Tree Care Operations SBREFA
About a Potential Tree Care Operations Standard
The primary focus of possible 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. 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, woodchippers, 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 woodchipper 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.
By the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) requirements, OSHA convened a Small Business Advocacy Review panel in Spring 2020. The committee, comprised of 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, listened to and reported on what Small Entity Representatives (SERs) that would potentially be affected by the draft rule had to say. Each SER was 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 a potential Tree Care Operations standard would cover. 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 hosted four SBAR Panel teleconferences that the public could listen to. Each Small Entity Representative participated in one of the teleconferences.
Some topics discussed during the SBAR panel included:
- Worksite Conditions
- Environmental hazards
- Workplace hazards
- Safe Work Practices
- Fall Protection
- Multi-Employer issues
- Related Equipment Requirements
- Small Business Advocacy Review Panel (SBAR Panel) Final Report and associated materials can be accessed at https://www.regulations.gov/ (Docket # OSHA-2008-0012-0112)
- OSHA's SBAR Panel Procedures
- OSHA's Small Business web site.
- SBA Office of Advocacy
- Final PIRFA OSHA Small Business Advocacy Review Panel March 13, 2020
- PIRFA Treecare Operations Appendices Only March 13, 2020
- Tree Care Issues Document