Working at Height & TG1: Tree Climbing and Aerial Rescue – A Year On

Published on

November 24 2021

During 2019, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced that any work or activities taking place at height in the arboriculture industry must be compliant with the Work at Height Regulations (2005). This led to extensive industry consultations and research looking at how to provide better guidance and training in climbing, and last autumn, the Arboricultural Association launched Technical Guide 1: Tree Climbing and Aerial Rescue (TG1).

The position of the HSE is that employers have a duty of care to plan and select appropriate work equipment as safe as possible under the Work at Height Regulations 2005. This regulation states that climbing with a fall protection system can be undertaken if the following conditions are met:

  • A risk assessment has shown that the work can be done safely while using that system
  • The use of other, safer work equipment (e.g., mobile elevating work platforms) is not justified
  • The user and a sufficient number of available people have received training specific to the task, including rescue techniques.

The guidance from TG1 now states that when working in the tree, the operator must be supported by two fall protection systems and attached to two load bearing anchor points at all times, unless the risk assessment shows that it would create more risk.

The attachment points of the harness should not be more than 250mm above the anchor points and the slack in the climbing system should be kept to a minimum and not exceed 500mm.

Additionally, the Industry Code of Practice states that operators should be adequately trained for the tasks that they are to undertake and that all training for work at height must be delivered to a nationally recognised (or equivalent) high standard, in a safe, controlled environment, and by competent and experienced individuals.

Working with the Arboricultural Association and the HSE, Lantra ensured that all of our training and qualifications were updated to reflect these changes. We also ensured that they are clearly explained and that operators can be trained to meet the requirements.

All Lantra courses are structured to ensure that climbers are trained in the use of two ropes or a backup fall protection system. The suite of Lantra Aerial refresher courses has also had ‘TG1 2020’ added to the course title so that climbers and employers can demonstrate that everyone is up-to-date and aware of the additional requirements. The courses available are:

  • Tree Climbing and Aerial Rescue (TG1 Update 2020) Refresher
  • Tree Climbing, Aerial Rescue and Use of a Chainsaw from a Rope & Harness (TG1 Update 2020) Refresher
  • Use of a Chainsaw from a Rope & Harness (TG1 Update 2020) Refresher
  • Tree Pruning (TG1 Update 2020) Refresher
  • Aerial Tree Rigging (TG1 Update 2020) Refresher.

To find out more about these courses and where they are delivered, please visit the Lantra website here.

An information booklet with further information on this issue can be found here, and a Q&A from an event last year can be watched below:

Working at Height Q&A