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OSHA issues bulletin on protecting tree care workers

June 18, 2014

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Washington – OSHA has published a bulletin warning of the serious hazards present in tree care work.

Released on June 16, the bulletin addresses how to help prevent injuries and deaths from falls and falling objects during tree care work.

Two fatal incidents are described in the bulletin. In the first, a worker was killed when a trimmed tree limb fell and struck him on the head. An investigation determined ground personnel should not have been in the trimming area while overhead work was being performed.

In the second example, a worker fell 65 feet when a tree trunk he was working on snapped in half. OSHA found the employer could have prevented this incident by examining the tree before beginning work.

The bulletin also lists safety precautions for tree care business owners, including:  

  • Assess the site for fall and falling object hazards.
  • Have a qualified arborist survey the site.
  • Determine if workers will need to climb or use aerial lifts.
  • Have emergency procedures in place.

OSHA has regional and local emphasis programs in place for tree trimming operations in Regions 3 and 5.