Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

Share this story


#ARBatwork #ArbMatters #PledgeLessPlastic & 12 Faces of Arb 1987 storm 2 Rope 2018 30 Under 30 3ATC 3ATC UK Open 50th annual AA AA award AA Awards Aboricultural Association Accident accreditation advice AFL aftercare AGM Agrilus Biguttatus aid air quality Alert Alex Kirkley All Party Parliamentary Group on Horticulture amenity Amenity Conference Anatomy Ancient Tree Forum Annual Awards APF APF 2020 app APPGHG application Appointment apprentice apprenticeship Apprenticeships Approved Approved Contractor Approved Contractors ARB ARB Approved Contractor ARB Approved Contractors ARB at work ARB Magazine ARB Show arb training ArbAC ARBatwork ArbCamp Arbor Day Arboricultural Association Arboriculture arborists Arbsafe Ash Ash Archive ash dieback Asian Hornet Assessments atf ATO Australia Autumn Review award Awards Barcham Trees Bark Beetle Bartlett Bartlett Tree Experts bats beetle beyond ism Bill Matthews biochar biodiversity biomechanical biosecurity Book Prize Book Shop Books Bookshop boundaries branch Branches brand Brexit bs5837 Budgeting Tool bursary business Call for Abrstacts Call for papers Campout Canker stain of plane carbon career Cavanagh CCS Cellular Confinement Cellular Confinement Systems CEnv CEO Ceratocystis Ceratocystis platani chainsaw chalara charity Charles charter Charter for Trees Chartered Environmentalist chelsea Chelsea Flower Show Claus Mattheck climate climate change climber climbing Cofor Colleges committees competition competiton conference Confor conifers conservation Consultant consultation Continuous Professional Development Contractor Contractors Cornwall Cornwall Branch Coronavirus Coroner Council Countryside Countryside Code Countryside Stewardship Course for beginners COVID-19 CPD cross industry news Crown & Canopy Cryphonectria parasitica Cumbria DART Date for your diary deadwood death debate Debt defra Design Devon Director disease diversity document donate dothistroma downloads draft Dutch elm EAC East Anglia ecology Economic Report economy Ecotricity education EFUF Election elections Electricity Elm yellows Emerald Ash Borer England England Tree Strategy English Elm environment environmental EPF equipment Europe European Arboricultural Council European Forum on Urban Forestry European Wood Pastures Event exeter Exhibitors Fall from Height Fatal Fatality felling Fellow Fellow Members Fera Field Trip Finance Fine firewood First Aid flood flooding for Forest Research forestry Forestry Commission forests freelancers FSC Fund4Trees funding fundraiser fungal fungi Future Flora Futurebuild gardening GDPR Geocells Gold Medal Gov.uk government grant grants Green Brexit Green Infrastructure Green Infratructure Guarantee guidance Guidance Note Guidance Note 2 guide guides Hazard Tree Health heart-rot hedges Helliwell Help Henry Girling Henry Kuppen History HMRC HOMED Homeworking Honey Brothers honours Horse Chestnut HortAid horticulture horticulturists HortWeek housing HRH HRH Prince Charles HS2 HSE HTA ICF ICoP identification Immigration import industry Industry Code of Practice industry skills Infographic InfraGreen Initiatives Inspiration Insurance Intermediate Tree Inspection International Urban Forestry Congress International Women’s Day International Year of Plant Health Investigating Tree Archaeology Conference Ips typographus Irma irrigation ISA iso i-Tree IUFC IWD21 Job job opportunity judgement JustGiving Karabiner Kew Kit land-based Landsaping Landscape Institute Landscape Show landscaping Lantra law Leaf Minor Lectures legal legislation Letters Liability licence London longevity LTOA Magazine manifesto maple Mayor of London MBE Melbourne Member Benefit Membership mentor Midlands moth' motion Myerscough NASA National Geographic National Tree Safety Group National Tree Week NATO Natural England NatureScot Netherlands New Year’s Honours News NHS nominations Northern Northumberland Notice notification NTIS NTOA NTOC NTSG Nurseries oak 'oak Oak Processionary Moth Oak-boring Beetle obituary Observatree occupation online opm Padua Papua parks parliament Perennial Pests & Diseases Pests and Diseases petition photo Phytophthora planning Planning Law Plant Health planting Plantsman Pledge Plumpton College policy poll Poster Power PPE Preston Twins Prince Charles Prince of Wales processionary Product Recall Professional Members prosecution Protect and Survive protected tree protection Qualifications Quotatis ramorum RC Reg Harris Registered Registered Consultant Registered Consultants Rememberance Day renewal REnvP Report Rescue research Research grant Resilience response results retrenchment review RFS rhs RHS Chelsea Flower Show Ride for Research Ride4Research rigging Rodney Helliwell rogue tree surgeons Royal Forestry Society RSFS Safe Working Practice Safety Safety Bulletin Safety Guides Saftey Sale school Scotland Scotland Branch Scottish Branch SDG Accord security seminars Share Sheffield Show Sierra Leone Site Guidance skills skills survey SocEnv soil soils South East South West SRT SRWP staff Standards statement Stationary Rope Stationary Rope Technique statutory STIHL strategy student Student Book Prize Student Conference Study Trip Sub-contractors Supporter survey Sustainable Soils Alliance Sweet Chestnut sweet chestnut blight symposium T Level T Levels Tatarian maple TDAG technical guide Technical Guides Technical Officers Technical Team Technician Members Technology Ted Green tender Thames & Chiltern The Arboricultural Association The Woodland Trust Thinking Arbs Thinking Arbs Day Timbersports Tony Kirkham Tools top-handled chainsaws,Elcoat, TPBE4 TPO Trading Standards trailblazer training transport Tree Tree Care Tree Champion Tree Council Tree Fayre Tree Health Tree Health Week Tree Inspection tree loss tree management Tree of the year Tree Officer Tree officers tree planning Tree Planting Tree Protection tree register tree species Tree Supply Tree Surgeon Tree Surgeons Tree Week Tree Work at Height Tree Workers Zone Treeconomics tree-felling TreeRadar trees trees' Trees & Society Trees, People and the Built Environment trust' trustee Trustees TrustMark Two Rope two-rope UAG Uitlity UK favourite ukas UKWAS urban urban forest Urban Forestry Urban Tree Challenge Fund Urban Tree Cover Urban Tree World Cup urban trees Utility Arboriculture Group UTWC vacancy VETcert veteran trees video Videos Virtual ARB Show volunteer voting VTA WAC Wales Warning Watering watering solutions Webinar webinars website Western Westonbirt Wharton White Paper WIA Witley Women Women in Arb women in arboriculture woodland Woodland Carbon Code Woodland Carbon Guarantee woodland trust woods Workshops World Environment Day Xylella young young arborists Young People’s Breakfast Event zoo

Working to prevent accidents

Author:  Arboricultural Association
Last Updated:  06/03/2019

Simon Richmond, AA Senior Technical Officer

Many will remember the shocking news of the death of Alexander Kirkley early in 2016. Below Alex’s mother Janet describes how his family have been working to increase awareness and search for opportunities to improve safety for working arborists.

During the same period the Arboriculture and Forestry Advisory Group (AFAG) has also been exploring different options, including a research project to investigate the viability of chainsaw PPE for neck protection (concluding that the increase in heat stress, coupled with efficacy and other issues, would not bring a significant decrease in risk). At its most recent meeting in November, a new AFAG working group was established to work specifically on improving the competence of chainsaw operators undertaking ground-based and aerial tree work. One of the initiatives of this group is to explore the opportunities for insurance brokers serving the arb industry to collaborate and agree set standards for anyone carrying our tree work. There will be more information on this project in future issues of the ARB Magazine.

Janet Kirkley

As a family we decided that given the circumstances surrounding Alexander’s death we would work with the Arboricultural Association to try to reduce the number of avoidable accidents in that line of work.

The huge publicity after Alexander’s inquest took us by surprise but we very quickly realised that this could be used as a force for good. If people realised how dangerous the work was, surely it would concentrate their minds to think about what improvements could be made to make the job safer.

Alexander’s accident drew attention to what poor working methods looked like in the real world. Alexander himself was well trained, used the right protective clothing and equipment. He was an experienced climber who was very safety conscious.

Unfortunately the same could not be said for the contractor who was supervising the work. He was a one-man microbusiness who bought in arborists when the job required and paid them on a daily basis. This meant that the three men working that day did not really know each other and all of the basic written records were not kept. There was no information on Alexander’s health, medical status or personal details. The address of where the men were working was not recorded.

There is a simple way to stop this happening in future. If every arborist carried their personal and medical histories with them in a place that made them easy to find then the emergency services could give lifesaving care more effectively.

By putting several minds together we came up with the idea of attaching a pocket to the back of every climber’s helmet with that important information in it. The Arboricultural Association is hoping to make these pockets available at the ARB Show at Westonbirt in May 2019.

As well as this, AA CEO Stewart Wardrop and I met with Peter Aldous, my MP, in Portcullis House in Westminster at the beginning of December 2018. Peter’s constituency covers a rural farming area where the use of chainsaws is very common. He lives on a farm himself with an area of woodland where he uses a chainsaw. He is therefore very sympathetic to our aims.

As part of our discussion we thought it would be useful to talk to insurance companies about checking some documents before issuing insurance. This discussion is still in the early stages and may not bear fruit but it is definitely something worth considering.

In the future I would like to look at first aid kits and the things they contain. There is now a coagulant on the market which was developed by the Americans to use on the battlefield. The coagulant comes as a powder or can be bought as bandages. It lasts three years and can stop bleeding extremely quickly. If I was an arborist I would definitely make something like this part of the personal equipment that I carried around with me just in case the worst happened.

Article taken from The ARB Magazine Issue 184 Spring 2019. As a member you can view The ARB Magazine online, simply Log In and view the 'ARB Magazine' tab in your Account Area.