Risks from trees and tree work in the aftermath of the winter's storms highlighted at Suffolk event

Fallen tree - image: Jack Picknell
Fallen tree - image: Jack Picknell

Landowners and local authorities have been urged to exercise particular caution when working with and around trees following the winter's storms and heavy rain.

An event to promote good practice organised by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) at Santon Downham, Suffolk on Wednesday (26 February) drew over 100 health and safety professionals, tree specialists, landowners and grounds maintenance workers.

Event organiser Ivan Searle of IOSH East Anglia said: "Following on from the recent spate of severe weather and the wettest winter on record, the soil and tree root systems may have been damaged and trees need to be checked to ensure they are safe and not likely to fall."

Other risks discussed included hazardous chemicals, plant saps, and insects such as the oak processionary moth, which can cause severe irritation, and noise and vibration from operating machinery whcih can cause permanent damage.

Speakers at the event included Paul Smith, technical officer at the Aboricultural Association, Reg Harris, director at Urban Forestry, Neil Huck, national training manager for Ground Control, John Haddon, public safety advisor from UK Power Networks and Frances Hirst, HSE's lead inspector on arboriculture.

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