State Fund Logo

 

Safety News Home Page

Did You Know?
Top 10 State Fund Safety Stories – According To You

Building Evacuations: Practice Makes Perfect

Agriculture

Safety Meeting Topic:
Tree Trimming Safety Starts On the Ground and Works Its Way Up

Temas de Seguridad:
La seguridad en la poda de árboles comienza en el suelo y avanza hasta las ramas

Reporting Work-Related Injuries

Contact Us

 
   
Safety Meeting Topic

Tree Trimming Safety Starts On the Ground and Works Its Way Up

When climbing a tree to trim branches, workers are at the mercy of the tree and their fall protection equipment. In a nutshell, both must be equipped for the job.

However, falls remain one of the leading causes of injury and death among tree trimmers. Often, these injuries and deaths occur because fall protection is damaged, used improperly, or not used at all. Falls also occur when either damaged equipment or the tree itself breaks under the weight of the worker.

But you and your employees can minimize these injury risks with some pre-planning.

What your employees need to know

Before work begins, a Qualified Tree Worker (QTW) assesses any tree scheduled for trimming or other work. Weak branches and/or a dead or decaying trunk increase the chance the tree will break, which could then throw the worker to the ground. No one may climb a tree unless the QTW has determined the tree is safe.

And, just like a QTW examines the tree, your employees need to thoroughly inspect fall protection equipment.

Each day, before work begins, look for rips, frays, tears, broken buckles or clips, worn or damaged spurs and gaffs. Since your workers also use the ropes, saddle, and other fall protection equipment to climb and descend the tree, and rest against while working, there’s additional risk of damage. For example, wear and tear increases as the ropes slide up and down the tree. There’s also the chance a saw could come in contact with a rope or lanyard.

Also, fall prevention equipment must be strong enough to support the weight of the worker and the equipment he/she is using.

What your employees need to do—and not do—to stay safe

If an inspection reveals any damage to fall protection equipment, remove it from service. Replacement gear should be on hand just in case something breaks.

Other fall prevention steps include:

  • Don’t work in trees during bad weather.
  • Don’t climb with anything in your hands. Hoist tools with a rope system or use a tool belt.
  • Tie off in at least two places if using a chainsaw.
  • Only stand on strong limbs that fully support the workers weight. Look for any cut or broken off branches that may still be in the tree. Leaning against or trying to climb on these could result in a fall.
  • Use aerial lifts for trees that are not safe to climb.

At your safety meeting

Discuss your fall protection plan with your employees. Review the manufacturer’s instructions for your fall protection equipment and make those instructions available to employees whenever needed. Demonstrate the type of damage your employees need to look for, how to report the damage, and the process for taking equipment out of service.

Other steps to cover include:

Tree work is dangerous, especially for those who climb the tree to trim branches. While the risk of falling is always there, pre-work inspections, equipment inspections, and use of proper protective gear help you and your employees minimize the risk of a catastrophic accident.

Instructor: __________________________________________________________
Date: _______________________________________________________________
Location: ______________________________________________________
Attended by:
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________

Safety Recommendations

_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________


Safety News is produced by State Compensation Insurance Fund to assist clients in their loss prevention efforts. Information or recommendations contained in this publication were obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the date of publication. Information is only advisory and does not presume to be exhaustive or inclusive of all workplace hazards or situations. Permission to reprint articles subject to approval by State Compensation Insurance Fund.

©2018 State Compensation Insurance Fund

State Fund Logo