Lantra Awards forestry and arboriculture technical adviser Chris Cooper-Abbs said: "Although training is a legal requirement, the forestry and arboriculture sector is not regulated by the Government so it is relatively easy for anyone to buy a chainsaw and claim to be a tree surgeon.
"Used safely and efficiently, chainsaws are very versatile tools with a variety of uses essential for arboriculture and forestry related operations. However, these activities are also potentially very dangerous. Serious accidents can, and do occur without proper training or where operators fail to keep their skills up to date and the HSE recommend refresher training every five years."
Wayne Grills, Managing Director, Lantra Awards said: "Given the potential dangers of forestry and arboricultural work, it is particularly alarming to see the recent rise in the number of unqualified tree surgeons. Whether you are self-employed or work for an industry-recognised employer, unqualified tree surgeons present a real danger not only to their own safety and wellbeing but also to the industry as a whole."
"Our courses are delivered exclusively through a network of approved training providers and instructors, who are experienced in working in this sector," continued Grills. "Training is delivered to small groups and is supported by high quality course materials. We also work very closely with the HSE to ensure our materials reflect current safe working practices, regulations and industry standards."