Safety spotlight on tree work compliance

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.
Monday, 19 September, 2022 - 12:15
Policy & legislation
New South Wales

SafeWork NSW inspectors recently commenced visits to businesses in the tree work industry across the state to improve safety and compliance in the sector.

The campaign aims to raise awareness in an industry that continues to have too many serious incidents, said SafeWork NSW executive director of compliance & dispute resolution, Matthew Press.

“Every NSW tree worker has the right to a safe and healthy workplace. Sadly, since March 2018 there have been over 270 incidents in the industry,” he said.

“During that time workplace compensation payments have cost the NSW workers compensation system over $49.5 million, with a considerable amount of potential under-insurance identified in this sector also.”

Inspectors will be visiting businesses that undertake arborist activities such as tree mulching, lopping, and removal, and will focus on the highest incidents areas such as falls from heights, being struck by falling objects, and safe use of woodchippers.

“Inspectors will also be verifying that all workers undertaking traffic control work on or adjacent to public roads hold a traffic control work training card and will be educating operators on traffic control training requirements,” said Press.

“Referrals will be made to the NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority if non-insurance or under-insurance is suspected during the visits, with fines of up to $3600 for undertaking work without a necessary licence or authorisation.

“Planning is key when conducting tree work. Whether you are a business owner or worker, everyone has a responsibility to ensure workplaces are as safe as possible.”