Arbor Age

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Eye Safety

A revolution in eye safety is on its way.

While many of us are aware of the possible risk of eye injuries, the most important aspect of prevention involves the use of safely glasses. Men are more likely than women to sustain an eye injury but very few men wear adequate eye protection when at work or when working around the house.

While approximately half of all eye injuries occur at home, there is still too many eye injuries occurring in the workplace as the figures below indicate:

  • Per day – 600 workers worldwide suffer eye injuries
  • Per year – 2.5 million eye injuries reported
  • 90 per cent are preventable by wearing eye protection

Safe Eyes®

Safe Eyes® mesh safety goggles are an innovative eye protection product, designed and developed by Kiwi Ideas Co. Ltd, New Zealand and now sold by Tree Care Machinery Australia wide.

Safe Eyes® patent stainless steel mesh goggles were originally developed for forestry workers, but are now used in well over 60 different industries.

Safe Eyes® are available in two different mesh sizes, standard 0.7mm aperture and fine dust mesh 0.4mm aperture.

Safe Eyes® have:

  • Patented mesh
  • Will not fog
  • Light and comfortable to wear
  • Flexible and durable

Use them, abuse them, bend them, squash them – they will continue to perform.

Here’s what the customers say about Safe Eyes.

“Excellent product, don’t fog, don’t sweat, easy to wipe clean in the rain. I can fold them and put them in my pocket. Perfect for working with a chainsaw in the bush. The soft rubber fitting means a total seal on my face.” – Kerry

“I certainly wouldn’t be without them.”

Mark Hewitt of Hewitt Building Limited, Carterton

“After first looking at Safe Eyes, I thought the rubber edge fitting the face would become irritable. However I soon found that it wasn’t irritable at all; it didn’t cut into your face or feel sharp. The viewing area was not restricted in any way and over a few weeks, no object passed through the mesh at all. I could even keep my eyes open with grass clippings flying into my face, something you just can’t do with standard glasses. I wear them every day.” – Brian Callister

Lawnmowing, Masterton

“These are a must! My husband has a pair but won’t let me wear them so need my own!” – Barbara Chapman, Albany

“We have found Safe-eyes invaluable after many close calls with olive branches springing back up as we raked the fruit off the taller branches during harvest. For the first harvest in 6 years we didn’t have to stop to treat face or eye scratches. Also never ever fogged up on colder days and we could see the fruit clearly! We can’t recommend them enough.” – Paul & Suzie Adamson, Harewood Estate, Masterton

Protect your eyes with a pair of Safe Eyes®. Go to www.treecaremach.com.au and order online or visit their showroom at 29 Bennet Ave, Melrose Park. S.A. 5039.

May 27, 2020 / by / in ,
Climbing Arborists And EWP Operators

As I write this, we are finally seeing green again, after a year’s worth of rain fell in a matter of days – with heat, storms and humidity at record levels – no wonder everyone is looking forward to the winter.

At TFT we are busy with a full cohort of students, some who are graduating as trade and Diploma level arborists and some who are just beginning the journey towards achieving their goals.

Become a Good Climber

One of the commonest questions we get to our office is from individuals wanting to know what it takes to become a good climber. This is often almost echoed by the calls from employers who are either wishing to upskill their current climber or looking for a new one due to the current climber moving on to another employer.

What Is It That Makes A Good Tree Climber? Could An EWP Ever Take Over The Role Of The Climber?

Here are a few things that come to mind regarding the general requirements industry have for a tree climber role:

  • Must be qualified as an arborist at least to Certificate III in Arboriculture
  • Must be a safe operator with a good WHS knowledge and must ensure everyone will like working with them in the crew

Can They Drive A Truck And Reverse A Chipper? Can They Also Fix And Maintain The Truck And Chipper?

  • Must have a current working knowledge of all arboricultural machinery equipment and processes including the following areas:
  • PPE
  • Ropes and rigging equipment
  • Safe operation and maintenance of stump grinders, loaders, chippers, chainsaws and any other arboricultural-related equipment
  • Must be able to run a crew and organise work sites
  • General life skills are required
  • Will be required to identify trees correctly
  • Must communicate well with clients
  • Demonstrate knowledge in all aspects of the arboricultural industry
  • Must have the ability to maintain paperwork in good order
  • Would be good if they have good computer and business technology skills
  • Must be physically fit and able to carry out the works required?

There is probably a lot more that I could add here but I think you would have the general idea that requirements for a climbing arborist are quite demanding and climbing arborists often have to work under immense pressure and, even though they have excellent equipment and systems to access and work in trees, strains, sprains, musculoskeletal disorders, long term injuries and bodies wearing out are often common issues.

Use of EWPs

EWP or climber, do we need to climb at work anymore? What are some of the pros and cons regarding the use of an EWP?

Pros

  • No sick days, no heatstroke, no complaining
  • Don’t need a rescue climber on site
  • Won’t need to take long weekends and holidays
  • Reduces fatigue and easier on the body
  • Can be more suited to the older climbers
  • Good for any climber to give them a break
  • Machines are tested and load rated to a safe working load and contain many sensors and micro switches for operator protection
  • Generally the safety devices fitted as standard won’t allow operation unless the machine is correctly set up and on a stable base

Cons

  • Purchase price can be akin to that of a small house or a really nice Ute
  • Maintenance and service costs add up over time including 10-year rebuilds and retirement costs
  • Safety features are all good as long as they don’t go wrong!
  • If ground conditions are not suitable for supporting the machine, it can overturn
  • Some sites are just not able to be accessed using an EWP
  • You always need a higher reaching machine no matter how far your current one is able to reach

TFT believes that in our industry climbing arborists will always be required for areas with no access for machinery and there will always be a need for specialised climbing tree work experts and canopy explorers carrying out scientific studies and the like.

Continuing innovation and development could see the arb industry having access to EWP machines that will enable access to all areas as they say and will maybe equal or even negate the role of the average climbing arborist over time.

“The modern world of arboriculture is a far cry from the days that we just felt lucky to be doing a job using big, noisy equipment and lifting heavy things.

Making the effort and spending the time to study and achieve the relevant arboricultural qualifications will lead you on a lifelong journey in one of the most diverse industries I know and build you a skill base that you can use anywhere in the world.”

Be WHS Compliant

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 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 that all workers are trained in their roles and deemed competent and current in their required skills.

Penalties for non-compliance with the work health and safety act can be quite severe so you must maintain compliance and currency of your trade qualifications.

It’s really important to update your certification levels regularly over time as new techniques and standards are developed and updated fairly often it is recommended that regular updates are carried out and documented.

“TFT believes that in our industry climbing arborists will always be required for areas with no access for machinery.”

One of the best ways to maintain currency is to undertake a refresher update for the relevant unit of competency and receive an update certificate. Refreshers are generally carried out in a shorter time frame than a full training course consisting of an assessment and update of current skill levels which generally picks up and corrects any bad habits that may have crept in over time. To be able to be recognised as a qualified person within the arboricultural industry the general requirements are that you will complete an apprenticeship training or RPL process to achieve the AHC30816 Certificate III in Arboriculture, which is currently accepted as the minimum industry standard requirement to be able to be considered as a trade level qualified working arborist.

Tree keepers are becoming better educated and are demanding quality work to be carried out to at least the requirements of Australian standards and increasingly are asking to see evidence of qualifications, including their currency and the subject list of units undertaken, as well as proof of adequate insurance, prior to engaging a contractor.

The pathway to achieve the Certificate III in Arboriculture qualification involves the completion of 23 industry endorsed units of competency that have been engineered approved and nationally mandated by industry working groups and government funded skills organisations.

Once you Complete the Certificate III in Arboriculture Why Not Take the Next Step and Follow the Pathway to the Diploma of Arboriculture

Once you have achieved the Certificate III in Arboriculture or want to consolidate and recognise your industry experience, the next step is to continue to progress within the arboricultural industry and to follow the pathway from trade level working arborist and take it to the next level by undertaking the AHC50516 Diploma of Arboriculture.

To achieve the Diploma you will begin a journey that will see you develop and gain an intimate and considerable working tree knowledge. You will be educated through face-to-face training and assessment, resulting in the completion of the 10 nationally recognised industry endorsed units of competency making up the Diploma that have been engineered approved and nationally mandated by industry working groups and government funded skills organisations to ensure that achieving this qualification will enable you to operate with the highest standards with the required skills as a Business owner, lead arborist, tree officer arboricultural manager or consulting arborist in the arboricultural industry.

At TFT we believe the message is finally getting through regarding the importance of training and qualification and the benefits that it can bring to everyone including the trees. We are also so very proud that, through high quality education and training, and working within the national training package, we are seeing extremely high standards of arboricultural prognosis and tree care.

New Workers

A tried and tested process that we at TFT have been suggesting for several years now is proving to be so true regarding the almost everyday question we get from employers which is: “We need a new groundie climber or consulting arborist to join our operation”

New workers don’t grow on trees unfortunately, but if you want to have reliable professional staff you have to be prepared to invest in them.

The government have realised the skills shortage and the importance of our industry and there is considerable support available for organisations that are investing in and training their staff.

One of the best sources for new staff often overlooked is that some of the best new recruits could actually come from within your company, where a current employee is encouraged and supported to step up to the plate and develop new skills, while to some extent learning on the job and continuing to earn their keep at the same time.

When this process is coupled with the journey through the arboricultural Certificate III or the Diploma qualifications and you are prepared to work with your trainee and their training organisation, the outcome is a well-rounded competent and qualified staff member that is a real asset to your business.

We at TFT recommend employing as many new recruits as you are able to support but bear in mind that apprenticeship supervision is recommended to be one qualified worker to one apprentice.

Various incentives are available to assist employers and students that are eligible.

As your apprentice is working their way through the training process they will steadily begin to repay your investment in their future by becoming more useful and able to operate more efficiently within your company.

By the time they graduate they will probably go on to become your next lead climber crew leader or manager and could also be helping to train your next apprentice to keep your company evolving.

If your apprentice decides to leave and move on once they are qualified, then at least you will have had some return on your investment while they were employed with you and if you get the balance right then there will always be upcoming apprentices that will keep the cycle flowing giving you access to staff that already know your business and systems that will continue to provide a return on the investment you have made in them.

Training is as important as the servicing of vehicles and machinery. After all, workers are the machinery that you run and need to maintain to enable the smooth operation of your business.

Training at TFT

At TFT we conduct the majority of our training and assessment at our modern training centre with access to in house trainer assessors, we supply all the required up to date tools equipment, local worksites and resources.

We take our students on a journey which begins with their enrolment and continues through the individual units of competency that collectively make up the qualification with regular face to face classroom sessions and issuing of assignments to be completed in the workplace. We work with apprentices, the self-employed, persons looking for a career change and employers to ensure students are able to progress efficiently and meet the volume of learning and performance requirements of the relevant qualifications.

“Any tree particularly if it is lucky enough to be under the supervision of a TFT qualified arborist will be a very happy tree indeed.”

Training for Trees is a registered training organisation (RTO). We are completely independent and are not auspiced, attached to or operating under the direction or licence of any other RTO or parent company. This means we are personally able look  after our students and employers at  every step of their journey and beyond.

It has been proven that independent training and assessment increases staff retention safety awareness productivity and efficiency.

Remember to schedule in regular refresher and update training sessions. If you want to be officially classified as a qualified arborist you will need to complete the appropriate level of qualification:

  • AHC30816 Certificate III in Arboriculture or
  • AHC50516 Diploma of Arboriculture.

“Safety Rules”

Check out your eligibility for funding. Enrol now for the next intake Certificate III Arboriculture and Diploma. Now booking chainsaw courses running regularly (all levels), EWP Licence, First Aid, Working at heights, Chipper, Stump grinder, Pole saw and AC/DC. Contact us for your qualifications, short courses VOC, RPL and refresher training. Train with us and leaf qualified.

See our website www.trainingfortrees.com.au for details or email [email protected]

May 26, 2020 / by / in ,
Using A Broker

What should small businesses look for?

Equipment financing is a critical component of small business decision-making, having the potential to facilitate uninterrupted operations and provide an avenue to growth, and for businesses considering using a broker there are a number of factors to keep in mind.

Making the right decision for your business can provide both immediate and ongoing benefits, and it can be beneficial to keep an eye on long-term goals and expectations.

As noted by Finlease Founder and CEO Mark O’Donoghue, businesses seeking out a broker should consider whether the broker has experience in their particular industry, along with the broker’s capacity to provide a specialised and flexible service.

“It’s the expertise of the broker that’s going to deliver the right outcome, and it’s probably no different to the arborist figuring out what machinery he needs to take to what site to perform what function,” Mark told AA.

“If you’re dealing with a decent broker, that’s what they do all day – it’s all about understanding the appropriate structures, and what levers are going to do what.”

What to look for: a specialised and flexible service offering Highlighting the importance of industry knowledge, Mark observed that a broker should have a thorough understanding of the type of equipment commonly used in a particular industry, providing insight into why a business needs to buy equipment and the financial justification for the purchase.

This type of knowledge should be underpinned by a preparedness to accommodate business owners, who may need assistance outside of typical business hours.

“A good broker should be available on his mobile after hours, often on the weekends,” he commented. “Similarly, if you need a set of finance documents signed, the broker should be seeing the client, either at their office or the site that they’re working at.

“If you think of brokers as being very similar to their clients, in other words they’re small businesses themselves, they need to have good service offerings to make sure they maintain their clients a long time.”

In addition to this, for businesses considering using the services of a broker, it is important to take into account what the market is saying.

“I think anyone looking at a broker should look to see what’s the independent feedback about that broker,” Mark told AA. “Do a little bit of research to see that they’ve got happy clients – if they’ve got happy clients, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be happy.”

The wider perspective: providing additional benefits for businesses

Mark noted that brokers should have a broader understanding of their client’s business operations and requirements beyond finance, observing that “a good broker should be doing more than just organising money”.

By way of example, he pointed to the federal government’s instant asset write-off, which was expanded last year to eligible businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million, applying to assets that cost less than the threshold of $30,000.

“Brokers need to make sure that their clients know that if they buy a piece of machinery for $25,000, that they can immediately claim that as a deduction on their profit/loss account, despite the fact that they might put it on finance over five years,” Mark explained.

“However, it would be important to use a chattel mortgage, where you are shown to be the owner from a tax point of view, as opposed to a lease, where you’re not the owner, because you’ll miss out on the depreciation.”

Mark additionally stressed the importance of maintaining a productive client-broker relationship over time, pointing to the long-term benefits that can be delivered.

“A broker should do everything possible to ensure they’ve got a really happy client, and they’re going to keep them for 20 years,” he commented.

“Once the broker knows your information, they can continue to help you every year, year in, year out, with very little work done by you, because they already know your story and the financial situation of your business.”

In our next instalment in this series we will further look into how brokers organise equipment financing for small businesses in the tree work industry.

May 25, 2020 / by / in ,
What Are You Lifting?

Following correct lifting techniques will help prevent injury so you can function at your best.

When lifting, we’ve all heard the words: “Bend with your knees!” This is correct, but it’s not the only way to help prevent injury to your back and spine when lifting. Lifting injuries are a common cause of back pain. However, you can protect yourself against damage with good lifting habits.

When you lift, your spine is put under stress. Twisting or jerking while lifting and carrying can injure the small joints of the spine. The discs that separate the vertebrae (spinal bones) and the ligaments, which hold the vertebrae together, are also at risk. The discs are composed of a jelly-like core, surrounded by a strong fibrous ring. With repeated and unsafe lifting, the fibrous ring or its supporting ligaments may tear or rupture. This is commonly known as a disc bulge or herniation.

Lifting while bent forward will increase the stress on your spine. Contributing to this stress are factors like the weight of the load, how far it is held from your body, how often and how fast you lift, and how long you hold the load.

To protect your spine from injury, always attempt to take the following steps:

  1. Get a firm footing with your feet apart for a stable base
  2. Bend your hips and knees instead of bending at the waist. This allows the leg muscles to take the load and not the spine
  3. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Abdominal muscles support the spine when lifting
  4. Ensure you have a strong grip and the load is as close to you as possible
  5. The closer it is to your spine the less force it exerts on your back
  6. Brace yourself for the lift but continue to breathe normally through the lift
  7. Lift steadily and do not jerk the load. Look straight ahead, not down
  8. Keep your back straight and avoid twisting or bending to the side
  9. To lower the object, place your feet as you did to lift, tighten stomach muscles and bend your hips and knees
  10. The most dangerous position for your lower back is the combination of forward bending and twisting – this should be avoided at all costs. Reaching for things above shoulder level is another strenuous activity for your back

Recent studies suggest that the back is especially vulnerable to injury immediately following a period of prolonged forward bending or inactivity like sitting for several minutes or sleeping. In fact, the most significant injury predictor is not the task, but in the activities you have performed over the days and minutes prior! Following times of inactivity, a warm-up should be performed before attempting to lift anything, and even then remember to pay extra-special attention to using correct lifting technique. Furthermore, you should never lift anything shortly after rising from bed.

If you have gotten an injury from lifting, or you do a lot of lifting in your day, this can put stress on your back and may cause a misalignment in your spine. This misalignment is called subluxation and prevents you from functioning at your best. The best thing to do is have a thorough spinal check-up by a corrective chiropractor.

If you would like more information, contact the team at Chiropractic Central on (02) 9418 9031 or email them at [email protected]

May 24, 2020 / by / in ,
Starting A Business

The importance of writing a business plan.

Starting a business can be a rewarding experience and fulfilling career move, and to give yourself every chance of success it is important to develop a clear and concise business plan, laying out your goals in detail and how you intend to achieve them. There is plenty of scope to build a career in the arboriculture sector, with skills shortages an ongoing issue for employers, and for workers who are dedicated to learning and developing a broad range of experience over time, opportunities will likely present themselves.

Starting a business may well be a natural progression for some, however it is important to be realistic about the challenges ahead, and detailed planning can help determine what it will take to achieve your goals and just how ready you are to take on the extra responsibility.

First Things First: Are You Ready?

Of course, as a starting point it is important to be fully qualified and knowledgeable, and wide-ranging industry experience will serve as a solid platform to begin exploring what sort of opportunities are available.

However, a willingness to take on the responsibility of running a business is also important, and it will help to be clear in your mind about what exactly you want and your preparedness to shoulder additional responsibilities, and to be realistic about your chances of success.

Australian Bureau of Statistics statistics shed light on business movement, showing that there were over 2.37 million actively trading businesses in the Australian economy as at June 30, 2019, with a 15.4 per cent entry rate and 12.7 per cent exit rate in 2018-19.

The statistics show that the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industry division was the only division to post an overall decline in business count in 2018-19, comprising a 6.9 per cent entry rate and 7.8 per cent exit rate.

Business Plan Checklist

Putting together a business plan will help to catalogue what is required to establish and grow your business, and to clearly articulate step-by-step processes and strategies, along with measures of success.

As advised via the business.gov.au website, it is worthwhile taking your time in putting together a plan (along with regularly reviewing it, and potentially taking steps to protect its content), and seeking out professional help if required, with different steps encompassing:

  • Determining who the plan is for – will it be purely for internal purposes, or also used for external purposes (such as when seeking financing)? Being clear on the plan’s purpose can help develop it for the right audience
  • Getting the research done – incorporating decisions about your business structure, marketing strategies and finances, with research helping to develop goals and targets, facilitating a better understanding of where your business needs to be heading
  • Being clear about your finances – in seeking to secure financing, you will need to show how much money you have, how much you need and how much you expect to make in the near future
  • Finishing with a summary – summarise the key aspects of your plan using as few words as possible, including details about your business, market, goals, current financial position and what any financing you’re seeking will help you achieve

The good news is that there are plenty of small business advisory services available, and it is certainly worthwhile utilising resources such as www.business.gov.au to determine what free and low-cost services are available in your area.

May 21, 2020 / by / in , ,
Caring Of Forests

The Australian Arbor Age is launching its new ‘Forestry Feature’, a close look into planting and regeneration of forests, caring of forests, sustainable harvest of forests, haulage of timber and woodchips and more.

The Australian Arbor Age is excited to be launching a new section in this edition, in which we will focus on a broad range of topics relevant to the forestry sector, from the latest equipment releases and associated product reviews, to new and emerging technologies and trends, to general news and industry updates, based on what is happening in the sector both in Australia and overseas.

It’s been a busy start to the year for us here at AA, covering the issues of importance for the wider arboriculture industry, and if the first few months of 2020 are anything to go by, there’ll be no shortage of news and topics to tackle in our newly created forestry section as we head into the mid-year months and beyond.

We’re focused on continuing to deliver our readers insight into the equipment and technologies that can assist in getting the job done, along with providing a comprehensive overview of the issues that are relevant to industry, and this dedicated section provides further scope to address what is happening in the forestry sector.

In particular, AA’s new forestry section will be focusing on:

  • Equipment Reviews – from elevated work platforms to stump grinders, chainsaws, wood chippers and mulchers, encompassing the broad range of equipment that forestry professionals require from one job to the next, we will continue to put new-release equipment through its paces, giving our readers the lowdown on what to expect
  • New technologies and trends – comprising the ever-evolving range of digital technologies and emerging solutions for industry, from mobile technologies, to remote machine monitoring, to drones and more, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the latest developments both locally and internationally, focusing on how industry is evolving
  • Events – when it comes to what’s happening around the country and overseas, we’ll keep you up to date, from conferences, to workshops, to industry forums, encompassing the range of association events that are happening at a local level – if it’s a part of the industry calendar, we’ll be covering it here
  • News – along with our focus on the more technical side of the forestry sector, we’ll be keeping readers informed about what is happening at a broader industry level, covering a range of topics, encompassing both local and international news, over the course of each edition.

In addition to this, we’ll be focusing on an evolving range of topical issues from one edition to the next – from health and safety, to education, training and recruitment, to best business practices and more – providing our readers an overview of what is currently happening in the forestry sector.

From employers to employees, and across the range of businesses that are involved in the forestry sector around the country, we recognise that there are a number of issues that are important to industry, and we’re looking to cover them in this section, which will run alongside the regular features and sections that appear in each edition of AA.

May 20, 2020 / by / in
Getting It Right For Climate Change

In the previous issue, we looked at climate change and how scientists are testing different plants in simulated drought and heatwave conditions.

This month we look at the Dubbo’s Heat Island Amelioration Project.

Solutions to keeping cities cool will involve not only choosing the right plants but in many cases enhancing growing conditions beneath the surface.

In the past, street tree planting methodology has often been based on digging a hole into the sub-base of the road, planting the tree, and then having the unrealistic expectation that the tree will thrive and persist long term in this environment. The result being that many trees planted decades ago are now in poor health and serious decline.

Such was the case in Dubbo NSW when the Regional Council (DRC), in 2015, took the plunge and removed failing trees in its Street Tree Masterplan to trial the Stockholm Method of planting. Dubbo’s Heat Island Amelioration Project will lower street surface temperatures by up to 20 degrees and recently won the Council a top award at the 2019 Local Government NSW Excellence in the Environment Awards. Ian McAlister, who led the project from planning to completion, said the new landscape, overwhelmingly, has the approval of the Dubbo community.

“My expectation is that any methodology that provides a tree with sufficient room for root extension – and a growing medium to provide support and moisture and nutrient holding capacity – will ultimately produce a better performing longer lived tree for our urban environments,” said Ian.

“Our first Stockholm Method plantings were undertaken as part of the Darling Street Beautification project. We used only two tree species – the endemic Angophora floribunda (Rough-barked Apple) and Agathis robusta (Kauri Pine). Both of these tree species are performing exceptionally well, reinforcing the importance of improving the planting conditions of the trees if you want them to thrive in the urban environment.

“This project had a multifaceted approach and considerable cost efficiencies were achieved. It involved the upgrading of the stormwater system in this area, replacement of potable water mains, and improving the connectivity of the City’s cycleway and pedestrian walkway. The Stockholm Method (modified) is comparatively quick to install and low in resource demand.

“For Dubbo, it was extremely cost effective as we used waste rock generated from a sub-division, and compost that we produced at our own facility. The biochar is generally the only external material that we purchase.

“The rock matrix, when securely locked together, resists subsidence in roadways even under heavy loads and the biochar has extremely good moisture holding capacity. This is extremely important in the hotter climes of Australia as it reduces moisture stress on the trees and, even if you require to provide supplementary water, reduces the watering frequency and thus costs.

“The Stockholm Method (modified) to date appears to be an extremely sound planting method. One of the things that I really like about it is the flexibility it offers in terms of adding additional unplanned underground services. It allows for the rock matrix to be excavated, being careful of the tree protection zones. New services can then be laid and the rock matrix replaced allowing for continued, uninterrupted root growth through the vault. Other systems are not quite so flexible but this can be overcome, to some extent, at installation stage through the addition of spare conduits through the vault.

“The major way that I see climate change impacting on the arboricultural industry will be through the tree species selection for our urban areas. As our climate becomes hotter and drier, the rainfall more erratic, and higher intensity storms, the tree species that we use will need to shift to survive and thrive in these changing environmental conditions. This issue will potentially impact all areas of the arboricultural industry. As a professional industry we need to be taking the lead in assisting in the identification of what trees will be suitable for planting into the future for specific regions of Australia.”

Ian said the Stockholm Method – modified or otherwise – is an effective tree planting system that can be used to improve tree planting success throughout Australia.

The three components – rock (250mm – 300mm), biochar and compost/ soil mix are blended off site and then brought in as required. The pits are excavated using a backhoe, then lined with a geotech fabric before the blended material is installed in layers of approximately 300mm.

Between layers a small robotic mini vibrating roller is dropped into the pit. The vibrating roller helps to ensure that the rock matrix is firmly locked together, and the vibrating action helps to fill the voids with biochar/soil/compost between the rocks.

The geofabric is then brought across the top of the rock matrix. This geofabric helps to reduce root penetration into the road base.

The subgrade of the road can then be built to normal specifications across the top of the root vault.

Depending on where the pit is within the streetscape an open-ended concrete vault is installed on top of the rock matrix and backfilled with the rock matrix. This serves a number of purposes – it prevents asphalting against the trunk of the tree, provides additional water / air exchange, allows easy access for supplementary watering to occur in drought / dry conditions and provides the opportunity to install a decorative grate to further enhance the streetscape.

May 19, 2020 / by / in ,
How Industry Is Harnessing Digital Technologies

Digital technologies continue to transform the way we conduct business, encompassing an ever-evolving suite of tools that can be harnessed to enhance and optimise operations, and the arboriculture sector is no exception.

For business owners, it is important to keep up to speed with the latest technology developments, and as digital technologies continue to progress and become increasingly prevalent, businesses that are able to adapt will have an advantage over less flexible competitors.

From mobile technologies to the IoT (Internet of Things), the following is a look at some of the technologies that are fundamentally changing the way we work.

Mobile Technology: Keeping Connected And Informed

The now ubiquitous smartphone is a logical starting point in this list of technologies, with touchscreen mobile devices having become a critical component of business operations across a range of sectors, from the office through to the field, keeping us connected and informed.

From communicating with clients, employees and co-workers, to both accessing and sharing information online, to taking photos and filming video, smartphones have become a hub for an ever-evolving range of functions. Meanwhile, smartphones are being harnessed to deliver increasingly business-specific applications – take, for example, Adelaide-based equipment supplier Tree Care Machinery’s (TCM) efforts to develop an app providing insight into machine operations and a range of safety benefits.

As outlined in the previous issue of AA, this has led to TCM becoming involved in the federal government’s Small Business Digital Champions Project, with TCM Managing Director Shane Cavanagh observing that “businesses that choose to ignore digital technologies will not survive”.

 

Cloud Computing: Keeping Up To Date While On The Go

Cloud computing goes hand-in-hand with mobile technology, providing for on-the-go access to a range of online services, from simple storage of information to interactive software designed to manage and streamline workflows.

Software applications are no longer bound by the limitations of local computing infrastructure, and in the arboriculture industry, with workers potentially spread far and wide across different projects, the benefits can be multifold.

For businesses that are seeking to keep track of multiple jobs, it may be possible to catalogue each job or project, maintaining a historical account of work previously undertaken, regularly updating and detailing the work that is being undertaken, and scheduling future work.

Of course, with all of this information accessible via smartphone, workers can potentially access and update project details while in the field in real time, if required.

IoT: Keeping Tabs On Machine Performance And Operations

The IoT comprises an ever-expanding network of connected devices that collect and share data, providing enhanced insight into different aspects of machine performance and allowing for remote monitoring of operations.

Putting the scale of the IoT into context, the International Data Corporation (IDC) forecast last year that there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices, generating 79.4 ZB of data, in 2025, with this bringing into play a range of opportunities for industry.

In the industrial and automotive category, the IDC expects that, along with an increasing number of connected “things”, more advanced sensors will be deployed, providing further insight into machine functions.

In the arboriculture industry, IoT applications can potentially be utilised across a range of functions, including pinpointing the location of equipment, and monitoring machine health and efficiency, helping to improve productivity and determine when maintenance needs to be undertaken.

May 18, 2020 / by / in ,
EWPS: Planning To Help Manage Risks

Working at heights comes with the territory for arborists, and when using an elevated work platform (EWP) it is essential to plan ahead and routinely observe a range of steps in seeking to manage risks.

Of course, given the risks associated with working at heights, it is important to have the right qualifications and proper training for operating an EWP, encompassing a thorough understanding of operational requirements and safety features.

Safe Work Australia (SWA) notes in its Guide to Managing Risks of Tree Trimming and Removal Work that the common hazards and risks of using an EWP for tree trimming and removal work include:

  • Coming into contact with overhead electric lines and adjacent structures
  • Windy conditions
  • Falls from height
  • Unstable, sloping, uneven or soft ground, such as recently filled excavations, that could lead to the EWP overturning
  • Being struck by falling objects
  • Wildlife-related injuries, such as from wasps, bees, birds and possums

The risks involved need to be properly assessed, and it is important to weigh up a range of factors before commencing operations.

Access: Assessing What’s Required

In determining how a tree should be accessed, a thorough assessment of the work that needs to be undertaken should be carried out, which will encompass the suitability of using an EWP.

SWA advises that, where reasonably practicable, EWPs specifically designed to lift people should be used to access a tree, being able to minimise climbing-associated hazards such as dehydration and fatigue, having been designed as a working platform to prevent the worker from falling.

In deciding whether to utilise an EWP to trim or remove a tree, SWA recommends considering:

  • Is trimming or removing the tree from the ground safer?
  • Are there obstacles present (such as buildings or other trees) that will pose a risk to health and safety, or make access impossible using an EWP?
  • Are underground services present (such as water, gas, telephone and electricity services) that may restrict access or locations to set up temporary platforms?
  • Do overhead electric lines create worker risk due to the EWP’s position?
  • Is the ground level, uneven, sloping, firm or loose, and could this result in the EWP overturning?
  • Can the EWP safely reach the required height?
  • Will the worker need to lean outside the EWP’s structure?
  • Will cutting or lowering of the tree limb, branch or section be impeded by the use of the EWP?

Of course, comprehensive planning and preparation, assessing the unique requirements of each individual project, is critical and will play a key role in determining which type of EWP should be utilised.

Matching The Right Machine To The Task

Across the range of EWPs, from trailer and vehicle-mounted EWPs, to self-propelled EWPs, decked out with booms of varying types and lengths, it is important to match the right machine to the task.

In choosing the type of EWP to use, SWA notes that in addition to determining the sort of work that will be undertaken, ground and weather conditions should be considered, along with the height, reach and lifting capacity required, access limitations and number of workers needed on the EWP.

Of course, along with undertaking thorough planning and preparation, it is important to seek out additional advice when required, particularly so when in doubt about any aspect of using an EWP.

The Guide to Managing Risks of Tree Trimming and Removal Work can be found at the Safe Work Australia website: www. safeworkaustralia.gov.au/

In our next instalment in this series we will talk to the professionals in the industry about the importance of proper protective gear.

May 17, 2020 / by / in ,
Going Places

Being an arborist has its challenges, one of the biggest being able to access areas hard to reach, with small and narrow entrances.

After the tree has gone, perhaps due to disease, safety or simply being in the wrong place – the stump remains and access with a grinder is required. With many arborists offering stump grinding as a service, it’s essential to be able to tackle jobs that arise, that’s why Thor’s Trees purchased two Predator 360 stump grinders.

At under 660mm wide, Thor’s Trees can service with ease, especially houses that are shoulder to shoulder and have difficult access.

The Predator 360 boasts a cutting depth of 355mm and a weight of only 145kg, meaning this machine is going places. In addition, with its fold-over handle, lifting eyes and handles to the front and rear, you can transport it in practically any truck, ute or trailer.

Its central pivot turns a job that should be hard work into something that can be repeated over and over again without tiring the operator.

Lawrence Thor, Managing Director of Thor’s Trees said, “I chose Predator as they’re the best on the market, they have a great reputation and their customer service (through Hansa Products – the local distributor) is excellent.

Lawrence mentioned that the investment was a great choice with a quick ROI compared to hiring one.

“In terms of ROI we managed to pay off the Predator 360 stump grinder in three months thanks to the accessibility to many jobs it enables.”

The manoeuvrable, well built, efficient, powerful machine with a US patented multi-tip cutting system as standard is approximately 30 per cent more efficient than the same machine with finger teeth.

“It has a great swing for such a compact grinder, at 812mm or sixty degrees, it’s unmatched by any other stump grinder on the market.”

Taking on projects of all sizes, Thor’s Trees offers a wide range of services across tree surgery, maintenance, tree felling and removal. The team work with a variety of clients from domestic, through to private and public sector partners, including estate agents, property management, planning development firms, and local schools.

The Predator 360 is the smallest pedestrian grinder available through local distributors Hansa Products. With small handheld grinder attachments, pedestrian models, as well as larger remote-controlled models up to 65hp on offer, there is bound to be a Predator suitable for every stump that need grinding.

For more information visit www.hansaproducts.com.au– Hansa Products are the sole distributor of Predator Grinders in Australia and New Zealand.

May 14, 2020 / by / in ,