Tree Work project evaluation

Overview

The Tree Work project was a collaborative initiative led by SafeWork NSW, in partnership with NSW Fair Trading and the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA). The project was conducted between March 2017 and June 2018 and included communication and educational activities and a visit program conducted by SafeWork NSW inspectors, to raise awareness and promote industry understanding of safety in conducting tree work services.

ZEST Health Strategies was engaged to conduct post-project research, which sought to understand the reach and effectiveness of the project as well as changes to the industry’s knowledge, attitude and capabilities before and after the project’s completion.

Benefits of the evaluation

This evaluation may inform future collaborative projects and generate insights into issues within the tree work industry. In line with our graduated compliance approach, the evaluation may also provide us with recommendations to consider additional regulatory methods to influence action, including incentives and/or compliance activities.

Evaluation methods

This research involved two post-project surveys – one with general industry and one targeted at a smaller cohort of those who had been involved in the visit program component of the project. The surveys were both administered using a mixed mode approach - through the telephone and online.

Evaluation findings

Awareness of tree work communication activities and changes to behaviour:

  • 70% of respondents said that they had seen, read, or heard information about tree work safety in the previous 12 months.
  • 40% indicated they had accessed this information via social media (eg Facebook, Twitter), over 35% through print materials and over 30% from websites.
  • 12% of respondents indicated that the information caused them to change the way in which they managed the safety of tree work in their business.

Knowledge and attitudes to tree work safety practices:

  • 84% of respondents indicated that ‘working at heights’ was a ‘major hazard’ for their business.
  • There was an increase in the percentage of respondents from pre-intervention findings in their approaches to managing the risks associated with working at heights, working near power lines, working with machinery, excessive noise and plant equipment, and lone or isolated work. However, the results indicated that there were some areas of risk management for working at heights that could be strengthened.
  • The majority of respondents indicated that they inspected their equipment used in the performance of tree work ‘after every job’. This ranged between 78% for wood chippers to 89% for climbing equipment.

Further information

To read the conclusion and recommendations, a copy of the full report is available.

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