The Importance of Safety in Arboriculture
If you’ve climbed a tree as a kid, you know some safety risks are involved. You could scrape yourself on a twig or even take a tumble off a branch. Now, imagine you’re climbing a tree while cutting it down with a chainsaw! The business of tree work, or arboriculture, can be hazardous if arborists don’t take the proper safety precautions. At Monster Tree Service, our professional tree care experts value the importance of safety in arboriculture. So, we explain why arborist safety matters and share our tree work safety checklist to help you safely practice tree work.
What is Arboriculture?
Arboriculture is the study, cultivation, and management of trees, including professional tree work services like pruning, pest control, disease prevention, and other forms of plant health care. An arborist is someone who practices arboriculture, which involves caring for trees and providing professional customer service with upfront estimates. When selecting an arborist to perform tree services, always look for International Society of Arboriculture or ISA licensed providers who observe:
American National Standards Institute or ANSI Z133 tree work safety standards
Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA Work Safety rules
Tree Care Industry Association or TCIA A300 industry best pruning practices
Why Does Arborist Safety Matter?
Arborists are licensed and regulated under strict sets of rules. But why does arborist safety matter so much? Unlike office jobs, arboriculture requires working in a risky environment. Arborists need to climb up high into trees to perform their job duties, risking being hit by branches, encountering power lines, facing pests infestations, and navigating dead and brittle limbs. Arborists must adhere to strict safety guidelines to avoid falls, collisions, and electrical shocks. Arboriculture accidents pose threats to people but can also cause damage to homes, property, and the trees themselves.
Tree Work Safety Checklist
These are the things every arborist needs to stay safe on the job!
Have the Right Equipment
First things first, tree pruning and care require specialized equipment. Using the wrong or broken equipment can pose a safety risk or result in tree damage leading to disease and pest infestations. Here’s the right equipment to have on hand.
Hard hat to protect your head from falling limbs or tumbles from higher elevations
Gloves to protect hands from splintering wood
Non-slip boots to reduce chances of slips and falls
Tree climbing equipment, including ropes, carabiners, and harnesses
Cut-resistant leg and arm protection
Goggles or face shields
Hearing protection for heavy machinery noise
Establish Clear Communication
Next, it is essential to establish clear communication among arborists and workers to prevent accidents and confusion. Yelling over loud equipment could lead to unheard or misunderstood messages — creating a dangerous work environment. Because arborists work at great heights with noisy equipment, they use hand signals to communicate with workers down below. Headsets and walkie-talkies are also an option for verbal communication when needed. Before starting a job, make sure everyone on the team is aware of the chosen method of communication and what to do in an emergency.
Know Your Surroundings
Finally, arborists need to be aware of their surroundings and know potential hazards to look out for, including inclement weather, powerlines, roads, and nearby structures. Additionally, arborists should evaluate the landscape for rocks, slopes, and other features that could bring challenges to the job. When starting pruning, arborists need to ensure the ground is clear before making cuts and allowing branches to fall. Finally, always make sure to know the location of your team and alert potential pedestrians and drivers of the tasks being performed.
Arborist Safety is Our Priority
Tree work can be dangerous if not performed correctly or conducted without the necessary experience. At Monster Tree Service, safety is our number one priority. Each of our locally owned locations is insured, ISA licensed, and adherent to OSHA, ANSI, and TCIA safety standards. That’s why you can trust to hire us for all of your tree trimming and plant health care needs. Together, we can safely restore your trees to their natural beauty. Call us today for a free estimate and learn more about our safety practices.