Managing public safety

What you need to know

Managing public safety is the responsibility of everyone involved in forestry work. You need to provide control measures to protect members of the public. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 places a duty on employers and self-employed to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that their work does not affect the health and safety of others. Landowners and forestry works managers must plan and coordinate safety measures and operators on forest sites must implement them.

You must control risks if they affect the health and safety of the public on forest sites. This applies both where forest recreational facilities have been provided for public use, and wherever forestry work tales place.

Forest recreational facilities include formal routes for walking, cycling and riding on horseback, picnic areas, nature viewing areas, campsites and adventure playgrounds. Forestry works include those where informal routes exist and you know that workers and visitors use them for access.

Whether the access is formal or informal, you should identify the reasonable practicable controls that you need to apply.

These principles also apply to mechanical weeding, civil engineering, chemical spraying and ground preparation.

Landowners, forest works managers, operators, and banksmen should carefully consider proximity areas, harvesting work sites and haulage routes.

What you need to do

On all reasonably foreseeable approaches to the worksite, erect warning and prohibition signs conforming to the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, indicating a hazardous worksite and that unauthorised access is prohibited. In areas of high public access, you may need to use additional controls, eg barrier tape, barriers or extra personnel.


To control access to the site, you need to:

Ask yourself:

Closures and diversions

The landowner and forestry works manager should:

Deal with the public

Make sure operators know how to deal with the public - advise them to: