Tree care and removal operations can be hazardous for workers, exposing them to potential dangers such as falls from a height, being hit by objects, lacerations, and contact with energized power lines. OSHA has established general industry standards (29 CFR § 19) to address these hazards, as well as specific requirements for hand and portable power tools and other portable equipment (29 CFR § 1910, subpart P). Employers must also provide medical services and first aid as required by 29 CFR § 1910.151. Before starting any tree care operation, employers should inspect the condition of the tree and evaluate the work site for potential hazards. Unless trees pose a hazard to roads or power lines, they should generally be left alone.
Pruning should be limited to eliminating what is dangerous and structurally weak; the natural shape of the tree should be maintained as far as possible. In areas with heavy traffic or other potential hazards, special considerations must be taken into account. For example, damage to tree bark due to an insect infestation or fire can make climbing more dangerous than using a crane. Employers must also ensure that they have enough personnel with first aid training available during logging operations. It is important for employers to comply with OSHA regulations when engaging in tree care and removal operations.
The attached document provides compliance guidance to safety and health officers (CSHO) when inspecting employers involved in tree care and removal operations.