MIS307 Crane Use in Tree Work 2nd ed.


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This book is one in a series of Minimum Industry Standards produced by Arboriculture Australia Ltd and the New Zealand Arboricultural Association in consultation with the national arboriculture community in both countries. These industry peer-reviewed documents provide a ‘body of knowledge’ which is shared by practitioners and can be used as the basis for training, dissemination of skills and professional development.

This book covers the basics of working with cranes for rigging and access during aerial tree work operations. Although the document is written primarily for the use of the arborist and does not provide any instruction regarding crane use or safety, the aim is to provide straightforward, nationally-shared procedures which will allow arborists and crane operators to work safely together on tree work sites.


A Minimum Industry Standard for crane use in tree work

  • Industry partners

Tree work with cranes

Section 1: Tree dismantling with cranes


  • Identifying the need for a crane

  • Determining crane type and size

  • Planning crane work

Preparing to conduct crane work

Site setup and hazard assessment

  • Site hazard assessment

  • Safe crane setup

  • Pre-start checks

  • Preparing the lowering zone

  • Emergency preparation


  • Methods of communication on crane sites

  • Hand and whistle signals for use with cranes, and for use in tree work

  • Preparing for access

Crane lifting operations

  • Attachment methods

  • Dismantling sequence

  • Estimating mass of sections

  • Safety margins for crane work

  • Basic concepts of crane rigging

  • Balancing loads

  • Lift procedure for a balanced load

  • Estimating and applying pre-load

  • Selecting a cut sequence

  • Cut sequences: laterals

  • Cut sequences: uprights or timber

  • V-cut (vertical)

  • Lowering the load, detaching and returning hook

  • Site management

Section 2: Crane access technique

Selecting a tree access method

  • Use of a suspended work box

  • Industrial rope access systems

  • The crane access method

  • Crane access method risk assessments

Attaching to the hook

  • Attachment and lift procedure

  • Transitioning between the crane and the tree

Appendix A: Relevant standards

Appendix B: Job Safety Analysis template

Notes and references

Minimum Industry Standards

  • Using the MIS in training and assessment

  • Disclaimer for Minimum Industry Standards and all associated documents

  • Industry stewardship program