Tree Health and Safety Surveys

Are you looking for more certainty about the condition of your trees, or those of your clients?

Are you looking for an arboricultural consultant or a tree report to undertake a tree survey to address the requirements of the Health and Safety Legislation or the Duty of Care requirements?

If you are then you are in the right place.

We provide tree reports on subsidence matters.

This is something that we at Arbor Cultural Ltd. can undertake for you.

Please contact Arbor Cultural Ltd. for a free quotation.

The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 & 1984 established that the site owner or occupier holds the liability for the safety of visitors and those on adjacent lands. Where incidents are both reasonably foreseeable and reasonably preventable the owner or occupier may be held liable for losses (physical harm to life and/or property).

These circumstances include specific consideration for children; under s2 (3) (a) of the OLA 1957, ‘an occupier must be prepared for children to be less careful than adults. The case of Tomlinson v Congleton Borough Council ([2003] 1 A.C. 46; [2004] UKHL 47), the ‘shallow pond case’, expanded on this requirement by stressing the need to consider the inequivalence of danger relative also to people of reduced mobility.

 

A considerable body of case law has established that, in order to be in a position to foresee and indeed to prevent harm arising from a tree failure, it is necessary to subject the tree or trees in question to ‘regular inspection’, with this inspection undertaken by someone competent both to identify any defects present and to interpret their significance for public safety.

An effective system of managing trees should meet the requirements set out in the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the associated ACoP (guidance is contained in HSG 65 Successful Health and Safety Management and INDG 163 Five Steps to Risk Assessment.

This requires a survey of trees either individually or sometimes as a group. This should be undertaken using VTA inspection techniques pioneered by Professor Claus Mattheck. The survey will record tree locations, identification numbers, height, crown spread, crown height, stem diameter, life stage and condition.

Tree locations are either be georeferenced, or hand-plotted on a plan. Alternatively, small numbered disks will be attached to the trees with these numbers georeferenced or indicated on a plan.

The tree risk assessments will ascertain the condition of the trees and recommendations made for any tree work considered necessary along with a timescale for its completion. This will be accompanied by a recommended re-inspection cycle. This will address the clients’ “Duty of Care” liabilities.

All tree work recommendations will comply with the relevant British Standard BS3998 Tree Work – Recommendations (2010), unless otherwise specified in a report, with a clear justification for any deviation from the standard.

This is something that we at Arbor Cultural Ltd. can undertake for you.

Please contact Arbor Cultural Ltd. for a free quotation.

Additionally, further investigation may be recommended that does not form part of a basic tree survey. These investigations include:

  • Decay detection testing
  • Climbing inspections
  • Drone inspections
  • Vitality testing, (Chlorophyll fluorescence)
  • Vegetation clearance
  • Soil / root excavation
  • Laboratory testing

The tree risk assessments will ascertain the condition of the trees and recommendations made for any tree work considered necessary along with a timescale for its completion. This will be accompanied by a recommended re-inspection cycle. This will address the clients’ “Duty of Care” liabilities.

There are three elements to the assessment of trees.

  • Likelihood of failure
  • Load or size of part most likely to fail
  • Target in terms of number and frequency of people or value of property within the falling zone

Tom has in the past used the ISA methodology and then THREATS (Tree Hazard Risk Evaluation and Treatment System), and more recently have completed the QTRA (Quantified Tree Risk Assessment) and TRAQ (Tree Risk Assessment Qualification).

More recently Tom was an early adopted of the VALID system and attended prelaunch and then post launch training events. I have now switched to this as not only do I believe that it is the most robust system currently available. It also makes allowance for tree value and has an automatic feedback element through the App for the improvement of the system.

The full methodology is available online at https://www.validtreerisk.com/.

A good tree survey would be tailored to the clients’ risk tolerance for any given site, along with the budget and other site-specific considerations.