OSHA Issues Hazard Bulletin for Tree Care Workers

The new bulletin details two fatal incidents, a fall and a death caused by a falling object.

OSHA has issued a hazard bulletin to help in preventing worker fatalities from falls and falling objects in tree care work. The hazard bulletin details two fatal tree care incidents – one caused by a fall and the other caused by a falling object – and describes OSHA's subsequent investigations and what the employers could have done differently.

The bulletin also points out several safety precautions employers should use before they begin tree care operations, which include:

  • Assess the work site for fall and falling object hazards
  • Have a qualified arborist survey the work site
  • Determine whether workers will need to climb or use aerial lifts
  • Establish drop zones where there is a hazard of falling objects
  • Take steps to protect workers from falling object hazards
  • Establish visual and audible communications with overhead and ground workers
  • Have emergency procedures in place

"Too many tree care workers are being hurt or killed by well-known industry dangers that can be prevented if employers take the necessary precautions," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "Employers have a responsibility to ensure workers are protected on the job. This includes providing training and making sure workers have the right tools to stay safe."

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