WHS documents for arborists

As the laws and regulations surrounding Work Health and Safety (WHS) have become more stringent over the last few years, so too have the documents used by tree works businesses to manage their WHS responsibilities.

But a rigorous WHS management system doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult to understand. This is especially the case for workers in the field who need to complete risk assessments, pre-start checklists and other forms designed to provide evidence that they’re following approved work practices and keeping the workplace safe.

If your WHS documentation is letting you down, or if you think it needs streamlining, we can help. We have produced a wide range of plain-English templatised documents for tree works companies that are easy to customise to suit the specific needs of your own business.

These can be supplied either as:

  • off-the-shelf templates – in a Word format which you can modify yourself, or
  • fully customised documents – tailored by us to meet your own specifications, supplied in both Word and PDF formats.

The documents can be provided:

  • individually – if you only need certain elements, such as a SWMS (safe work method statement) or a specific SOP (safe operating procedure), or
  • as part of a package – if you are looking for an integrated system that includes all of the standard documents needed to satisfy your WHS responsibilities.

Note that the off-the-shelf templates have been designed for small tree works businesses that are looking for a simple and efficient WHS management system. We are able to produce more comprehensive documents for larger companies, particularly those involved in ESI (electricity supply industry) powerline tree trimming operations.

To see samples and excerpts from the off-the-shelf templates, click on the links below that appear under the various document descriptions.

WHS management system package

The following range of documents would typically be included in a WHS management system.

Policies and Procedures Manual – setting out the business’s WHS management system, compliance with relevant laws and regulations, and a full description of all policies and procedures relating to workplace safety (plus some relating environmental care).

Excerpt – Policies and Procedures Manual

Safe Operating Procedures – providing a summary of the main hazards and control measures that apply to the machine or work process covered by the SOP, plus the approved procedures for operating the machine or carrying out the job role.

Sample template (for a machine) – Stump Grinder SOP

Sample template (for a job role) – Climber SOP

Assessment Tools – designed to accompany the SOPs, enabling the worker’s supervisor to verify that they are following approved company procedures while doing the task and are authorised to work unsupervised.

Sample template (for a machine) – Stump grinder assessment tool

Sample template (for a job role) – Climber assessment tool

Safe Work Method Statement – providing a SWMS that is compliant with the current WHS legislation (note that all ‘high risk construction work’ requires a SWMS, including work that involves tree climbing, EWP operation and tree trimming near overhead powerlines).

Excerpt – Safe Work Method Statement

Hazard Assessment Checklist – sometimes referred to as a HAC sheet; providing a site-specific risk assessment that allows hazards and controls to be recorded (which can also be incorporated into the SWMS, where required)

Sample template – HAC sheet and toolbox minutes (combined)

Other documents – which may include some or all of the following forms and checklists, depending on your company’s scope of activities:

  • pre-start checklists for mobile plant and machinery
  • maintenance logs for mobile plant and machinery
  • incident report form
  • injury report form
  • plant and equipment register
  • contractor form
  • new employee form

Sample template – generic prestart checklist for EWP *

* Note that this sample shows a simple checklist designed to be used by a small tree works company, where the same operator is typically responsible for the machine each time it is used. More comprehensive checklists can be developed on request.


Individual prices for the templates are shown on the order form. To place an order, please download the form and follow the instructions.

Order form for template documents

A fully customised set of documents developed to meet the specific needs of a small tree works company may cost around $2,000 for the package, depending on the scope of your activities. We will tailor the documents to suit your own operational procedures, machinery and personnel.

Fees would be proportionately higher for larger vegetation companies that require a more comprehensive system, particularly those involved in powerline tree trimming.

Please contact us for more information.

Other resources for arborists

We have published a range of chainsaw training resources and reference manuals. These are used widely by TAFE institutes, specialist training providers and tree works companies. Click on the links below for more information about these materials and details on how to order them.

Chainsaw Operation: Maintenance, Crosscutting and Pruning (hard copy booklet) – covers basic chainsaw operation, plus pole saw operation, tree defect assessment and environmental care.

Chainsaw Operation: Beginner to Advanced (hard copy booklet) – covers all material contained in the basic booklet (above) plus tree falling at basic, intermediate and advanced levels.

Chainsaw Operation: e-learning resource (interactive audio-visual presentation) – contains same material as in the hard copy booklets, presented with animated graphics, voice-over narration and self-check interactive exercises