I came across a video on About.com where Amanda Switzer is showing viewers how to stake a tree. The shocking thing for me is that Amanda is only wearing a pair of open toed sandals while wielding a heavy sledge hammer.

The tree may well have been saved (maybe not because; the method of staking is flawed in my opinion) but the operator may well have been exposed to unnecessary risks.

As an employer, or a one man band, what are your views on personal safety?

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what a numpty,no gloves,no boots, and no idea!!!!!
whats the best and correct way to do a risk assesment say working on a block of flats

In my limited experience as a one man band the temptation to use tall step ladders and even ordinary ladders to trim/prune high hedges and trees without another person being present poses the greatest risk to personal and others safety. To that extent and I expect I have been lucky. I have managed to form a very trust worthy relationship with another one man band. Through the Autumn months we share each others hedge/tree trimming jobs so there is never the temptation to take unnecessary risks plus should something unforeseen happen the other person would be able to help or raise the alarm. The arrangement works really well. We sometimes consult on larger jobs to come up with an appropriate price and means we are able to tackle a greater variety of work safe in the knowledge that we will be working safe. .
I was always a little reckless to be honest, however far hotter on it now. Have always worn safety footwear , although did manage to put a nail through my foot the one time i wasnt wearing them!

Ear defenders and googles are now always worn when using most powertools. I did invest in a petrol cutter for the sole reason of being able to use the dust supression water jets as covering my nose with my T-shirt was probably not an acceptable safety method.

I think us smaller businesses take H&S more seriously now though than those that work on sites. I was watching a roofer working the other day with no harness, no hard hat, no safety boots... He was opertaing a cutter with no goggles or dust mask -whilst on a 3rd storey roof.

How their site manager lets them get away with it is beyond me ( as is why the roofer took such a risk)
I agree with david - small businesses do tend to be taking H&S more seriously these days. The ease by which we can hear about others accidents etc serves to warn us so that we can be forearmed with the correct gear.

I try always to use ear defenders or plugs when using any machines and combined helmet/face shield when strimming, hedge cutting and chainsaw work always. On the issue of ladder safety - I invested in a multi-use machine with articulating long-reach hedge trimmer attachment to drastically reduce precarious ladder scenarios. I will be purchasing the long reach pole pruner attachment in the next few days too for some tree pruning work I've got to do.

Believe it or not I only just recently bought an actual proper first aid kit for my van too! Previously there were just a few random plasters kicking about the glove box! I've never had a need but you never know when you may fall out of a tree or chop a finger off!!

As a small and fairly new business there is a pressure to meet expectations with regards professionalism, and high health & safety standards is one avenue of this.

One area that I'm not too hot on, though, is risk assessment. Since my studies and doing work previously for my grandfather I've not had a need for them in my own venture. I plan to expand operations in 2009, however, and envisage this becoming a necessary tool in larger contracts.

Any further thoughts on risk assessments specifically,and indeed the overall H&S at work issue would be considered most interesting to myself and no doubt many more of you.

I take health and safety very seriously, although i dont use any heavy machinery or many power tools, which is my best way at minimising any risk. I have an advice query on foot wear. I have tried safety boots but my feet are too skinny and i end up just covered in blisters. wellies dont seem to last - any recommendadtions, should probably aim this at other girlie maintenance gardeners! all advice and ideas welcome.
"wellies dont seem to last"..... I'm still searching for that elusive pair of comfy, good quality long lasting wellies - and have decided there's no such thing! i wear the cheapest PVC wellies I can get from the local Agricultural merchant, about £6 per pair, and replace every 12 - 18 months when they start to leak....
the best,as in hard wearing and safe boots i used were motorcycle trials wellies,they have steel toecap and steel midplate,i cant find an exact match online,but dunlop do a steel toe and midplate boot,good for spade work.£12.50 online plus p+p, other boots i have had...hunter,argyll,hood, all good. i just use well polished safety boots now,more comfort and ankle support and we keep waders in the van for any deep water/mud

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