Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

Share this story

Topics

#ARBatwork #ArbMatters #PledgeLessPlastic & 12 Faces of Arb 1987 storm 2 Rope 2018 3ATC 3ATC UK Open 50th annual AA AA award AA Awards Aboricultural Association Accident accreditation advice AFL aftercare AGM Agrilus Biguttatus aid air quality Alert Alex Kirkley All Party Parliamentary Group on Horticulture amenity Amenity Conference Anatomy Ancient Tree Forum Annual Awards APF APF 2020 app APPGHG apprentice apprenticeship Apprenticeships Approved Approved Contractor Approved Contractors ARB ARB Approved Contractor ARB Approved Contractors ARB at work ARB Magazine ARB Show arb training ArbAC ARBatwork ArbCamp Arbor Day Arboricultural Association Arboriculture arborists Arbsafe Ash Ash Archive ash dieback Asian Hornet Assessments atf ATO Australia Autumn Review award Awards Barcham Trees Bark Beetle Bartlett Bartlett Tree Experts bats beetle beyond ism Bill Matthews biochar biodiversity biomechanical biosecurity branch Branches brand Brexit bs5837 bursary business Call for Abrstacts Call for papers Campout Canker stain of plane carbon career Cavanagh CCS Cellular Confinement Systems CEnv Ceratocystis Ceratocystis platani chainsaw chalara charity Charles charter Charter for Trees Chartered Environmentalist chelsea Chelsea Flower Show Claus Mattheck climate climate change climber climbing Cofor Colleges committees competition competiton conference Confor conifers conservation Consultant consultation Contractor Contractors Cornwall Cornwall Branch Coronavirus Coroner Council Countryside Stewardship Course for beginners COVID-19 CPD cross industry news Crown & Canopy Cryphonectria parasitica Cumbria DART Date for your diary deadwood death debate defra Design Devon disease document donate dothistroma downloads draft EAC East Anglia ecology Economic Report economy Ecotricity education EFUF Election elections Electricity Elm yellows England English Elm environment environmental EPF equipment Europe European Arboricultural Council European Forum on Urban Forestry European Wood Pastures Event exeter Exhibitors Fall from Height Fatal Fatality felling Fellow Fellow Members Fera Field Trip Finance Fine firewood First Aid flood flooding Forest Research forestry Forestry Commission forests freelancers FSC Fund4Trees funding fundraiser fungal fungi Future Flora Futurebuild gardening GDPR Geocells Gold Medal Gov.uk government grant grants Green Brexit Green Infrastructure Green Infratructure Guarantee guidance Guidance Note 2 guide guides Hazard Tree Health heart-rot Helliwell Help Henry Kuppen History HMRC HOMED Homeworking Honey Brothers honours Horse Chestnut HortAid horticulture horticulturists HortWeek housing HRH HRH Prince Charles HS2 HSE HTA ICF ICoP identification Immigration import industry Industry Code of Practice industry skills Infographic InfraGreen Inspiration Insurance Intermediate Tree Inspection International Urban Forestry Congress International Year of Plant Health Investigating Tree Archaeology Conference Ips typographus Irma irrigation ISA iso i-Tree IUFC Job job opportunity judgement JustGiving Karabiner Kew land-based Landsaping Landscape Institute Landscape Show landscaping Lantra law Leaf Minor Lectures legal legislation Letters Liability licence London longevity LTOA Magazine manifesto maple Mayor of London MBE Melbourne Member Benefit Membership mentor Midlands moth' motion Myerscough NASA National Geographic National Tree Safety Group National Tree Week NATO Netherlands New Year’s Honours News NHS nominations Northern Northumberland Notice notification NTIS NTOA NTOC NTSG Nurseries oak 'oak Oak Processionary Moth Oak-boring Beetle obituary Observatree occupation opm Padua Papua parks parliament Perennial Pests & Diseases Pests and Diseases petition photo Phytophthora planning Planning Law Plant Health planting Pledge Plumpton College policy poll Poster Power PPE Preston Twins Prince Charles Prince of Wales processionary Product Recall Professional Members prosecution Protect and Survive protected tree protection Qualifications Quotatis ramorum RC Reg Harris Registered Registered Consultant Registered Consultants Rememberance Day renewal Report Rescue research Research grant Resilience response results retrenchment review RFS rhs RHS Chelsea Flower Show Ride for Research Ride4Research rigging Rodney Helliwell rogue tree surgeons Royal Forestry Society RSFS Safe Working Practice Safety Safety Bulletin Saftey Scotland Scotland Branch Scottish Branch SDG Accord security seminars Share Sheffield Show Sierra Leone Site Guidance skills skills survey SocEnv soil soils South East South West SRWP staff Standards statement Stationary Rope statutory STIHL strategy student Student Conference Study Trip Sub-contractors survey Sustainable Soils Alliance Sweet Chestnut sweet chestnut blight T Level T Levels Tatarian maple TDAG technical guide Technical Guides Technical Officers Technical Team Technician Members Technology Ted Green tender Thames & Chiltern The Arboricultural Association The Woodland Trust Thinking Arbs Thinking Arbs Day Timbersports Tony Kirkham Tools top-handled chainsaws,Elcoat, TPBE4 TPO Trading Standards trailblazer training transport Tree Tree Champion Tree Council Tree Fayre Tree Health Tree Inspection tree loss tree management Tree of the year Tree Officer Tree officers Tree Planting Tree Protection tree register tree species Tree Supply Tree Surgeon Tree Surgeons Tree Week Tree Work at Height Tree Workers Zone Treeconomics tree-felling TreeRadar trees trees' Trees & Society Trees, People and the Built Environment trust' trustee Trustees TrustMark Two Rope two-rope UAG Uitlity UK favourite ukas UKWAS urban urban forest Urban Forestry Urban Tree Challenge Fund Urban Tree Cover Urban Tree World Cup urban trees Utility Arboriculture Group UTWC vacancy VETcert veteran trees video Videos volunteer VTA WAC Wales Warning Watering watering solutions Webinar webinars website Western Westonbirt Wharton WIA Witley Women Women in Arb women in arboriculture woodland Woodland Carbon Code Woodland Carbon Guarantee woodland trust woods Workshops World Environment Day Xylella young young arborists Young People’s Breakfast Event zoo

HSE Fall from Height Incidents involving arborists

Author:  Arboricultural Association
  07/11/2019
Last Updated:  07/11/2019

This article contains brief examples of the falls from height reported to HSE under RIDDOR.

All injured persons were arborists.

Falls involving a single rope

These incidents were identified using the methodology based on search terms (described in AFAG Paper 33/02):
Download AFAG Paper 33/02

Please note the limitations on identifying arboricultural incidents reported via the RIDDOR notification system, as outlined in AFAG Paper 33/02. A further caveat to these examples include the limited search terms used.

All climbers had one point of attachment to their tree when the fall occurred.

Incident
Consequences
AAAC

2017-18

Cut climbing rope with chainsaw whilst removing dead branches and old stubs. Fatal injuries N
Failed to complete the engagement on to the D ring when moving around the canopy. Fractured ribs and head injury N
Removing deadwood when the branch the climber was standing on failed. Upon weight transfer to higher anchor point (rope), this branch also failed. Fractured vertebrae Y
Cut climbing rope with chainsaw whilst removing main stem. Fractured lower limb N
Having removed lanyard to reach a hanger, bowline knot on climbing line came undone. Several fractures N
Rope slipped through mechanical friction hitch. Fractured ribs
Transferred from one work position system to another with an inadequate knot. Fractured lower limb Y
Stem used as anchor for short rope and foot support collapsed during hedge cutting. Fractured vertebrae N
During descent prussik loop slipped off the end of the rope as no stopper knot had been tied. Fractured lower limb Y
Removed lanyard to move up the tree and friction knot did not grip the rope. Fractured vertebrae Y
As the secondary line was thrown around the trunk, primary line flicked over the top anchor point. Fractured upper limb N
Transitioned from ladder when limb used for rope anchor failed. Specified Injury N
Changing position and single anchor slipped off stub. Fractured vertebrae Y
Fell while moving position. Broken vertebrae N
Incident
Consequences
AAAC

2016-17

Ran out of climbing line. Loss of consciousness N
Limb used as anchor for climbing line failed during descent. Fractured vertebrae N
Limb failure. Fractured lower limb N
Fall during descent on main line. Unclear whether limb failure, equipment failure or error with knot. Fractured vertebra Y
Branch dislodged rope from hook attached to crane lowering climber. Fractured vertebra N
Accessed tree with ladder, attached lanyard, limb failed before main climbing line in place. Fracture lower limb Y
Stood on branch which failed as did branch providing anchor for climbing line. Fractured ribs Y
Fell due to issue with mechanical friction device; unclear if item failed or used incorrectly. Fractured lower limb Y
Disconnected lanyard while spiking having placed climbing line around main stem of adjacent tree. Unclear why climbing line did not prevent fall. Fractured lower limb Y

Falls involving two ropes

Two incidents were identified using the methodology referred to above, where the climbers had two points of attachment when their falls occurred. No incidents of this type were identified for 2016-17.

Incident
Consequences
AAAC

2017-18

High anchor point connected to rope failed at a fork located lower then where the main anchor point and lanyard were attached. Injury prevented working for more than 7 days Y
Tied into two dead branches that both failed. Multiple fractures Y

Other types of falls

Contains the remaining fall from height incidents for 2017-18, referred to in AFAG Paper 33/02. One example involved climbing with rope and harness, but it was not established how many points of attachment were used when the fall occurred. The other incidents did not involve ropes.

Incident
Consequences

2017-18

Jumped from rear of van. Injury preventing working for more than 7 days
Front part of ladder used for pruning sank into the ground causing the ladder to topple. Lower limb fracture
Slipped while standing on top of a bank and passing tools over a hedgerow. Should have been reported as a Slip, trip, fall same level. Injury preventing working for more than 7 days
Overreaching on ladder while cutting hedge. Ladder fell despite being held by colleague. Fractured vertebrae
Ladder fell during hedge cutting when ground gave way due to undermining by rabbits. Injury preventing working for more than 7 days
Arborist accessed tree using rope and harness but details of incident including climbing technique and equipment being used at moment of fall not identified. Injured person had no recollection of incident. Multiple fractures including skull and vertebrae
A dead tree began to uproot when a climber reached the top of a ladder placed against it. As the ladder angle changed the climber descended before jumping halfway down. Fractured lower limb

Download the PDF