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A 2016 Reflection

This year is wrapping up with a list of terrible accidents we don’t want to hear about any more in 2017. This all goes to show how much training matters.

2016-reflectionAs we draw to the close of an extremely busy year, it is normally the time to reflect, relax and recoup with the Christmas break fast approaching and the prospect of recharging with a couple of cold beers and the beach at your feet.

On a sad note, while reflecting on the past year, there have been several deaths and serious injury incidents that have occurred in the tree industry and several that are subject to ongoing investigations and coronial court judgements.

Some of accidents that we are hearing about would appear to be caused by lack of maintenance planning and preparation. While others would sadly just seem to be due to unforeseen circumstances.

At Training For Trees we are committed to encouraging safe work practices and standards and have a close allegiance with WHS who often seek our assistance with their investigations in an independent advisory capacity.

Training and Qualifications

So much is happening at the moment within the arboricultural industry. The new Arboricultural qualifications that have been promised for a while are now current. They have generally been revamped and, as all things new usually do, have made a significant improvement over the old training package.

trainingAll industries are assigned to a specific training package which contain a range of competency units together with packaging rules that specify how a particular qualification such as a Certificate III in Arboriculture goes together and meets the requirements of industry.

They also set industry standards regarding assessment outcomes and specify how training and assessment should be carried out under the rules set by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), who are the national regulator for the vocational education and training (VET) sector.

Training packages are reviewed and managed through a series of organisations as explained below.

Training Matters

Working with powerful machinery requires planning, vigilance and operational organisation. This month we look into the operation of brushwood chippers and stump grinders.

picture0Things at TFT have been pretty busy as a new tax year has begun and we managed to find a bit left in last year’s budget to get some new toys we still get excited for, that’s for sure!

Currently we are trying out some battery powered saws which we are finding surprisingly efficient so will be reporting more on those in due course.

Safe Work Australia has recently released a document with essential guidelines for our industry called “A guide to managing risks of tree trimming and removal work”. This is available to download from their website and appears to be a step closer to the much needed arboricultural industry code of practice that will serve to regulate our industry in the not too distant future.

Serious About Improving Safety

Unfortunately, since the time of writing the last article, we have heard of yet more serious accidents within our industry.

June July 2016 Newsletter

These reports continue to serve to remind us that we work within a high-risk industry. It is so important to be vigilant on site, properly plan your work as well as take the time to properly assess hazards and risks, and implement appropriate control measures.

The majority of injuries reported over the last couple of months involve damage to the left hand and arm. You have guessed it involves one of the best chainsaw designs available to this day, the top handled chainsaw.

There are well-documented operating procedures for the operation of these machines that are readily available to all users. However, there still seems to be an element of confusion about their use with a lot of arguments and uncertainty regarding correct operation and PPE requirements.

Industry Training & the Future of the Arboriculture

The Arboricultural industry has worked with AgriFood SKILLS Council Australia and achieved a defined pathway for ongoing learning & development.

AA DEC-JAN 2015-16-pg14-18_V3-1

From chipper operations to clean-ups, we no longer lack in training package options.

Hi everyone, as I am writing this article the Christmas promotion has been going for the past three months. The decorations and lights are getting dusted down and it looks like summer time is getting revved up for a really hot one.

At Training For Trees we have been kept busy with all sorts of exciting developments and have to say we are looking forward to a relaxing end of year break.

The big news is that as we move forward into a new year and all things good standards in arboricultural training packages following extensive consultation and consideration as to the general expectations of industry are going to be reaching new levels.

Learn From The Industry

IMGP4666 (2)By the time you read this, you may be in time to go and see the QLD Tree Climbing Competition on August 15-16, which will be held near Noosa at a stunning venue.

Climbing competitions are not just about super-fit adrenaline-pumped tree climbing competitors – even though most are all of the above and also work in the industry on a daily basis – they also have an important part to play in an educational sense.

Currently in our industry we do not have an approved code of practice in place as an industry standard for all aspects of our industry. A lot of equipment and techniques are based upon best practice and overseas standards.

The various competitions held annually in most states culminate with the national competition with the winners competing in the world climbing competition.

Knowledge is power and you will always benefit from more.

Storm Season

storm1We have had our fair share of sun crazy hot days and dry weather lately and, I have to say, I am well looking forward to winter.

I was thinking about pending storms, response crews and some of the general chainsaw operation and maintenance standards that we are identifying during regular training and assessment sessions.

We constantly discover during our regular assessment and refresher courses in chainsaw operation maintenance and tree felling – some of the so-called basic competency levels required as standard by our industry – that attention to detail and standards of sharpening chains is sadly lacking.

It would seem that most chainsaw operators do not use any form of file guide or depth gauge setting tool when sharpening their chains because in their opinion they don’t work: “She’ll be right, mate. Just do a freehand cut!”

How To Properly Operate A Pole Saw

operate1Now that it’s a new year, it’s time to consider your strategy for training and how you can keep your existing qualifications up to date.

Within the current WHS legislation there is a general obligation for everyone in the workplace, with a major emphasis on employers, to act with due diligence.

This basically translates to the care that a reasonable person must exercise to avoid harm to others in the workplace.

It’s a pretty open-ended term placing obligations on everyone while they are at work, including employers, the self- employed and employees with the general requirement to carry out their duties.

As responsible operators it is also a requirement for everyone to receive training for their roles and to be deemed competent and current in their required skills.

The Top-Handled Chainsaw

top handledWith recent injuries reported, it’s time to take a look at the proper technique of operating a top-handled chainsaw from a rope and harness or elevated work platform (EWP).

At Training For Trees we have been excited to continue with trials and evaluations of a newly developed chainsaw. It has a unique water-lubricated chain and ample ability to sever/prune tree roots up to 60cm below ground. We tested it in various situations and it performed so well it is now in full production.

Unfortunately we recently heard about two top-handled chainsaw related accidents and injuries. Both incidents involved top- handled saws with climbers working from a rope and harness within the tree canopy. The first incident was a kickback that happened to a climber who was working in a tree and slipped. The chain, which was slowing down but still spinning, cut his left hand knocking off a couple of fingernails which although painful could have been a lot worse.

Taking Care With Stump Grinding

stump-grinding-img1There has never been a better time to keep your qualifications up to date.

As we approach Christmas and the long summer break, I would like to thank all of you who have recently offered feedback regarding the qualification and job role update project that AgriFood Skills is currently undertaking. As a member of its advisory panel it is essential that we continue to receive industry opinion and it enables us to pass this on to our skills council.

Within the current WHS legislation there is a general obligation for persons in the workplace to act with diligence, which is a pretty open-ended term. It places obligations on everyone while they are at work, including employers, the self- employed and employees, with the general requirement to carry out their duties as responsible operators. It is also a requirement that all workers are trained in their roles and deemed competent and current in their required skills.

One way to demonstrate compliance with these requirements is to attend regular training and update sessions to maintain and improve skill levels. Regular refresher training and assessment programs to suit relevant skills are offered by Training For Trees.

Once a competency or qualification is attained, refreshers are a good way to ensure qualifications are kept up to date with the latest requirements.

This helps identify any bad habits that may have crept in and rectify them with further training.


  • AHC30816
    Certificate III in Arboriculture
    Next Date: 10th May, 2017

Short Courses

  • FWPCOT2237 & FWPCOT2239
    Maintain Chainsaw &Trim and Cut Felled Trees (Forestry)
    Next Date: 22nd May, 2017
  • ACDC Chem Cert
    (Weed Spraying) Control weeds, Prepare & apply chemicals, Transport handle & store chemicals
    Next Date: 2nd June, 2017