Safety Bulletins

Categories: Safety Bulletins

AFAG Initial Notifications - 2024

Arboriculture & Forestry Fatalities

April 2024 - AFAG Fatal Notification - Struck by a tree
Initial notification is that a worker was crushed and killed by a tree while clearing windblown trees.

Key messages to promote

Being struck by a tree, or branches, during felling or other tree work is a significant cause of death and major injury in forestry, arboriculture, and other land-based industries. Tree work is common, and the risks need to be managed.

  • Anyone involved in tree work, including felling, must be trained and competent for the task being done. Keep other people well away from work areas.
  • Tree work must be planned and supervised. Check trees for signs of decay and other factors that may affect felling or the work to be done. Where necessary set up exclusion zones.
  • Select suitable equipment. Mechanised means of felling, eg harvesters, grapple saws and tree shears, should be considered and used where appropriate.
  • Look out for dead wood, insecure/unstable branches, and broken tops in the tree to be cut, and in adjacent trees.
  • During felling, keep other people more than two tree lengths away.
  • Keep the escape route and work area, clear of obstructions.
  • Emergency arrangements should include first aid provision and ability to quickly contact emergency services.

Links to relevant published guidance (HSE and industry publications)

Guidance can be found on the HSE Tree work health & safety web site, the Arboricultural Association and the Forestry Industry Safety Accord (FISA) website.



April 2024 - Fatal Notification - Struck by an object (tree)
Initial notification is that a person was crushed whilst unloading tree trunks from a forwarder trailer.

The HSE are sharing these notifications. Because the incidents are under investigation exact details will not be available and will not be provided with these notifications (either because the facts haven’t’ been established or release may prejudice enquiries).

Sharing of these notifications helps to raise awareness of broad themes around risk management and promote safety messages.

These notifications should not be seen as a definitive record of the number of fatalities in any particular period or sector of industry (some fatalities may turn out to be not reportable, or be allocated to other HSE Sectors when details are fully known eg amenities). Formal figures are released annually through HSE’s ‘Fatal injuries in Great Britain’ report: Statistics - Fatal injuries in Great Britain (

Additionally the HSE may also share relevant agricultural initial notifications when sent out to agricultural stakeholders particularly if they may be of use to the forestry / arboriculture industries, for example situations that are common to all sectors eg relevant machinery incidents, chainsaw injuries, and working at height matters.

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