With the season for tree service work coming around the corner, tree services must be prepared. Arborists have a very risk-centric job with very unique exposures; therefore, it is wise for business owners to educate (or re-educate) their employees before the start of the season.
Following well-structured safety procedures can be a very effective practice in minimizing work accidents on a tree service job. The following are a solid foundation for safety guidelines for any tree service operation:
- Read the equipment instructions Whether you’re using pruning shears or a chainsaw, read the operation instructions on this equipment before you start using it.
- Wear protective clothing Protective clothing is a must, especially if you’re using a chainsaw. We recommend wearing a hard hat, goggles, leather gloves and hard-toe work boots. Chaps are also a good idea to protect your legs.
- Inspect the work area for hazards Before beginning any tree work, it’s best to check the tree for hazards. There may be loose branches that are ready to fall or hidden bee hives that could cause serious problems if disturbed. Take the extra minute or two to look before starting.
- Never trim trees from a ladder Falls are the second biggest injury category for professional tree service workers. Never trim trees from a ladder and never climb up into the tree to trim.
- Don’t trim trees in bad weather Most tree service companies do not work in bad weather. Rainy or windy conditions create hazardous situations that can lead to injury.
- Don’t trim trees by yourself Always have another employee around. That way, if an accident occurs and you require emergency medical attention, help will be available.
- Clear the area When branches, tree sections or entire trees are cut they can fall to the ground and strike anyone that has not vacated the area. Professional tree service workers call this type of accident, “struck bys” and it is the number one cause of serious injury and death while working on trees. Make sure you keep everyone a safe distance from any tree that is being cut or pruned.
- Take extreme care when removing storm debris More people are seriously injured or killed while cleaning up from the aftermath of a hurricane, than from the actual hurricane.
- Stay away from overhead power lines This may seem like an obvious recommendation, but every year both professional and amateur tree trimmers are killed when they come in contact with power lines.
Adhering to the above guidelines and educating employees on them is an effective way to help and mitigate risks faced by tree service workers. Above all, the most effective way to keep employees safe is to teach them to be prepared for what they are facing in each work site. Going into a job with the knowledge they need reduces the risk of surprises and makes it easier for them to react to situations that arise.
For more information on tree services insurance and risk management, visit LandProTreePro.