Tree Surgery is Dangerous

Let’s look into the inherent dangers of being a tree surgeon.
  • Date: 27 March 2020

…The health and safety executive said: “during the last 10 years, 24 tree surgeons or arborists have been killed during tree work and 1,400 have been injured.”

Being a tree surgeon is one of the most dangerous professions out there. Certainly of the trade businesses. It’s a much tougher go than being say, a carpenter. You might not think being a tree surgeon in Cambridge is particularly dangerous, but trust us, it really can be! Sure, you might think there’s nothing dangerous about trees. They just sit there! And when you think of trees, some long haired guy might pop into your brain…

However, trees are tall, heavy, near properties and where people are situated. This is why all tree surgeons and arborists are trained professionals. You can’t just start hacking the bottom of a tree away, or scaling a 30 foot tree on your first day, axe in hand.

Please stay away from DIY tree work. If you have a tree that needs removing or trimming, call in experts. Let’s now look into why there are so many fatalities in this profession and what makes it dangerous.

Operating from height

Working from high up always poses a risk. Gravity. And the hard floor below you. You don’t even have to be that high up to injure yourself, especially if you take an awkward fall and land on a limb or god forbid, your head. Even if you wear all the correct safety gear, take your time and act responsibly, accidents happen. Unfortunately, we don’t do well with slips and trips. We are meant to be based firmly on the ground with two feet. So when we slip and our backside is in the air, our two feet are out in front of us, it’s never going to be an ideal landing. We aren’t like birds with wings or cats with excellent reflexes, a tail and four legs.

For any kind of tree work, be it pollarding, trimming, reduction, your surgeon will have to climb the tree. This involves using cabling and bracing, attaching a chainsaw to yourself and getting up the tree. While up there, we have to create a steady base to work from. It’s usually improvised depending on the tree and setup we have at the time. If you tree and do this yourself, which you shouldn’t, you can see how many things can go wrong. The height is no joke. The chainsaw is no joke. The wind is no joe and so on.

Then there is cutting the tree. If you cut a tree and suddenly the balance is skewed because a heavy branch has been removed. Things can get dangerous very quickly and it’s hard to react.

Operating at ground level

Sometimes you are not able to scale the tree. So you have to work from the ground. This is also particularly dangerous. We might not scale a tree if it is particularly old and the branches are frail. Falling branches also means a nuisance for the homeowner, so that might be another reason to get it removed. We might also work from ground level if the wind is strong and the chances of fallout are too great.

Completely removing a tree requires that we know where it’s falling. It isn’t a case of hack it and hope. We need to know where the tree is going so as not to hit anyone or anything. Also, we have to be aware of where the tree will fall so we are also out of the way! Feel free to search on YouTube what happens when a tree felling operation goes wrong. It gets ugly! This is why you should stay away from a home made tree removal. There’s no point to risking it.

Tree surgeon equipment

Tree surgeons use power tools. This is no secret. From the hand held chainsaw, to a full sized chainsaw, we use it all. The pitfall of a chainsaw is the long, exposed blade that it presents. Other tradesman tools, like hammers and saws, are not power tools and they’re a whole lot safer to use in every day life. This is yet another reason to avoid DIY removing a tree or branches. You really should be trained to use something like a chainsaw, be it large or small. The crazier part to many is that we are climbing high trees with small chainsaws attached to us! If you fall while trimming a branch, suddenly you’ve slipped or lost balance while a literal moving blade is attached to you. Not good. Thankfully, modern chainsaws have safety inputs, such as the blade slowing down when the power button is released. Still, this won’t happen instantly and things can go wrong. We would recommend using a sturdy, safe chain saw that doesn’t slip out of your hands easily. It should also be a two handed chainsaw so you make sure to have it under control.

Not having a team

This happened to us in the very early days of our conception. You don’t have a whole team and you’re working alone. We did it a lot in Ely and Newmarket in Cambridgeshire back when we would subcontract. If you are a tree surgeon working alone, let’s say at a house, you should make the owners aware. Let’s say you did fall and got knocked out, you’d want someone checking up on you periodically. That way they can get help for you rather than being found hours and hours later.

Be safe out there everyone. For the crazy people that insist on doing this alone, at home, with no skill or training. Good luck, we wouldn’t! Nor do we recommend it. Make sure to not take any risks as you won’t be gaining a whole lot of anything by taking unnecessary risks.

Feel free to call us should you require our services. We would love to provide you with a with a site visit and free quotation.

We operate in:

The rest of Cambridgeshire.

Thank you for reading and we will be back soon with more arborist posts!

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The Cambridge Tree Surgeons

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK.


Phone: 01223 653 965

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