Tree work pre intervention survey summary 2016-2017

Overview

The purpose of this research was to establish baseline data regarding current awareness of risk and behaviours undertaken to reduce risk in the Tree Work sector with the aim to:

  • Obtain insight into the barriers and challenges to meet safety standards the industry encounters.
  • Educate the industry on appropriate safe work assessments for the job.
  • Provide guidance material that will enable industry and Safework NSW to effectively engage
  • Discuss and encourage use of the risk management approach in this sector.
  • Empower the consumer to understand their rights when engaging contractors to perform tree work, in particular tree trimming and pruning

Survey

SafeWork NSW engaged an external contractor Jetty Research in October 2016 to conduct a combined telephone and online survey of Tree Work providers to allow Safework NSW to measure knowledge of safety standards and provide a baseline regarding current risks and behaviours in the Tree Work sector.

Objectives:

  • To highlight the industry understanding of their responsibilities around workers compensation and return to work requirements
  • To determine the perceived barriers for business to seek information and advice from Safework NSW
  • Gain knowledge and insight into the industry’s ability and capability to effectively manage the risks associated with the focus areas being:
  • Working at heights
  • Working and maintaining plant
  • Working around power lines
  • Being hit by falling objects

Respondents:

  • 904 PCBU’s were invited to participate
    • A 25 per cent response rate was achieved
  • 228 surveys were completed
    • 115 online and 113 by telephone
  • 66 per cent had fewer than five employees
  • 59 per cent had been operating for more than 10 years
  • 61 per cent operated regionally (North, South and West of Sydney)

Respondents

The respondents were Tree Work providers sourced using the existing SafeWork NSW database and publicly available information listed in Sensis, Gumtree, Airtasker and businesses listed on association websites.

Survey results

The survey results are based on 228 respondents.

Working at heights

PercentageCriteria
95%Are confident in managing the risks
79%Believe it is a major/moderate hazard
78%Use appropriate systems of work for the job as a way of managing the risks

Working with equipment and machinery

PercentageCriteria
94%Are confident in managing the risks
76%Believe it is a major/moderate hazard
70%Ensure operators are competent and trained as a way of managing the risks.

Working around power lines

PercentageCriteria
70%Are confident in managing the risks
63%Believe it is a major/moderate hazard
57%Ensure a safe distance is maintained as a way of managing the risks

Exposure to sun/sun safety

PercentageCriteria
55%Are very confident in managing the risks
38%Are quite confident in managing the risks
7%Are not confident in managing the risks

Managing heat fatigue

PercentageCriteria
51%Are very confident in managing the risks
43%Are quite confident in managing the risks
5%Are not confident in managing the risks

Working around power lines

PercentageCriteria
63%Believe it is a major/moderate hazard
70%Are confident in managing the risks
57%Ensure a safe distance is maintained as a way of managing the risks

Other hazards

PercentageCriteria
98%Are confident in managing the risks associated with being hit by falling objects
94%Are confident in managing risks associated with working with and maintaining plant

When asked about other major hazards, respondents mentioned unqualified, unskilled and illegitimate businesses, working environment, underground services, animals and members of the public/customers.

Workers compensation

PercentageCriteria
87%Have a policy
24%Had a claim from a worker in the past twelve months

Return to work

PercentageCriteria
55%Have a documented plan
54%Have a nominated person responsible for assisting injured workers back to work

Why businesses are reluctant to contact SafeWork NSW for information and advice

PercentageCriteria
56%Advice is more theoretical than practical
47%Perceive that SafeWork NSW doesn’t have the technical knowledge to provide advice
38%Fear any action that SafeWork NSW might take
29%No industry specific information available on the website

Preferred way to receive information and advice from SafeWork NSW

PercentageCriteria
56%Hard copy resources
50%Prefer to visit the SafeWork NSW website and use apps
46%Industry specific one-day workshops
37%Industry specific websites and e-newsletters

Further information

A copy of the full report is available by contacting gipa@safework.nsw.gov.au.

While this work has been undertaken according to valid and rigorous methodology, SafeWork NSW acknowledges that any such research is only the perceptions and actions of a sample of the broader population, so the findings must be taken in context with knowledge of our customers and influences on the way we do our work.