger of felling dangerous dangers deadwood defamation definitions diagnostic service dieback directive directory discrimination disease dispute Distance driveway duty of care ear defenders ecologist education ethics european habitats directive felling licences Finance fines forum fruit trees fungus glossary good arborist good climbing practice ground nesting birds guidance Guides habitat hammering harassment harmful hazardous substances health health & safety health and safety heavy clay hedge height helliwell help and advice help for arborists HMRC hollow tree Hornet horses HSE initials injury Insects intrusive i-Tree ivy land registry legal requirements legislation lifting equipment light light loss local councils local planning authority LOLER lopping loss maternity minimum recommended distance mobile phone monetary value music nail neighbour nesting nesting birds directive noise at work Oak Processionary Moth OPM penalty permission personal protective equipment pests Pests and Diseases phone usage phones up trees planning consent planning system point value policies post nominals PPE problem tree professional conduct property protection proximity pruning qualifications radio reasonable care registered consultant regulations restrictive covenants risk assessment risk to health road management roost roots Rope Royal Veterinary College safe safety schedule 5 schedule 6 Security site clearance sites of special scientific interest smothering Specialists study subsidence sycamore Talking Trees TDAG Technical Technique terminology The British Horse Society time of year tool box talk topping tpo traffic management training Tree Tree Advice Trust Tree Aftercare tree assessment tree consultant Tree Establishment Tree Health tree management tree officer tree ownership Tree Planting tree preservation order tree roots Tree Species Selection Tree Specifiers tree surgeon tree valuation Tree Watering trees trees causing cracks trolling Two Rope unsafe Urban Urban Trees verbal abuse VETcert vibration levels victimisation videos Water Management Watering wildlife wildlife and countryside act Women In Arboriculture working at height working equipment


View the Introductory Guide to Young Tree Establishment Sieries

What are my legal requirements for Health and Safety?

 25/11/2015    Last Modified: 04/02/2016

Legal requirements:

  1. Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HaSWA or ‘the Act’) Section 2(3) requires all organisations etc. to have a policy for managing health and safety. Where 5 or more people are employed the policy should be written down*.
  2. Management of Health and Safety at Work Regs. 1999 (MHSWR or ‘the Management Regs’) Regulation 5 requires organisations to ensure they have appropriate ‘arrangements’ for health and safety.

*It is recommended that all companies operating in an inherently high risk industry such as tree surgery have a written health and safety policy to protect all concerned (see pro forma policy framework in HSE INDG 259)

What does a Health and Safety Policy do?

Your policy sets out clearly how you will manage health and safety. It clearly sates who has responsibility for areas of company responsibility and sets out the general arrangements that apply to the company.

What does it not do?

A safety policy is not a list of detailed specific operations, e.g. this is how we use the chipper, this is how we fell a tree. The written document cannot replace a safety culture but can go towards fostering such a culture and demonstrating the organisation’s commitment to the health and safety of its workers.


A health and safety policy is generally split into three distinct parts:

  • General Statement of Policy = WHAT you are seeking to achieve, and WHY
  • Organisation = WHO is responsible for doing what
  • Arrangements = HOW will this be achieved

The policy should be signed and dated by the owner, managing director, chair of the board any other appropriate person. The policy should be distributed to all employees.

General Statement of Policy

This is the declaration of the employer’s intentions. It should contain commitments to ensure the health and safety of all employees and reflect the requirements of the legislation. It should be displayed for staff to see.


This should reflect the overall structure of the company. General responsibilities for health and safety should be allocated to relevant managers and others who have been given specific responsibilities for aspects of health and safety management. The larger the organisation the more complex this chart can become. It is essential that those responsible know their roles in order to prevent overlap or omission.


These should reflect individual areas of health and safety legislation or requirements, refer to the relevant legislation and provide broad information about how the company will meet its obligations. It is likely that these arrangements will be split into broad headings such as LOLER, Risk Assessment, First Aid and Accident Reporting, Training and Competency, Work at Height etc.

Monitoring and Review

The health and safety policy should be monitored for effectiveness and reviewed regularly to ensure that it is still applicable to the organisation’s structure, scope of operations and in light of any accident or incident reported to or by the organisation.

Further information:

● AA Health and Safety Package – AA <Link to Book Shop>

● INDG 259 An introduction to health and safety – HSE publications

Remember also you have a legal duty to display the mandatory Health and Safety poster, setting out the key employer’s and employees’ duties under H&S, in the workplace OR provide employees with a leaflet explaining the same.

health & safety, legal requirements, policies