Domino Danger

A recent incident has brought to the fore once again the dangers of motor manual felling trees. Hung up trees are a major risk associated with chainsaw felling and importantly are a hazard that we know will likely occur on most motor manual felling sites.

  • Tilhill Forestry has mandatory requirements in place to agree and record a plan on how hung up trees are to be dealt with in situations where motor manual felling is taking place. Please refresh yourselves with these requirements and ensure everyone working on site has been fully briefed accordingly before work commences:

Mandatory Requirements

A hung up tree plan must be developed, recorded in writing, and signed off at the Pre-Commencement Meeting. A copy of the plan, together with a copy of TT/86 Hung-Up Trees must be issued to the chainsaw operator and discussed when they arrive on site. When devising the plan you should consider:

  • The site: Consider the location, is there high public access and/or frequency of third party access.
    • Trees that are unlikely to present a risk to the public due to their position may be taped off and left until they can be brought down safely.
  • The people: All chainsaw operators must have the correct felling competency to undertake the work.
    • All operatives must understand how hung up trees are to be dealt with on each site and be instructed that they MUST NOT FELL A TREE INTO ANOTHER TO RELEASE (domino felling).
  • The equipment: There is a range of equipment available that can be used to make hung up trees safe:
    • Machinery – the safest and most efficient way to remove a hung up tree is to use machinery as it removes the chainsaw operator from the danger.
    • Turning bar/strop – either a breaker bar or turning strop can be used to dislodge a hung up tree.

We INSIST that you:

  • Discuss and agree how hung up trees are to be dealt with on site before chainsaw felling starts.
  • If a tree cannot be made safe by turning then call for help, tape the area off and leave it. Never fell the supporting tree or domino fell to knock the hung up tree down.
  • Hung up trees must be considered at the planning stage of the job. Where motor manual felling is required, the work must be planned to minimise the risk of trees becoming hung up. This may include felling patterns and operator selection of trees to reduce the chances of a tree getting hung up.


The simple rules are:

  • Contractors must provide a suitable plan and we have developed a template which can be used by contractors if required
  • The plan is reviewed during the pre-commencement meeting and when new operators arrive on site
  • The plan shall be communicated and understood by all
  • Suitable equipment must be on site at all times
  • Managers and supervisors must test that the controls identified in the plan are available on site

The following documents also provide more information and guidance regarding dealing with hung up trees:

Please ensure that the following message is also communicated to all chainsaw operators prior to work commencing: