Single incident

Tree worker

incident database

Fill out our simple 'Tree worker incident form' and play your part in improving the safety of our industry with our crowd-sourced data.

The Arboriculture industry statistically is one of the most dangerous professions in the world. It is imperative that the health and safety within our industry keeps evolving. It is our responsibility as Arborists to implement the safe work practices on our job sites, to wear all relevant PPE, to train apprentices and new hires in the correct way without allowing bad habits and potentially dangerous techniques.

We need to analyze our own incidents, learn from them, and figure out where mistakes were made and how the incident can be avoided/prevented in the future. We have to share these stories and experiences with our colleagues, and if possible to an even broader audience through social media and industry events.

Our goal is to create the most comprehensive 'Tree Worker incident database' that includes close calls and injuries. This database outlines the type of injury, the cause, a detailed description of the incident, factors leading to the incident and what could have been changed to avoid the injury (in the opinion of the contributor).

Date of incident09/28/2017
IncidentLoss of control in directional felling
Location of incidentVancouver, BC
Map It
Age of impacted party36
OutcomeProperty damage
Type of incident
  • Tree failure
Type of equipment involved
  • Chainsaw
Action taken
  • No action taken
Involvement of contributorWitness/Onsite
  • Sunny/mostly sunny
Causes of the incident
  • Unaware of surroundings
Description of incident

1.While conducting directional felling of black cottonwood with mechanical assistance (excavator), a rope installed at approximately 50% of the tree's height was secured to a port-a-wrap on the bucket of the excavator.
2.An undercut was placed in the tree in the direction of the intended lay, and the backcut was commenced with the rope pre-tensioned by the excavator.
3.While nearing completion of the backcut, it was apparent that the tree kerf was opening on the side of the stump. Direction was given to the excavator to pull, but control was already lost due to hinge failure. The tree went 90 degrees to the low-side off intended lay and struck a fence as well as other property items at occupied housing.

Contributing factors

-Falling whole tree within 2 tree lengths of occupied buildings
-Species profile/fiber weakness
-Prioritize lay rather than mitigate by changing direction/position of excavator
-Overconfident in capabilities of machinery

Incident review and preventative measures

Take extra precautions where species profile, proximity to buildings, and potential for unanticipated loads and leans exist. Climb and remove weight and extension prior to felling trees with those conditions. Prioritize the safest fell, not the most expedient cleanup.