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  1. Chainsaws are extremely dangerous power tools and it’s important for operators to use the right safety gear, otherwise, accidents with chainsaws can result in major injury or death. It then falls on the employer's responsibility to provide chainsaw operators with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing. Choosing the right PPE, however, entails knowing the regulations behind it and the designs that would fit the job at hand. EU Classification System For Chainsaw Protective Clothing Since regular fabric for everyday clothing will not provide any protection to operators, the EU created the EN381 series of standards. It covers the testing and requirements needed for each part of an operator’s gear, particularly for leg protection, boots, gloves, and for upper parts of the body (detailed in each section below). The regulation also provides numerical classifications that rate the resistance of the clothing relative to the chain speed of the machine: Class 0 -- 16 metres per second (36 mph) (3,150 feet per minute) Class 1 -- 20 metres per second (45 mph) (3,937 feet per minute) Class 2 -- 24 metres per second (54 mph) (4,724 feet per minute) Class 3 -- 28 metres per second (63 mph) (5,512 feet per minute) For instance, if a piece of clothing can resist a chainsaw moving at a speed of 20 m/s, then it’s classified as Class 1. Do note that no protective equipment can guarantee 100% safety against accidents by chainsaw use, but it does decrease the probability of injury or at the very least, help minimise the harm caused. Trousers Leg protection is covered under the EN 381-5. The lowest allowable level for chainsaw trousers is Class 1 (can resist cutting up to 20 m/s). Trousers that are compliant with EU comes in two standards forms: Type A – Covers the front of the legs and is intended for trained forestry workers or professional lumberjacks. It also provides arborists (who work on the ground) comfort and ease of movement, especially for heavy tasks. Type C – All-around protection for the legs. Type C trousers are generally used either by trainees, who are at higher risk due to inexperience or by climbers and tree surgeons, as they cut from a variety of positions. Due to the nature and extent of the protection, these can be very hot for climbers to wear in warm weather, so the onus is on the employer to assess the risk of heat stress versus the risk of lesser-protection type A trousers and select the type of trouser accordingly. Jackets Upper body protection, including jackets, are regulated under EN 381-11. Unlike trousers, chainsaw jackets only have one design. Fronts and backsides of jackets should have protective inlays along the arms, chest, and shoulders. On the front side, the inlay should cover 80% of the surface, while the non-protected surface of the sleeve ends should not be more than 70 mm. Although jackets protect the arms and the torso, know that these are also highly insulting, which could cause heat stroke. As such, it’s best used when working on servicing platforms, chainsaw use above chest height, or other dangerous working conditions. Helmets Safety helmets are regulated under EN 397 (the more basic standard) or EN12492 (a more extensive standard which also tests for side, front and back impact, and specifies a 4 point chinstrap). Arborists who work at height using a rope and a harness should be equipped with a (‘mountaineering style’) helmet to EN12492 . It’s recommended to replace chainsaw helmets every three to five years, as sun exposure can cause the plastic to weaken. In the event of an impact, a helmet should be put out of service immediately and replaced. Gloves Protective gloves fall under EN 381-7. The type of gloves needed will depend on the task and the risks involved. Look at any presence of thorny material or cold/wet conditions. Gloves should be flexible and allow users adequate grip and control. Boots Chainsaw boots need to conform to regulations of EN 381-3, as well as EN ISO 20345:2004. Protective gaiters, if needed, should fall under EN 381-9. All chainsaw boots have a steel toe cap. Some boots also have a midsole in addition, for protection from penetration underfoot. Users should be aware that chainsaw boots do not have chainsaw protection all around the boot and therefore cannot prevent injury - they can only help reduce the risks. Other factors vary from brand to brand, such as grip, comfort, waterproofness and flexibility - and a boot should be chosen based on suitability to the user and the environment. Ear Protection Hearing protection is regulated under EN 352-1. The right ear muff protects operators from the damage of excessive environmental noise (more than 85 decibels) like permanent hearing loss. Chainsaw helmets will have the option to attach ear defenders, which should always be worn when using a chainsaw or chipper or other noisy machinery. Many arborists prefer ‘chipper muffs’ (muffs with a rating of SNR31 or higher). Eye Protection For eye protection, mesh visors fall under EN 1731 while safety glasses fall under EN 166. Mesh visors guard against wood chips that often fly at high speeds. They also allow for ventilation and eliminate the risk of fogging. Safety glasses, on the other hand, provide unobstructed vision and more impact resistance. Again, depending on your model of helmet you will likely be able to attach either a mesh visor or glasses (or both) to the helmet. Stay Safe Part of running a business that’s safe for employees is mitigating any risk in the workplace. To prevent any accidents, you need to look at any possible causes of harm, ensure that chainsaw operators are wearing the right gear, and that they follow all the best chainsaw practices.
  2. I found this guide really useful http://itracking.co.uk/fleet-management-systems/best-sat-navs-truckers-fleet-needs/
  3. Arborists often need to provide structural support for trees through the use of either fibre ropes or steel cables to secure the stability of the major elements of the tree. There are several different approaches to bracing a tree but the Cobra System is one of the most popular and best. It is easy to install, will cater to many different types of defects and instabilities, does not require any specialist tools or training, and is completely non-invasive to the tree. The Basics of Tree Bracing Some trees can end up growing at a rate and in a direction that makes them unstable. Part of the tree or even the whole structure may be in danger of collapse. In other instances, damage can come about through storms, vandalism or interference from other elements. If a tree is unstable or damaged, this clearly presents a danger to the public and to other structures around the tree. Trees that have multiple trunks and trees with open canopies are most likely to be unstable. Supporting a tree with cables and/or rods is referred to as tree bracing. In general, tree bracing is used to: Prevent failure - reduce the chance of a healthy but weak tree structure becoming unstable Restore damage - to extend the life of a tree Mitigate a hazard - reduce the risk of damage to human health and life or property It must be remembered that bracing is not an exact science and does not offer a guarantee of maintaining the tree structure, or indeed the life of the tree. When you are deciding whether to brace or not, you will need to weigh up the likelihood of it being successful, the risks of carrying it out, the aesthetics of the final result and conservation issues. A skilled and experienced arborist is best placed to make that assessment. All about the Cobra Bracing System The Cobra Bracing System has been scientifically developed to give the best support, shock absorbance and flexibility. Some of the specific benefits are: It’s lightweight - the Cobra rope is a monofilament polypropylene hollow cable which is much lighter than the steel cable alternative, making it strong and comfortable to handle. It’s aesthetically superior - there are no bracing rods which cause damage and can look unsightly. Once installed, Cobra systems are often very difficult to pick out at ground level, leaving the tree’s natural beauty uninhibited It can be used for several purposes - it is suitable for dynamic bracing (for sudden stresses) and load bracing. It absorbs shock - it significantly reduces impact forces It maintains strength - it loses only 2 percent of its strength per year which means that it will generally be 12 years before it will need to be replaced. It protects the tree - the system does not require rods to be placed inside the tree and uses hollow cables made out of monofilament polypropylene together with a quick splice instead. The expanding bands and anti-abrasion cover also help to minimise any friction damage between the cables and the bark. System components Cobra Bracing comprises: Hollow cables - made from woven monofilament polypropylene in 4 and 8-tonne strengths Expansion inserts - used to flatten the contact area and prevent girdling. Anti-abrasion hose - needed to prevent rope damage by making sure that the cable does not slide around the connection point. End caps - which are colour coded to quickly identify the year that the bracing was erected. Shock Absorbers - To reduce impact forces and hence cut down on damage. Cobra bracing methods There are three main types of bracing: Dynamic braking / cabling: For preventing breakage caused by oscillation-induced overstretching, install Cobra with a shock absorber. That way, the oscillations of the crown are not impeded, yet load peaks from strong gusts are softly dampened. Static braking / cabling: If damage is already present (i.e. formation of cracks), we recommend installing a Cobra 4 t or 8 t without a shock absorber. By immobilizing the critical spot, this type of cabling system prevents enlargement of the crack and helps prevent the branch from breaking off. Load support cabling: If, for reasons of traffic or pedestrian safety, a broken branch needs to be prevented from falling to the ground, install a static load/support cabling Cobra system without a shock absorber. Bracing should be installed as vertically as possible so that, should the branch break, it will hang in the rope. The only acceleration will be from the rope extension hence there will be little or no shock loading. The rope and anchor point should be sufficiently strong for the weight of the branch. Selecting the right Cobra system There are three main system variants for you to choose from depending on the load that you need to support and the diameters of the branches involved - 2 tonne, 4 tonne or 8 tonne. The chart below gives guiding information on selecting the correct system for your job. For further details please refer here. Cobra 2T Dynamic breaking/cabling for a stem/branch base up to 30cm (12 inches). Cobra 4T Dynamic breaking/cabling for a stem/branch base of 40-60cm (16 - 24inches). Static cabling and load/support cabling up to a stem/branch base of 40cm (16 inches). Cobra 8T Dynamic breaking/cabling for a stem/branch base of 60-80cm (24-32 inches). Static cabling and load/support cabling for a stem/branch base of 40-60cm (16-24 inches), with a double installation for a stem/branch base of 60-80 cm (24-32 inches). To provide optimum efficiency, it is recommended that Cobra bracing should be installed at two-thirds the height of the tree. When used as load/support cabling, the rope should be installed as vertically as possible.
  4. All arborists will invariably carry out tree surveys from time to time. They can be conducted on land owned by public sector bodies or on private estates. They ensure that the individual or organisation managing the land has the correct information that they need to make decisions regarding how they will manage the tree stock. There is official guidance, namely British Standard BS5837, which sets out how decisions should be made when managing trees. A tree survey is needed before any decisions can be taken. Information Revealed by a Tree Survey A properly conducted tree survey will yield essential information about the trees in the location in question. Some of the most important information includes: The tree species, which is recorded in scientific nomenclature. The age of the tree. The physical dimensions of the tree including the trunk diameter at a recorded height and the overall height of the tree. This is identified using measuring instruments. The health and predicted life expectancy. Recommendations for managing the tree in the future, this could include restorative work or even removal. Compliance with any legislation that applies to the tree such as the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Predicted impact of any proposed development on trees in the locality. Providing information for computer generated modelling. Pinpointing trees that add value to a development, those that are protected by law and those that do not enhance the landscape and can be safely removed. Identifying trees that present a hazard due to their physical condition. Carrying out a Tree Survey A tree survey is often a significant undertaking and may involve several arborists and specialist equipment. Before you start, it is essential to protect your own safety and that of your employees by identifying any hazardous trees. A preliminary scoping survey is carried out to identify ‘Target Zones’. Ideally, each tree is assessed from all sides but there are some circumstances in which this is not safe. A river bank would be a typical example. For each tree, the following is usually recorded in a standardised way using a pre-designed form that is stored on paper or electronically. Surveyed trees are usually identified with tree tags which are physically attached to the tree. Information on a typical survey form includes: Species Position - usually expressed as map coordinates supplemented by a description Notes on distinctive attributes Approximation of age - this could be designated as categorical variables such as ‘newly planted’ ranging to ‘over-mature’ Gaps in the crown, leaf colour, presence of dead wood and broken branches Presence of cracks or splits in branches Presence of fungus or splits and cracks in the trunk Presence of ivy Presence of leaning and a record of what it is leaning towards Signs of decay within the main trunk and base Obvious root damage Obvious cracks, uplifting around the tree Classifying Tree Condition Using the survey information, the overall physical condition of the tree can be classed. They are generally described as: Good - a tree that has a full crown and no signs of decay or damage; a long-life expectancy is predicted Fair - a tree that is mainly healthy but has some minor defects and/or thinning of the crown Poor - a tree that has some major defects or that lacks vigour; the life expectancy is short Dangerous - a tree that should be urgently removed because it presents a hazard Dead - a tree that has died and needs to be removed Using the survey data, works on the trees can be prioritised and sensible recommendations for the management of the tree stock can be made.
  5. Gloves are an essential element of personal protective equipment (PPE) for arborists and anyone working in the forestry industry. They serve several purposes including protection against chainsaw injuries, the reduction of the impact of vibration, improved grip, protection from thorns and splinters from branches and in protecting the skin from cold and moisture. Before you rush out and purchase a pack of workwear gloves, it is important that you assess the tasks that you will be using them for and are clear about what you expect from the gloves. This allows you to select the right brand based on grip, dexterity, size and breathability. Here are the main considerations that you should take into account. Size of workwear gloves All PPE must fit if is going to afford the required protection and not interfere with work tasks. Guidance from the Health and Safety Executive makes it clear that workwear gloves must suit the user in terms of size, fit and weight. To find your glove size, measure the width of your hand at the widest point (across the knuckles). Then the following size guide will indicate which glove size to select. Small: up to 8.5cm Medium 8.5-9.5cm Large: 9.5-10.5cm X large: 10.5-11.5cm XX large: over 11.5cm Some ranges are available in all of the sizes. In particular, Maxiflex Endurance and Maxitherm gloves are comfortable and hard-wearing options. Chainsaw gloves Gloves with a neoprene band across the back will protect your knuckles and a knitted cuff will stop debris from falling in. For maximum comfort, choose a supple glove with palms and fingers made from a flexible material such as leather and a stretch fabric at the back. A good all round, durable option is a pair of Husqvarna chainsaw gloves. When working in wet conditions, a synthetic glove with rubberised pads on the palm and fingertips will help with grip and the Harkie chainsaw gloves are ideal. Climbing and dexterity gloves The ideal glove for climbing: Makes it easy to use karabiners and climbing devices Has dots for grip on the palm and fingers Is durable Is breathable Is machine washable The Maxiflex Endurance glove ticks all the boxes. For dexterity, a glove must have a very thin coating, be ergonomically shaped and be both breathable and durable. The world benchmark for precision handling is undoubtedly the Maxiflex Ultimate. Waterproof and thorn resistant gloves The ideal waterproof workwear glove will provide you with comfort and grip and, at the same time, will keep your hands dry. An extra desirable feature is resistance to oil and chemicals. To prevent fatigue, the glove should mimic the ‘hand at rest’ position. All of these features are found in the Maxidry Zero and the Maxidry Regular. Thorns are a particular hazard faced by arborists and forestry workers. A specialised needle-resistant glove would be required to afford complete protection from thorn penetration, but for those not wanting to spend such fortunes, the B771 Drivers thick leather and open cuff glove or the B773 Drivers knitwrist glove are good choices to offer a reasonable level of resistance. You may prefer the B776 Leather gauntlet but it is made from a stiffer material and may lead to hand fatigue if used over a prolonged period of time.
  6. Accident data collected by the Health and Safety Executive reveals that working at height is the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries at work in the UK. As an arborist or a forestry worker, your harness is integral to protecting your health and safety. At the same time, it needs to be comfortable and must allow you to do your job. Choosing a tree climbing harness is an extremely important decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly or just based on the cheapest option. You will be using your harness every working day for the next five years or so potentially. Cost is clearly an important factor but the harness must also suit your physical build, your centre of gravity and work style. Types of harness There are two main categories of harness: Work positioning or suspension harnesses The harness will give you the mobility to position yourself safely and correctly and will support you in an upright position. Both hands are free as the harness is suspended from an overhead tie-in point. Harnesses must comply with EN358 / EN813 safety standards. Good options are the Edelrid Tree Core Harness with comfortable back padding and the TreeMOTION harness with easy adjustment of the suspension system. Fall arrest or fall restraint harnesses These harnesses are designed to be anchored to a fixed point such as a structure or platform and not for tree climbing. A restraint lanyard is required. As an arborist, you may need this type of harness when you are working on a mobile elevated work platform (for example, a cherry picker). Suitable options would be the Titan fall arrest safety harness or Duraflex fall arrest safety harnesses. Leg position This is a matter of personal preference so trying out the harness before you make the purchase is definitely preferential if possible. The two main categories are: Sit harnesses The Willans harness is a good example of a sit harness which bears the weight of the climber on a strap underneath their buttocks. The alternative is a rigid central strap like the Dragonfly harness. A sit harness is a good investment if you need to hang free for longer periods of time. They may be more suitable for arborists with a bigger build. Harnesses with individual leg straps. Harnesses such as the Bolt Orion harness or the Petzl Sequoia harness take most of your weight on padded leg straps. You need to make sure that the leg straps are adjusted properly to help prevent them pinching. These are often more comfortable if you need to move around a lot in the canopy as they allow more unrestricted freedom of movement. Attachment With your central attachment point from the waist of an arborist harness, you have the choice of sliding or fixed. A sliding ring affords more lateral freedom and that eases the strain on the user’s hips and back. This is the most popular type, however, new users may feel more secure with a fixed ‘D’ or ring attachment. There are usually loops for specific tools that can bear specified weights. For example, the TreeMOTION harness uses colour coded rings to indicate which loops are for lanyards and which are gear loops.
  7. There is a raft of regulations governing health and safety in UK workplaces. It is the responsibility of every employer to be aware of the regulations and to comply with them. The regulations come under the umbrella act which is The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 although you may see it written as HSWA. The act places a duty on employers to “ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees”. If, as an employer, you fail in this duty, you face enforcement action by the Health and Safety Executive or a local authority. There are numerous regulations made under the parent act and the regulations governing personal protective equipment are the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992. The role of Personal Protective Equipment in Health and Safety The role of personal protective equipment (PPE) in health and safety is frequently misunderstood. The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 is very clear, however, about what an employer’s duties are. PPE is regarded as a last resort. You are required to assess the hazards presented to your employees through a thorough risk assessment and then implement controls to minimise the risks of those hazards. Engineering controls and safe systems of work should be considered before PPE. This could be through the use of alternative equipment or by adopting a different way of working. Where this is not possible, PPE is required. What do the regulations require? Regulation 4 governs the provision of personal protective equipment and states that: “Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work” Furthermore, Regulation 2(1) provides a clear definition of PPE as: “…all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects him against one or more risks to his health or safety, and any addition or accessory designed to meet that objective.” General PPE Requirements All items of PPE that you provide need to meet the relevant legal standards and must be “CE” marked which means it meets European Union standards. Some European standards have been superseded by International Standards (prefixed ISO) and if adopted in the UK will be prefixed BS. There are specific guidance notes from the HSE for each item of PPE. Simply providing PPE is not enough. It must be stored appropriately and regularly checked to ensure that it is working correctly. Worn or damaged equipment must be immediately replaced. It must fit the employee who is required to use it, so a range of sizes to accommodate different employees will be required. Some PPE will need to be personalised for each employee. Face and eye protection is a typical example and will need to accommodate an employee’s prescription glasses. Badly fitting PPE cannot perform its function adequately and is distracting. Various items of PPE need to be able to work together so head protection must fit with eye protection. Sometimes, helmets with built-in eye or ear protection are the most appropriate option. Specific Requirements for Arborists, Tree Surgeons and Forestry Workers The HSE provides specific advice for each work task carried out by arborists, tree surgeons and forestry workers, such as guidance on aerial work. As an illustration, chainsaw users involved in aerial tree work would require: A safety helmet, a 4-point chin strap mountaineering style helmet complying with BS EN 12492 primarily to protect from falling objects. Must be compatible with chosen eye and hearing protection. Eye protection. This must comply with either BS EN 1731 or BS EN 166) to protect from flying debris, dust or other particles. Must be compatible with other PPE. Hearing protection to protect hearing from exposure to the noise of power tools complying with BS EN 352. Must be compatible with other PPE. Chainsaw boots to help protect the feet from chainsaw injury. Must have steel toecaps and be chainsaw protective complying with EN ISO 17249 Leg and groin protection to help protect against chainsaw injury and debris. Complying with BS EN 381-5 and type selected after careful risk assessment. Gloves to protect from sharp objects, machinery and cold. Appropriate clothing (for example non-snag and high visibility) Employees must know how to use the PPE and must understand the importance of using it. This requires both initial and ongoing training. When a new work task or a new item of PPE is introduced, new training is required. As the employer, you bear the cost of the PPE, not your employees, and ultimately it is your job to make sure you are compliant with all the regulations for outdoor work.
  8. Fancy bagging yourself a Stihl MS150 / MS150T chainsaw? Only 7 days left.... check this thread for further details on how to enter
  9. We're currently running a competition on our Twitter page which might be of interest to you guys - we're giving away one of our Zega Classic Rope Bags. Here are its specs: "Made from heavy duty waterproof PVC with double stitched load bearing seams for durability. Scuff and tear resistant heavy duty nylon reinforced base. Adjustable shoulder straps plus padded handles for comfortable transport. Features an ergonomic profile for comfort. Holds 45m rope plus climbing equipment. 54cm x 38cm x 21cm." If you want to enter you can click here!
  10. Hi all, We've just written a list of the most common woody plant pests you have to watch out for, and a few tips and tricks of the trade to protect from a potential attack. Hopefully you'll found it of use: https://www.landmarktrading.com/blog/products-techniques-controlling-pests-woody-plants/
  11. We recently wrote a little guide to pruning trees, hopefully there'll be some useful info in there for you: https://www.landmarktrading.com/blog/pruning/
  12. We wrote about a few devastating tree diseases here, could be helpful: https://www.landmarktrading.com/blog/five-devastating-tree-diseases/
  13. Hi Guys, We recently wrote a blog on the above topic, thought it might be useful to leave it here. Link below. https://www.landmarktrading.com/blog/guide-tree-felling-licensing/ Cheers


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