Felled tree with advanced wood decay caused by two different fungi
A risk assessment is an essential part of any Health & Safety policy and is instrumental in fulfilling legal 'Duty of Care' obligations under the 'Occupiers Liability Acts'.
A valuable guidance document was published for the first time at the end of 2011 - 'Common sense risk management of trees' from the National Tree Safety Group is now considered the definitive guidance for landowners, managers and advisors.
It identifies that the risk of harm to persons or property resulting from tree failure is very low indeed, although when a tree does cause death or serious injury it will usually have a high public profile and will invariably result in legal action.
Our aim is to take a reasonable and considered approach to the risks that trees pose, and to take due account of the 'target' - in this regard we advise our clients to carry out a zoning exercise, which apportions every part of the site to one of three Risk Zones.
These Zones being High, Medium or Low, depending on the volume of pedestrian or vehicular traffic. This approach can equally be applied to large or small sites.
Our methodology for Tree Risk Assessment starts with Visual Tree Assessment or VTA (a recognised industry standard method) to identify any structural defects.
We will then use a quantified method to assess the actual risk posed by a defective tree, and recommend appropriate works to mitigate the risk.
Our clients for Tree Risk Assessment include: Schools & Colleges, Hospitals, Private Estates and Landscape Gardens, Local Authorities, Golf Courses, Hotels and Corporate Event Providers.
The NTSG document "Tree risk management for landowners" is available to freely download here.
Hazard beam crack in branch of beech tree
Catastrophic branch failure in Oak tree
A movie of the catastrophic branch failure
As a result of a Tree Risk Assessment we may find that further more detailed inspection of certain trees is required in order to reach a conclusion.
To this end we might recommend an aerial inspection, root investigation or a decay detection survey - for further information on these services see our sections on Tree Inspection & Decay Detection.
Assessing a large stem cavity in a Beech tree (historically filled with expanding foam)
“Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?” “Supposing it didn’t,” said Pooh after careful thought. Piglet was comforted by this….”