Safety alert issued after falling tree branch causes camper fatality

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Friday, 9 April, 2021 - 12:15
Policy & legislation

WorkSafe Victoria recently issued a safety alert to holiday camping and caravan park owners to control the risk of falling trees and branches following an incident in which a camper at a holiday park died when a branch fell on his tent.

The man had set up camp in his allocated camping spot locating his tent under a tree canopy, and a large branch fell on his tent in the night as he was sleeping.

The safety alert said all trees pose some level of risk of falling branches or trunks, and large trees with a high potential for failure in populated areas pose the highest level of risk.

Signs to deter people from camping under potentially dangerous trees should not be relied upon as the only means of reducing the risk associated with falling trees or branches.

To reduce the risks to safety from falling trees or branches, the alert said employers and self-employed persons should:

  • conduct a regular site inspection of all trees, especially after significant wind events
  • engage a suitably qualified expert on a regular basis to assess the trees on the campsite and provide a report on any at-risk trees or branches which need removing
  • appoint someone to monitor weather forecasts
  • exclude activities in the fall zone of trees that present an unacceptable level of risk