Forestry Journal:

This piece is an extract from our Forestry Features newsletter, which is emailed out at 4PM every Wednesday with a round-up of the week's top stories. 

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AS anyone in forestry can attest to, trees are not to be messed with. 

One wrong move and suddenly you'll find the wrath of newly-felled timber hurtling towards you. With just seconds to react, that small mistake can be fatal. 

There was a time when casualties were not uncommon in our industry, but, mercifully, the skill of the UK's hand cutters and machinery operators has gone some way to saving lives. And while some won't care to admit it, as to have the efforts of the 'health and safety brigade'. In fact, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there were no forestry workplace-related deaths last year, a impressive feat for the sector. 


READ:I’m dead, I’m dead’: Our writer's lucky escape when ash felling went wrong

READ: Child's death at firewood processing firm among latest HSE figures

All of this makes it even more surprising to hear about an experienced operator cheating death at the hands of one particularly vengeful ash tree. 

"Without wishing to over-dramatise the situation, it’s rare for me to say that, sitting here now, I’m very lucky to be alive," wrote our regular columnist Voice last month. Going on to detail his efforts to bring down a dieback-infected ash, our writer added: "I have been in the forestry business all my life and couldn’t put a figure on the number of trees I’ve felled, but my approach has always been the same. One has to remember that every tree is different and has to be judged on its own merits." 

Forestry Journal: Our writer had a lucky escape when felling this ash treeOur writer had a lucky escape when felling this ash tree (Image: FJ)

Despite taking every precaution, it wasn't enough. "Thump!" went one of the upper limbs as it suddenly collapsed, colliding with our writer. "I'm dead, I'm dead," was Voice's first thought. 

Thankfully, our writer somehow managed to make it out with their life and is now on the mend, but it could so easily have been very different.  

If it can happen to the most experienced of cutters, it can happen to anyone. Take care out there.