Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

About a Potential Tree Care Operations Standard

The primary focus of a potential Tree Care Operations standard would be to protect workers who prune, repair, maintain, or remove trees (tree care), or perform on-site support of tree care, such as workers who pick-up and dispose of limbs or branches or use the on-site equipment. Among other requirements, a potential standard would address the safe use of tools and equipment associated with tree care and on-site support of tree care.

Tree care work often involves workers climbing or being hoisted in trees. Workers also use potentially dangerous tools and equipment, such as chain saws, stump grinders, wood chippers, cranes, and mobile bucket trucks to perform tree care work. During the performance of tree care and on-site support of tree care, workers are generally exposed to a variety of common hazards, including: falling from trees, being struck by falling trees or branches, and being injured or killed during chainsaw or wood chipper operation, as well as exposure to energized power lines. This potential standard would be a new standard in 29 CFR Part 1910: Tree Care Operations.


In accordance with the requirements of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), OSHA is planning to convene a Small Business Advocacy Review panel in early 2020. The panel, comprising members from the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration, OSHA, and the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, will listen to and report on what Small Entity Representatives (SERs) that would potentially be affected by the draft rule have to say. Each SER will be sent a packet of documents to review, and then asked to participate in a small-group teleconference to discuss concerns related to the information provided and how the draft regulation might potentially affect their entity.

The definition of a "small entity" varies widely across the broad range of industries that would be covered by a potential Tree Care Operations standard. Small government entities are defined as governments of a city, county, town, township, village, school district, or special district with a population of less than 50,000. For small businesses, please see the SBA Table of Size Standards for the exact definition of a small entity for your industry or contact OSHA or the SBA Office of Advocacy for assistance.

OSHA will host several SBAR Panel teleconferences that the public will be able to listen to. Each Small Entity Representative will be asked to participate in one of the teleconferences.

Some topics that may be considered by the SBAR panel include:

  • Training
  • Worksite Conditions
  • Environmental hazards
  • Workplace hazards
  • Safe Work Practices
  • Fall Protection
  • Multi-Employer issues
  • Related Equipment Requirements

Entities that would like to participate in the SBAR Panel as SERs should contact Bruce Lundegren at SBA Advocacy, Bruce.Lundegren@SBA.gov, (202) 205-6144; or Robert Burt at OSHA, Burt.Robert@dol.gov, (202) 693-1952.

  • March 12, 2020 - Convene SBREFA Panel
  • Teleconferences with SERs
    • April 7 - 9:30 am to 12:00 pm; 888-566-6182, passcode 6581861
    • April 8 - 9:30 am – 12:00 pm; 800-779-9087, passcode 6581861
    • April 15 – 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm; 888-282-0569, passcode 6581861
    • April 16 - 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm; 800-779-9087, passcode 6581861
  • May 11, 2020 - Complete Panel, and report placed in docket
  • Contact OSHA for questions:
  • Contact SBA's Office of Advocacy for questions:
    • Bruce Lundegren (office represents the views of small entities in the SBREFA process), Bruce.Lundegren@sba.gov or (202) 205-6144.

Due to ongoing public health concerns, there will be no in-person option for attending the tree care SBREFA meetings. Please join via telephone at the numbers listed below

  • Teleconferences with SERs
    • April 7 - 9:30 am to 12:00 pm; 888-566-6182, passcode 6581861
    • April 8 - 9:30 am – 12:00 pm; 800-779-9087, passcode 6581861
    • April 15 – 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm; 888-282-0569, passcode 6581861
    • April 16 - 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm; 800-779-9087, passcode 6581861
  • All teleconferences will be open to the public via telephone, but only SERs and SBAR Panel members can participate in the discussions.
  • Any interested party may submit comments, even those who are not participating as SERs, and OSHA will include those comments in the public docket. While OSHA has no legal obligation to consider or to respond to non-SER comments, the Agency will consider them in its discretion as resources allow. All such comments can be submitted to OSHA docket OSHA-2008-0012 via the government's e-regulatory portal, Regulations.gov. The comment period will last until two weeks after the SBAR Panel report is completed.

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