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Law about qualificactions to fell trees


Paul73
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I have just been asked by someone for whom I have worked many times as an Arb consultant whether his golf club is at risk of falling foul of the law for letting the greenkeepers fell trees without chainsaw qualifications. 

 

I told him I that I didn't actually know if there was a hard and fast legal position but that his club could be on very shaky ground with their insurance company if anything went wrong as "do you have qualifications?" seems to be a regular question when buying arb insurance. 

 

I can see that this could well fall foul of heath and safety at work, risk assessment and PUWER but is there actually a black and white rule in law that any use of a chainsaw in employment needs qualifications or qualified supervision? Or is the idea that people must be qualified derived from other regulations that say "Reasonable steps must have been taken to make the workplace safe, control obvious risks and make sure machinery is operated by people who know how to use it"

 

Thanks,

 

Paul

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The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Reg 9 "Every employer shall ensure that all persons who use work equipment have received adequate training for purposes of health and safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment, any risks which such use may entail and precautions to be taken. " Deemed compliance comes from the Approved Code of Practice that is slightly more specific and says that certification is required to evidence adequate training.

"All workers who use a chainsaw should be competent to do so. Before using a chainsaw to carry out work on or in a tree, a worker should have received appropriate training and obtained a relevant certificate of competence or national competence award, unless they are undergoing such training and are adequately supervised. However, in the agricultural sector, this requirement only applies to first-time users of a chainsaw."

So if one of the staff got hurt or worse using chainsaw, there'd be no defence by the employer. Does a golf course count as agriculture? No.

Adequate supervision is defined, the supervisor needs to have been trained in training.

 

Edited by daltontrees
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Question is at what point would they need to stop qualification and training. Most call in a tree firm when the job needs doing quickly and cleared.

 

It does open up a can of training worms, as they'll have Greens equipment, spraying, wood chipper, ladders, tractors, loaders, quad/mule etc which all will need training.

 

Then you've got annual checks of equipment and even lifting straps, forklifts etc etc.

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19 minutes ago, daltontrees said:

Deemed compliance comes form teh Approved Code of PAractice that is slightly more specifi and says tha tcertification is required to evidence adequate training.

"All workers who use a chainsaw should be competent to do so. Before using a chainsaw to carry out work on or in a tree, a worker should have received appropriate training and obtained a relevant certificate of competence or national competence award, unless they are undergoing such training and are adequately supervised. However, in the agricultural sector, this requirement only applies to first-time users of a chainsaw."

I believe this part of the ACOP is in bold, which means that it has legal status.

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25 minutes ago, GarethM said:

Question is at what point would they need to stop qualification and training. Most call in a tree firm when the job needs doing quickly and cleared.

 

It does open up a can of training worms, as they'll have Greens equipment, spraying, wood chipper, ladders, tractors, loaders, quad/mule etc which all will need training.

 

Then you've got annual checks of equipment and even lifting straps, forklifts etc etc.

But chainsaws need proof of competence. Not all other work types do.

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7 minutes ago, GarethM said:

Training isn't necessarily competence.

I was more highlighting it's a deep hole to be looked into, as they may have a forklift to that needs a certificate otherwise it's uninsured.

That's quite try there is plenty of old tree feller out there never done a course and would but us lot to shame. And would not take it lightly to told they need to be assessed by someone 20 plus years younger than them. 

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1 hour ago, woody paul said:

That's quite try there is plenty of old tree feller out there never done a course and would but us lot to shame. And would not take it lightly to told they need to be assessed by someone 20 plus years younger than them. 

Agree, but I've seen how golf course workers use a chainsaw!

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Thanks guys. It looks like they would be very well advised to get a clear position on this. One wishes things were black and white. Found this on the HSE site. It looks like there might be a place for experience giving competence but one would have to clearly justify it and sending the man to get a ticket is likely to be the simplest safest option.  

While the ACOPs are not law, they were made under section 16 of the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSW Act) and so have a special status, as outlined in the introduction to the PUWER ACOP:

'Following the guidance is not compulsory and you are free to take other action. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance as illustrating good practice.'

 

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12 minutes ago, Paul73 said:

Thanks guys. It looks like they would be very well advised to get a clear position on this. One wishes things were black and white.

 


But, as @daltontrees has already said, for chainsaws, PUWER 98 makes it completely black and white:

 

"All workers who use a chainsaw should be competent to do so. Before using a chainsaw to carry out work on or in a tree, a worker should have received appropriate training and obtained a relevant certificate of competence or national competence award, unless they are undergoing such training and are adequately supervised. However, in the agricultural sector, this requirement only applies to first-time users of a chainsaw."

 

For the workplace (except agriculture) workers should have received appropriate training and obtained a relevant certificate of competence or national competence award.

 

simples.

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