Tips for preventing injury at the worksite
There are a variety of hazards in tree care that can cause serious or fatal injuries. Some of the most common causes are electrocution, falls and falling objects. Many of the injuries and fatalities are preventable, however.
Employers are responsible for the safety of all tree-care employees. Providing free protective equipment and proper training are part of that responsibility.
As an employee, if you feel as if you’re lacking the resources you need to do your job safely, speak up. Always notify your employer of any safety concerns and hazards you witness.
Before beginning any tree-care operation, workers should adhere to the following best practices:
- Assess the worksite for fall and falling object hazards.
- Make sure a qualified arborist surveys the worksite to identify the types of trees involved, as well as any possible hazards that are specific to each type.
- Determine if rigging is necessary to prevent sections of the tree from falling while working on it.
- Determine if you will need to climb a ladder or use aerial lifts to service the tree. Make sure climbing equipment is well-maintained and in working condition. Both ladders and aerial lifts should be kept at least 10 feet away from power lines and other electrical equipment.
- Establish and mark drop zones with safety equipment where there is a hazard of falling objects.
- Ensure that you’re aware of procedures for safely entering the drop zone.
- If you’re a ground worker, maintain a safe distance of at least 10 feet from tree-felling operations.
- When using a rope to fell a tree, maintain a distance of at least two times the height of the tree.
- Establish a visual or audible communication system between overhead workers and ground workers before starting rigging operations.
- Have emergency procedures in place prior to the start of tree care; verify that every worker knows the address of the worksite for emergency services, determine if the worksite has cellular telephone coverage, establish a retreat path for ground workers so they can escape from falling trees, and establish a retreat path for ground workers so they can escape from falling trees.
Image Attribution – Man With Chain Saw– By Marianne Venegoni