Tree Risk News

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  • 2023-02-03 8:42 AM | Admin (Administrator)

    Any assessment of risk from trees falling should begin with a Tree Risk-Benefit Management Strategy.

    Whether you're a Duty Holder or a Risk Assessor, here are 5 valid reasons why the Strategy is your greatest tree risk asset.

    1 The Context
    A Strategy establishes the context (ISO 31000) of the risk universe in which you're working, sets out your stall, and defines the rules of the game.

    2 What you're doing
    It makes it clear what a Risk Assessor is doing when they're looking at a tree, why they're doing it, and what the limitations are.

    3 The donkey work
    The Strategy does more than 99% of your risk assessments for you.

    4 Underwritten
    Your insurers will be happy to underwrite you.

    5 The truth of the matter
    The Strategy 'speaks truth to power'.

    Tree Risk Expert Witnessspeaking truth to power

    In the extremely unlikely event of an Acceptable or Tolerable risk happening. And a claim is being considered. It's the Strategy that puts you in the best position to disarm an Expert Witness who struggle with risk literacy. Or regulate a Risk Entrepreneur, who profits by talking up the risk.

    The Strategy also gives you defence in depth by speaking truth to Judges, Coroners, and Enforcement Officers.

    If you want to know what a Tree Risk-Benefit Management Strategy looks like, we've got a whole bunch of free templates on our Risk Management page.

  • 2023-01-19 9:58 AM | Admin (Administrator)

    We know from pedestrian data, the centre of built-up areas have a Likelihood of Occupancy that's so high, on average more than one person is exposed to the risk.

    Occupancy is Very High.

    Tree Risk Target People - Very High Occupancy
    More than one person exposed to the risk

    We also know from traffic data, the busiest roads have a Likelihood of Occupancy that's so high, on average more than one vehicle is exposed to the risk.

    Occupancy is Very High.

    Tree Risk Target Vehicle - Very High Occupancy
    More than one vehicle exposed to the risk

    Where we have busy roads next to busy footpaths in towns and cities, we know the combined occupancy of people AND traffic is so high, on average more than one person AND one vehicle is exposed to the risk.

    Occupancy is Very High.


    More than one person AND more than one vehicle exposed to the risk

    We know other tree risk assessment systems systematically undervalue Very High Occupancy. From the training we’ve delivered, we also know tree risk assessors have been poorly trained to recognise both Very High and High Occupancy.

    What all this means is unless you’re using VALID, and have had Likelihood of Occupancy training (it’s really easy once your calibrated), you’ll be undervaluing the occupancy where it matters most.

    If you're undervaluing the occupancy, you'll be undervaluing the risk.

    You’ll be undervaluing the risk by at least a whopping factor of x10 or x100.

    A 1:1M risk might be as high as 1:10K.

    A Low Risk might be a High Risk.

  • 2023-01-08 1:25 PM | Admin (Administrator)

    Taking the 'Defect' Out of Tree Risk-Benefit Management and Assessment, has been updated. It's been published in the NZ Arb's 2022 Spring edition.

    Tree Risk Obvious Defects

    Here's the introduction to whet your appetite.

    "We’ve grown up being told that when we assess tree risk we should be looking out for tree ‘defects’. The problem with this approach is what we're commonly labelled as defects often aren’t defects at all."

  • 2022-10-02 10:45 AM | Admin (Administrator)

    If you've heard of Daniel Kahneman, you'll likely have read his excellent Thinking Fast & Slow, where he shares his Nobel Prize winning work into behavioural economics. All that fascinating stuff about how ingrained biases often have reasonably foreseeable impacts on our decision making.

    His most recent interest has been a collaboration with Oliver Sibony and Cass Sunstein, exploring the role of 'Noise' in decision making.

    Noise is the significant variability in decisions you get where there shouldn't be any. Such as when Doctors diagnose disease, or when Judges sentence criminals.

    Or when Arborists make tree risk assessment decisions.

    Earlier this year, More or Less' Tim Harford had a short chat with Daniel Kahneman about how to reduce Noise by practising Decision Hygiene.

    https://validtreerisk.help/Noise

    If you want to dive into the Decision Hygiene part, it starts at 5.50.

    What was eye-opening about this discussion into the benefits of practising Decision Hygiene is that it's embedded in VALID.

    Arborists' tree risk assessments are notoriously noisy. Ask 10 Arborists to risk assess a tree and you'll likely get 12 very different decisions.

    One of VALID's benefits is we've designed it to reduce this Noise. When it comes to Occupancy and Consequences, consistent and good decision making is so 'quiet' you don't need to be an Arborist to do it well.

    In tree risk assessments, we get most Noise with Likelihood of Failure decisions.

    When you make your Likelihood of Failure decision in VALID, you're guided to evaluate all the likelihood of failure attributes, independently of each other, before you make a decision.

    Tree Risk Assessment - Likelihood of Failure

    This VALID approach to Likelihood of Failure decision making is what Daniel Kahneman is calling Decision Hygiene.

  • 2022-08-13 8:56 AM | Admin (Administrator)

    Whilst rummaging through some of the UK's dusty Risk & Regulation Advisory Council archives, we strayed across 'A Worrier's Guide to Risk'. David Spiegelhalter (Chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge) put it together for them in the noughties.

    It's a great guide to thinking about risk, some of which applies to trees, on one side of paper - our favourite length for a subject.

    A Worrier's Guide to Risk | David Spiegelhalter

  • 2022-07-19 9:21 PM | Admin (Administrator)

    We're now into a prolonged hot dry spell of weather. When this happens, anxious Duty Holders often get in touch about managing the risk from Summer Branch Drop (SBD), or Summer Limb Drop (SLD), or Sudden Branch Drop (SBD), or Sudden Limb Drop (SLD).

    What to do?
    The uncertainty about what to call SBD, or SLD, is often matched by similar uncertainty about how you should manage the risk.

    Should you put up signs?

    Fence trees off?

    Prune them?

    Fact-checking the risk
    The overall risk from SBD is mind-bogglingly low.

    From the data, the risk is so low, our risk of death from driving for the few minutes it takes to cover about 5km/3mi is higher than from SBD over a whole year.

    Finding a microscopic straw-coloured needle in a gargantuan haystackThe risk from Summer Branch Drop

    Despite this mind-bogglingly low risk, fear-mongering from Risk Entrepreneurs*, claiming legal action is likely if the risk were to happen and it wasn't managed or assessed, has had some anxious duty holders putting up confusing and ineffective signs.

    Is standing, lollygagging, or laying down fine?
    Tree Risk Management - Summer Limb Drop Sign | Summer Branch Drop

    What we know
    We know the overall level of risk from SBD is so low it's Acceptable.

    We also know, Arborists can't tell the difference between branches that have a high likelihood of failure from SBD, and those that have a low likelihood of failure.

    That means, warning signs make no measurable reduction to a risk that's already Acceptable.  In fact, the costs of commissioning and managing these signs are grossly disproportionate to any claimed reduction in the risk.

    Linger near trees at your perilSummer Branch Drop Sign

    Photo Credit - Paul Barton

    Exposing yourself in public
    Worse still, the ineffectiveness of these signs may backfire and create an opportunity for a Risk Entrepreneur to act as an expert witness in the extremely unlikely event of someone being killed or injured by SBD. It'd be all too easy for them to claim you hadn't managed the risk well enough, and you could've done more.

    Why didn't you put up more signs?

    Why didn't you fence the tree off?

    Why didn't you prune the tree?

    Or, if the visitor wasn't an English speaker, why didn't you translate the sign into other common languages?

    If you're a Duty Holder, or advise one, worry not. We've got your back on this one with our Summer Branch Drop Guide.

    An antidote to risk entrepreneurs
    Summer Branch Drop Guide - Sudden Limb Drop

    In short, you don't need to do anything to manage the risk unless you have a repeat offender.

    We've also got a whole range of guidance of our Risk Management page.

    *Risk Entrepreneur
    "Treecare professionals who thrive on maximising the perception of risk in order to create standards for which they are perfectly placed to provide profitable solutions."

    Rick Haythornthwaite, Risk & Regulation Advisory Council

  • 2022-06-09 10:39 AM | Admin (Administrator)

    This is the one-side-of-paper Summary of our Tree Risk-Benefit Management Strategies.

    The history
    We were first asked to put this together by the Department of State Growth, Tasmanian Government, when they were adopting VALID. It's role was to explain what the Strategy is all about to the departments strategic decision makers. The Summary proved such a useful communication tool, it found its way into the Government Agency template, and we've released it for general use.

    How to use the Strategy Summary
    It works at two levels. If you're a Duty Holder, you can grasp the complete Strategy within the time it takes to take a few sips of tea or coffee. Similarly, if you're an Arborist you can quickly catch the eye of a busy potential client and add value to your service.

    Active Assessment - Every 5 years?
    We think a 5 yearly Active Assessment frequency in Zones of High Confluence is reasonable, proportionate, and reasonably practicable. It's what many Duty Holders are adopting. Here, there's strength in numbers singing from the same hymn sheet if a risk is realised and a claim or enforcement action is being threatened. However, this is a Duty Holders decision. If they have a lower 'risk appetite' and are prepared to spend more money, we don't have a problem with a shorter frequency of Active Assessment.  Just edit the PDF or Word Template.

    Tree Risk Management Strategy | Policy & Plan

    PDF
    Strategy Summary v8.0.pdf

    WORD TEMPLATE
    Strategy Summary v8.0.dotx

    Here are the main fonts used in the Tree Risk-Benefit Management Strategies.

    Museo 700
    Source Sans Pro

    Georgia is the body text and that should already be on your computer.

  • 2022-06-08 9:49 AM | Admin (Administrator)

    We have several free Tree Risk-Benefit Management Strategy templates that we've released under a creative commons licence.

    You can read all about them on our Risk Management page, and download them as pdf files.

    We're happy to share them with you as Word Template .dotx files as well, which makes it easier to customise the few sections that you need to. We've included the fonts that you might not have.

    The is the version for a Homeowner.  It's the simplest with a Policy and management by Passive Assessment; which is keeping an eye out for Obvious Tree Risk Features you can't help but notice.

    Tree Risk Management | Policy & Plan - Homeowner

    PDF
    Homeowner TRBM Strategy v8.0.pdf

    WORD TEMPLATE
    Homeowner TRBM Strategy v8.0.dotx

    Here are the main fonts used in the Tree Risk-Benefit Management Strategies.

    Museo 700
    Source Sans Pro

    Georgia is the body text and that should already be on your computer.

  • 2022-06-08 9:38 AM | Admin (Administrator)

    We have several free Tree Risk-Benefit Management Strategy templates that we've released under a creative commons licence.

    You can read all about them on our Risk Management page, and download them as pdf files.

    We're happy to share them with you as Word Template .dotx files as well, which makes it easier to customise the few sections that you need to. We've included the fonts that you might not have.

    The is the version for a School, College, or University.  It's similar to the Landowner one, where the Duty Holder has no trained Arborists as staff.

    Tree Risk Management | Policy & Plan - School, College, or University

    PDF
    School TRBM Strategy v8.0.pdf

    WORD TEMPLATE
    School TRBM Strategy v8.0.dotx

    Here are the main fonts used in the Tree Risk-Benefit Management Strategies.

    Museo 700
    Source Sans Pro

    Georgia is the body text and that should already be on your computer.

  • 2022-06-08 8:50 AM | Admin (Administrator)

    We have several free Tree Risk-Benefit Management Strategy templates that we've released under a creative commons licence.

    You can read all about them on our Risk Management page, and download them as pdf files.

    We're happy to share them with you as Word Template .dotx files as well, which makes it easier to customise the few sections that you need to.  We've included the fonts that you might not have.

    The is the Landowner version.  The main differences between this and the Government Agency one is there aren't voting stakeholders that you're looking to help understand.  So there's no Introduction.  There's also no trained Arborist on staff, but this can easily be changed in the Plan.

    Tree Risk Management | Policy & Plan - Landowner

    PDF
    Landowner TRBM Strategy v8.0.pdf

    WORD TEMPLATE
    Landowner TRBM Strategy v8.0.dotx

    Here are the fonts used in the Tree Risk-Benefit Management Strategies that you might not have installed.

    Museo 700
    Source Sans Pro

    Georgia is the body text and that should already be on your computer.

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