A ‘Day in the Life Of’ - WDH Tree Maintenance Officer

Published 5 February 2020

My name is Lee and I am employed as a Tree Maintenance Officer for WDH. My work involves carrying out work to trees on WDH land which can include climbing in to the tree canopy to cut back overgrowth, remove damaged limbs or a full tree removal if the tree has been assessed to be dead, diseased or damaged posing a risk to people or nearby property.

Health and Safety is the most important aspect of my work to make sure that no harm is caused to others by trees being unsafe. This also applies to how I carry out my own work and so everything I do is done carefully, safely and in accordance with best arboricultural working practice.

I arrive for work at the WDH depot at 7.30am to meet other members of the Community Safety (Landscapes) Team and discuss jobs to be carried out through the day.Consideration is given to various issues such as the weather conditions, location of each job and their priorities. We also learn of any work that is considered urgent due to possible tree failure or work required from the previous day.

Tree maintenance equipment is selected and loaded on to the vehicle. Checks are made to ensure all the equipment is in safe working order and meets all safety regulations.

When we arrive at site, risk assessment and discussions are had between the Tree Maintenance Team to discuss safe working practices and who will be carrying out specific tasks.Before beginning  work on a tree, discussions are also had with neighbouring residents to inform them of the work involved and to address any concerns.Different types of tree maintenance work carried out by the Landscape team include: 

  •  Felling
  •  Crown lifting and thinning
  •  Remedial pruning
  •  Dismantling trees using climbing methods and the use of mobile elevated working platform (MEWPS).
  •  Stump grinding
  •  Planting.

Should the work involve climbing high in to the tree canopy then the designated climber will ensure a safe and efficient route has been selected to access the tree. Equipment used consists of hand saws, chainsaws, frictions aids, and winches. The climber will control the site and ensure that good forms of communication are constant with the ground staff whilst dismantling/pruning operations are being carried out.

Ground support also assist and give guidance to the climber. They provide further assistance by:

  • the safe lowering of branches;
  • keeping the site clear always;
  • ensuring members of the public are kept at a safe distance during any controlled lowering of branches;
  • shred branches as and when required; and
  • sharpening and fuelling of saws.

Once each job has been completed then site is left clean and tidy ensuring all trip hazards have been removed, paths are clear, and the site is safe for pedestrians. At around 4.00pm I return to the depot to carry out chainsaw maintenance, unloading all wood chip and logs. Equipment is then prepared ready for the start of the next working day.   

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