Tree Care Industry
Hazards and Solutions
Many hazards in the tree care industry are potentially fatal. Overhead power lines, falling branches, and faulty safety equipment are just a few of the dangers. The following references aid in recognizing some of the hazards that may be encountered by tree care professionals.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Reports
- Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program. Concentrates on investigations of fatal occupational injuries. The primary intent of this program is to provide interested users with access to the full text of hundreds of fatality investigation reports including the following:
- Palm Tree Worker Suffocated by Palm Fronds – Another Death in California. NIOSH Science Blog, 2015.
- A Tree Trimmer Dies From Asphyxia When Compressed By Palm Fronds. California FACE Report, 12CA011.
- A Tree Trimmer Dies When He Is Crushed By Palm Tree Fronds. California FACE Report, 12CA006.
- Preventing Palm Tree Trimmer Fatalities. California FACE Digital Video Story.
- Guatemalan Tree-Service Worker Killed When Pulled Into Brush Chipper. New York FACE Report, 05NY034.
- Landscaper Dies Inside The Hopper Of A Truck Mounted Pneumatic Blower. Massachusetts FACE Report, 05MA074, (March 20, 2007).
- Hispanic Tree Trimmer Killed After Being Pulled Into A Wood Chipper. New Jersey FACE Report, 03NJ042, (August 30, 2004).
- Landscaper Working From A Raised Portable Work Platform Was Electrocuted When A Pole Saw Contacts Overhead Power Line. Massachusetts FACE Report, 13MA019, (January 12, 2015).
- A Tree Trimmer Is Electrocuted When A Tree Branch Falls Onto Energized Electric Power Lines. California FACE Report, 11CA003.
- Landscaper Electrocuted And Two Workers Seriously Injured When a Felled Tree Landed on an Overhead Power Line. New Jersey FACE Report, 01NJ117, (October 1, 2002).
- Arborist Dies In Fall From A Tree After Being Hoisted By A Crane To The Tree. Massachusetts FACE Report, 11MA031, (September 25, 2013).
- A Tree Trimmer Dies When He Falls From A Tree. California FACE Report, 12CA010.
- Arborist Dies After Fall From Tree. Kentucky FACE Report, 09KY059, (February 19, 2010).
- Tree Trimmer Is Struck And Killed By Falling Tree Limb. Kentucky FACE Report 13KY038, (January 1, 2015).
- Tree-care Worker Is Crushed By Cut Tree Section During Storm Damage Cleanup. New Jersey FACE Report 12NJ078, (August 26, 2014).
- Groundman Killed By Falling Tree Section At Tree Removal Operation. New Jersey FACE Report 05NJ081, (February 1, 2007).
- Hispanic Arborist's Helper Struck and Killed By A Falling Tree. New Jersey FACE Report 03NJ043, (November 30, 2004).
Common Shop Hazards and Tree Care Considerations
- Slipping hazards present from oils or solvents on the floor. [29 CFR 1910.22]
- Fire hazards in shop areas. [29 CFR 1910.106], [29 CFR 1910.157]
- Adequate fire extinguishers [29 CFR 1910.157] and first aid kits [29 CFR 1910.151] in the shop. It is recommended that consideration be taken to also include extinguishers in work vehicles as appropriate.
- Emergency response plans. [29 CFR 1910.38]
- Hazard Communication Issues – the need to identify all hazardous substances within the shop area (carbon monoxide, welding fume, wood dust, metal dust, solvents, fertilizers) and develop a program that addresses MSDSs, labeling, and employee training. [29 CFR 1910.1200]
- If corrosive chemicals are used, emergency eyewashes and showers are required. [29 CFR 1910.151]
- Stairways need railings if more than 4 stairs - differences in "open" and "closed" stairs are clarified in. [29 CFR 1910.24]
- All safety guards must be in place and operational on all shop tools. [29 CFR 1910 Subpart O]
- Lockout/tagout program requirements. [29 CFR 1910.147]
- Compressed air used for cleaning purposes must be reduced to less than 30 p.s.i. and then only with effective chip guarding and personal protective equipment. [29 CFR 1910.242(b)], [Hazard Information Bulletin]
- When the periphery of the blades of a fan is less than seven feet above the floor or working level, the blades shall be guarded. [29 CFR 1910.212(a)(5)]
- Storage issues with Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) containers. [29 CFR 1910.110]
- Workrests and tongue guards of grinders should be properly adjusted. [29 CFR 1910.215]
- Tree Care Work: Falls and Falling Object Hazards (EPUB | MOBI). Also available in Spanish (EPUB | MOBI).
- Hazards of Wood Chippers. OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB), (April 16, 2008).
- Working Outdoors in Warm Climates. OSHA Fact Sheet, (September 2005).
- Hazard ID 8 - Injury Associated with Working Near or Operating Wood Chippers. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 99-145, (August 1999). Contains detailed descriptions of hazards associated with wood chippers and recommendations for prevention.
- Prevention of Slips, Trips, and Falls. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). This document is provided by the Inquiries Service at CCOHS, whose mandate is to promote improvements in occupational health and safety by providing practical information to answer workplace concerns.