In the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, many are considering the possibility that climate change is here to stay. Sandy is only one of many adverse weather events in recent years, and came approximately a year after a notable early October storm affected similar parts of the country.
With strange weather patterns and violent or early storms illustrating the damage that can be caused by trees near homes or buildings, more homeowners and commercial property owners may turn to tree trimmers to keep their space safe.
Tree trimming can be a dangerous occupation and both workers and employers need to take proper safety steps to help maximize safety. Spartanburg workers compensation lawyers urge both tree trimmers and those hiring tree trimmers to brush up on the key safety rules and to always err on the side of caution.
Safety Tips for Property Owners
Property owners should keep trees pruned and properly maintained in order to minimize the risk of stray branches causing damage during a storm. When a storm does cause branches or trees to come down, homeowners should contact professional tree trimmers to resolve the issue.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) provides guidance for safe tree trimming. Their safety tips caution that all tree trimming work or tree removal work that occurs within ten feet of a power line should be done by line-clearance tree trimmers. OSHA also advises that a second tree trimmer should be present and within the range to communicate with the first trimmer using normal voice volume.
Safety Tips for Tree Trimmers
While employers of tree trimmers must follow safety precautions to help workers avoid workplace accidents, tree trimmers should also be aware of the safety precautions that they need to take when working in the field. OSHA tips for safe tree trimming and removal remind workers to:
- Contact utility companies and request they de-energize, ground or shield power lines before tree trimming work begins.
- Maintain proper minimum distances whenever working around energized power lines.
- Exercise extreme caution when moving equipment and ladders around power lines and downed trees.
- Avoid tree trimming during adverse weather conditions.
- Survey work areas for potential hazards before beginning work and eliminate potential dangers.
- Use equipment only if they have been properly trained in its use.
- Use equipment only if it has been properly maintained.
- Wear appropriate personal protective gear including safety glasses and hard hats.
- Determine the felling direction of the tree and address issues if the tree is leaning.
- Assess how much hinge wood is necessary to guide the tree when falling.
- Carefully inspect trees for stability prior to climbing.
- Refrain from climbing with tools in hand.
- Keep eyes focused on a falling tree and never turn your back.
- Remain alert at all times.
By following these tree-trimming safety tips, workers can hopefully help to eliminate the risk of a serious workplace accident. Unfortunately, accidents still can and do happen and workers who do suffer an on-on-the-job injury may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits.