Safety Guides

FISA Safety Guides are listed below and are all downloadable for printing direct. They are numbered in the same format as the previous AFAG Safety Guides.

Categories: Safety Bulletins

AFAG Initial Notifications of Arboriculture & Forestry Fatalities

September 2022 - Fatal notification - Contact with machinery - Firewood processor - Initial notification is that a worker operating a firewood processor was killed after becoming entangled with the log feed conveyor.

October 2022 - Fatal notification - Person struck by tree during felling work - Initial notification is that a worker was killed when felling a tree using a chainsaw and a ladder.

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.
  • Mechanised means of felling such as use of grapple saws, tree shears and harvesters are preferred to using chainsaws.
  • 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.

Firewood processors are hazardous machines. There have been numerous serious and fatal injuries often due to crushing and entanglement in the machine or its conveyors. Control the risk of injury in these ways:

  • Check guards and other protective safety devices (including interlock devices) are adjusted and functioning correctly.
  • Where the controls require hold to run or two hands for operation ensure these are functioning and used as designed
  • Make sure the machine is only operated by a single person
  • Ensure the equipment can be stopped and isolated. Do not attempt to adjust or remove blockages without stopping the machine and releasing any stored energy.
  • Ensure operators are adequately trained, including what to do if machinery breaks down.

The HSE are sharing these notifications on a trial basis over the next 6 months. 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.


Additional information

Aerial tree work guides from Arboricultural Association can be found here

A couple of AFAG guides can be found here

Bulk purchase of some of the FISA guides is available - please email for more detail.