Carry out a risk assessment for the site as a whole, including an emergency plan, and record any significant findings. A minimum of two people should be present during all tree-climbing operations.
One of the team must be available on the ground, competent and equipped to perform an aerial rescue immediately. A competent and responsible person should know the daily work programme and agree a suitable emergency procedure with personnel on site. All people involved with site works should be able to communicate with each other. Where the responsible person is not on site, communication should still be possible, e.g via mobile phone. In some work environments, eg noisy and/or scattered sites, special measures may be necessary to ensure good quality communication, eg two-way radios.
In case of emergency, you should be able to provide the emergency services with adequate information, eg a grid reference, a designated meeting point, the distance from the main road, the type of access (suitable for car/four-wheel drive/emergency service vehicles). In urban areas, street names and postal codes are essential. Know the location details before they are needed in an emergency. Everyone engaged in tree-climbing operations needs to be fit to undertake the task. Problems that could affect performance must be reported to management.
Climbers should be familiar with a range of techniques to improve their efficiency and reduce the risk of muscular and skeletal strain. Climbing is physically demanding. Where possible, share the climbing duties between two or more climbers. Allow enough breaks during the work to minimise the risk of impaired judgement. In certain conditions, eg hot weather, it may be necessary to change the work method, climbing techniques or introduce further breaks to avoid physiological stress. Climbers need to be aware of the different characteristics of tree species and how these affect the work to be carried out. They should also be able to assess the structure and condition of the tree to be climbed and any potential weakness caused by decay and damage.
Top Tip: All tree work involving work at height specify that employers have a duty to plan the work and select appropriate work equipment make it as safe as possible.