MARK DANIELS - Adviser on visitor and occupational health and safety at historic buildings, parks, gardens, coast and countryside

VSCG and NTSG

VSCG logo

The VSCG is the Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group. Here is a link to its web site - www.vscg.co.uk.

The NTSG is the National Tree Safety Group. Here is a link to its web site - www.ntsg.org.uk.

I've created this page so that the recent publications from these two groups remain prominent. Both sources of guidance are referred to in the situational examples that accompany HSE's internal guidance for inspectors - ‘Guidance for FOD in responding to (non-construction) public safety incidents where section 3 HSWA applies’.

VSCG_200_COVER

4th January 2012

Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group guidance - new edition published

The Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group (VSCG) has published a completely revised and expanded edition of its successful booklet "Managing visitor safety in the countryside". The new booklet reflects the latest thinking on assessing benefits and risks and takes account of case law established since the last edition in 2005.

A full description of the contents and details of how to obtain copies can be found here - www.vscg.co.uk/publications/. There is a link from this page to Chapter 2, which deals with the guiding principles for managing visitor safety in the countryside.

5th December 2011

National Tree Safety Group guidance published

The National Tree Safety Group (NTSG) was formed in 2007 to agree a nationally recognised approach to tree risk management. The group is unique in that it is composed of organisations from both the public and private sectors that all came together to agree on a common approach on how tree owners should manage their trees for safety in a way that is proportionate to the risk posed and defendable should the need ever arise.

The Group has now published (albeit with a subdued launch) its long-awaited guidance document - "Common sense risk management of trees". The guidance has been produced over a period of five years following the commissioning of new research into trees, their benefits and people’s attitudes to risk. There was extensive public consultation on early drafts and considerable effort to draw together all the various stakeholder views, concerns and priorities.

This new guidance document provides advice for the tree owner that is succinct, comprehensive, but most of all, practical in its application. It helps all those responsible for trees – from owners and managers of large tracts of land through to those with responsibility for single trees – who wish to be reassured that they are fulfilling their duty of care to occupiers, visitors and passers-by alike. The broad spectrum of member organisations of the NTSG is reflected in the scope of the advice within the document, which covers trees growing in forests and estates in remote areas, through land that has occasional public access, to land and individual properties where there is frequent public access. The document also provides advice on understanding the risks from trees, and appreciating and managing this risk with a balanced rationale. It details what is required legally for a tree owner to fulfil his/her duty of care. It also uses a number of case study scenarios to demonstrate how the guidance might be applied in various real-life situations.

The guidance is available at three levels, each available as a free download with hard copy also available. It can be obtained from the Forestry Commission’s publications website www.forestry.gov.uk/publications:

 1. Common sense risk management of trees
  (the main guidance document – £19.99 plus P&P for hard copy)

 2. A Landowner Summary
  (for estates and smallholdings)

 3. Managing Trees for Safety
  (for the domestic tree owner)

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FCMS025
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