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Safety alert issued after farm worker killed by falling tree

Tuesday, 6 August, 2019 - 10:45
Policy & legislation

WorkSafe Victoria recently issued a safety alert highlighting the importance of maintaining a no-go zone and effective communication when felling trees and branches.

The alert was issue following an incident in which a farm worker was struck and killed by a falling tree.

The incident occurred while he was helping a farmer cut down trees and create a burn pile. The farmer had not seen the incident and discovered the deceased within the work zone.

WorkSafe Victoria wants to raise awareness of safety issues involving:

·         tree and branch felling hazards

·         methods of communication (e.g. handheld radios)

·         lines of sight for machine (e.g. chainsaws) operators

·         lack of training or awareness of risks


The alert said there are a number of recommended ways to control risks, and observed that tree felling can be a hazardous activity.

As such, employers need to provide systems of work that ensure safety, including:

·         removing people from the potential tree felling zone (at least a distance of 1.5 lengths from the hazardous tree)

·         keeping people at least a distance of two crown widths from trees when broken limbs are visible

·         keeping all people within the line of sight of machine operators, or within designated safe areas

·         utilising appropriate communication methods to confirm safety and tree clearances

keeping other workers, bystanders and children away from the work area