Despite the continued increase in safety awareness in the arboriculture industry, the grim reality is that accidents will happen in this inherently dangerous profession.
The Tree Care Industry Association has released a report, reviewing the 153 occupational tree care accidents reported to the media, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration and industry colleagues in 2016. Of these 153 accidents reported last year, 92 were fatal.
In 2015, there were 87 fatal accidents reported. In 2014 there were 81 and in 2013 there were 79.
According to the TCIA, the “Big Three” types of accident causation are the same as they have been in recent years: Fall, struck-by and electrical contact incidents comprise 31, 25 and 22 percent of the total incidents, respectively.
The consistently high number of incidents in tree care over the past few years has attracted OSHA’s attention, according to the TCIA. At the time the 2016 report was published, at least 19 states in five OSHA regions were running “special emphasis” programs targeted at tree care and landscape firms, the TCIA reported.
The TCIA offers safety workshops and certification programs designed to prevent the kind of incidents detailed in this report.
Arborists can enroll in the Certified Tree Care Safety Professional program to become the go-to safety expert on the jobsite and enhance their careers. TCIA also facilitates workshops that specifically address electrical hazards, aerial lift/rescue operations, chipper operations, and other safety disciplines. See a full list of upcoming TCIA workshops, many of which are offered at a low or reduced price courtesy of Tree Care Industry Association Foundation’s Arborist Safety Training Institute.