Arborist goes on HAIX boot camp

Recently Matt Hirons from Beechwood Trees & Landscaping embarked on a workwear boot trial in association with HAIX to find out if arborists are currently wearing the correct footwear

Beechwood Trees & Landscapes based in Coventry offers a full range of arboriculture services, including felling and pruning, to both domestic and commercial tree work clients who work to maintain trees in open spaces and ensure the safety of visitors. The company takes the health and safety of its employees very seriously and in 2014 became members of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

As Beechwood Trees & Landscapes is committed to employee wellbeing, HAIX world leading manufacturers of functional footwear, invited the company to participate in a workwear boot trial, organised with assistance from Gore-Tex, to identify the most suitable boots for the various type of jobs carried out by their employees.  Typically, the company has always used boots offering chainsaw protection, even if the use of a chainsaw was not required for the task.   

Simon Ash, UK sales manager for HAIX commented “Our work with Beechwood Trees is a prime example of our desire to collaborate with our clients. It was our job to introduce Beechwood Trees & Landscapes to one of our workwear boots, the Airpower XR3, and to show them the true scope of safety footwear. Potentially this boot would be more suitable for their employees on a daily basis and in the process they could feedback to us on how to make our boots work for them in the future”.

Safe Not Sorry

Key concerns for tree surgeons are wide ranging and include working at height, lone working and chainsaws.   

Put simply, if the safety footwear being worn by an arborist is not right; they are immediately exposed and at risk of injury.   Their workplace hazards are extensive, including falling objects, potential punctures, and exposure to chemicals.  These hazards come alongside more general health and safety risks spanning multiple industries such as slips, trips and falls- last year affecting 10,637 workers in the UK alone.    

The advantages of safety footwear are widely known but what it less understood is what type of safety footwear should be worn by an arborist. A ‘typical’ day does not exist, with tasks ranging from tree felling and dismantling, cable bracing, and stump grinding and removal.  Matt Hirons, Beechwood Trees & Landscapes safety, health, environment and quality co-ordinator said “Finding the right boot for an arborist is an industry wide problem and this trial was an opportunity for us to think differently when selecting footwear and really consider features were necessary.”

Stepping into comfort zones

The Airpower XR3 boot is fit for use in all workplace tasks that do not require the use of a chainsaw. Ultimately within this trial this meant the boots were worn for a vast chunk of everyday activity.  This included driving fleet vehicles, erecting fencing and hoarding, installing and maintaining soft landscaping, installing hard landscaping and undertaking worksite inspections.

The quality of the boot spoke for itself. The Airpower XR3 offers the strength and durability you would expect from a HAIX boot, with composite materials and an arch support system delivering a lightweight, comfortable and flexible working solution. The climate system within the boot uses a pumping movement permitting air circulation with every step- where moist air is released and fresh air comes through the vent holes at the top of the boot.  Matt Hirons said “This boot fulfilled our needs and more. The safety features as well as the thermal and waterproof properties are innovative, effective and exactly what our workers want”.

This trial proved that when arborists are not using chainsaws that chainsaw protective footwear is not necessary and there is alternative in the shape of the Airpower XR3.  

HAIX’s goal is to use such end user feedback to ensure functionality needs are met as a priority, and ensuring comfort and style is considered.

Their work with Beechwood Trees & Landscapes, ultimately provided the company with the chance to provide their workforce with a lighter alternative product boasting all the required safety features and more.

The HSE reports that during the last 10 years, 24 arborists have been killed during tree work, with nearly 1400 suffering a workplace injury.   It is imperative we do all that we can to ensure workers are as safe as can be.
A ‘one boot fits all’ scenario is unrealistic and it’s important to work with the user to ensure that their boot works for them in their particular job.

Simon Ash commented “It is our job to encourage companies like Beechwood Trees & Landscapes to think outside the box when selecting safety footwear. It is only when you open your mind to alternative solutions that you can find the perfect one.”

For more details on HAIX and the Airpower XR3, please visit