Tree service professionals must prioritize safety measures to protect workers from potential hazards. Proper training, equipment, and protection are essential for tree care and removal operations. This article discusses the risks associated with tree care and removal operations, as well as the industry regulations that address those hazards. Falling from high heights, electrocution, being hit by falling tree branches or felled trees, injuries caused by chainsaws, chippers and other equipment, insect bites or bites from wild animals, and exposure to pesticides and other chemicals are all risks associated with tree care.
To ensure safety and extend the life of the tree, it is important to understand and address these risks. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers who engage in online tree felling to meet the medical services and first aid requirements of 29 CFR § 1910.269 (b). Garden contractors can inspect trees for pruning needs, diseases, and other issues that may require a tree to be felled for safety or landscape remodeling reasons. For example, damage to tree bark due to an insect infestation or lack of tree bark due to a fire can make climbing unsafe or more dangerous than using a crane.
Before starting any tree care operation, employers should check the condition of the tree and evaluate the work site for the hazards of falls and shocks. The OSHA medical services and first aid standard (29 CFR § 1910.15) requires employers to provide medical services and first aid as required by 29 CFR § 1910.269 (b). This includes having a certain number of people with first aid training available during logging operations, as well as providing first aid supplies and kits. The standard on hand and portable power tools and other portable equipment (29 CFR § 1910, subpart P) also contains requirements that apply to chainsaws and other tools used during tree care and removal operations.
An arborist can help manage trees on your property by providing treatments that reduce risk associated with certain trees. The attached document provides compliance guidance to safety and health officers (CSHO) when inspecting employers involved in tree care and removal operations. OSHA recognizes that participating in tree care operations exposes workers to hazards such as falls from a height, the impact of objects (cars, branches), lacerations, and contact with energized power lines. Trees provide numerous benefits to those who live and work in urban environments, which increase with the size and age of the trees.