Essential Tree Care and Safety Standards
Jun 4, 2024

Arborists play a crucial role in maintaining the health and safety of trees on commercial properties across South Australia. Adhering to industry standards and regulations is vital to ensure the well-being of both arborists and the surrounding environment.

In Australia, arborists should adhere to Australian Standards AS4373-2007 Pruning of amenity trees and AS4970-2009 Protection of trees on development sites for tree care operations. These standards cover various aspects such as pruning, tree protection, and tree removal, providing guidelines for best practices in tree care. The Minimum Industry Standards developed by Arboriculture Australia and New Zealand Arboriculture Association provide practical instructions on the industry best practice for arborists.

Work Health and Safety Regulations

Compliance with Work Health and Safety (WHS) regulations is essential for arborists in Australia. This includes using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), following safe work practices, and undergoing proper training to prevent workplace accidents and injuries. For more information on WHS regulations, visit the Safe Work Australia website.

Having a comprehensive emergency response plan is vital and should outline procedures for evacuating workers, contacting emergency services, and managing property damage in the event of accidents or hazards. Arborists can refer to the emergency planning guidance provided by Safe Work Australia for industry-specific advice and templates.

Tree Risk Assessment and Management

Conducting comprehensive tree risk assessments is essential for arborists working on commercial properties. These assessments are a critical step in identifying and addressing potential hazards that could pose risks to property occupants, pedestrians, or nearby structures.

Arborists should conduct thorough evaluations of various factors when assessing tree risks.

  • They must assess the overall condition of the tree, looking for signs of decay, disease, or structural weaknesses. Visual inspections and diagnostic tests may be employed to identify any underlying issues that could compromise the tree’s stability.
  • They must consider the tree’s location within the commercial property. Trees situated near buildings, roads, or high-traffic areas may present greater risks, especially during adverse weather conditions or heavy winds. Assessing the proximity of trees to infrastructure and assessing their potential impact in the event of failure is crucial for effective risk management.
  • They need to evaluate the surrounding environment to identify any additional factors that could contribute to tree hazards. This includes assessing soil conditions, drainage patterns, and the presence of nearby construction activities or underground utilities. Environmental factors such as soil erosion or root damage can significantly affect a tree’s stability and increase the risk of failure.

Based on their assessments, arborists can develop tailored risk management strategies to mitigate identified hazards. This may involve implementing tree pruning or bracing techniques to improve structural integrity, installing support systems such as cables or guy wires, or recommending tree removal in cases of severe risk.

Proper Equipment Use and Maintenance

Arborists depend on a diverse range of tools to carry out tree care tasks, ranging from secateurs to chainsaws, woodchippers and elevating work platforms (EWPs). The proper use and regular maintenance of these tools are crucial for ensuring both safety and efficiency in their work.

Using these tools correctly involves understanding their capabilities and limitations, as well as following established safety protocols. Arborists must be suitably qualified to use each tool or piece of equipment safely, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.

Regular maintenance is equally important to keep the tools in optimal working condition. This includes tasks such as sharpening blades, lubricating moving parts, and inspecting for any signs of wear or damage. By investing time and effort in maintenance, arborists can extend the lifespan of their tools and ensure consistent performance in the field.

Moreover, proper tool maintenance contributes to tree health and vitality. For instance, sharp cutting implements produce clean cuts that occlude more quickly, reducing the risk of disease and promoting faster reactionary growth. Regular maintenance also minimises the risk of introducing pathogens or pests to trees, safeguarding their overall well-being.

Environmental Regulations and Permitting

Arborists operate within a complex regulatory environment in South Australia, where adherence to tree protection legislation is paramount. Before undertaking any tree care operations, arborists must ensure compliance with the relevant tree protection legislation including the Planning Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (PDI Act) and the Native Vegetation Act 1991 as well as various regulations, codes and local government requirements.

One significant aspect of environmental regulation involves the protection of native and endangered species. Arborists must be mindful of any protected species that may inhabit the area where they plan to work. Disturbing or harming these species, their habitats, or their nesting sites can lead to severe penalties.

Another critical consideration is tree removal, which is subject to strict regulations across Adelaide and country South Australia. Local councils and government authorities often have specific requirements and guidelines governing tree removal, particularly for trees located in urban areas or on public land. Arborists must obtain permits and follow prescribed procedures to ensure compliance with these regulations.

Furthermore, the use of pesticides or herbicides in tree care operations is heavily regulated to protect human health and the environment. Arborists must use approved products responsibly, following label instructions and applying them in accordance with relevant regulations. Additionally, they must be aware of any restrictions or bans on certain chemicals in their local area and seek alternative solutions where necessary.

Ready to safeguard the health and beauty of your commercial property?

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team of experienced arborists. Let us assess the condition of your trees, develop tailored risk management strategies, and ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations. Together, we can protect your investment, enhance safety, and promote the long-term vitality of your trees.