In an analysis conducted by the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), 23 of the 37 civilian tree care related accidents reported to the media in 2014 were fatal.
As the TCIA points out in a prepared statement, these figures are not representative of even most of the tree care accidents involving non-professionals. But the figures do provide insight into the types of hazards homeowners are likely to encounter while attempting tree work on their own, rather than calling professional arborists or tree care companies.
“Homeowners may not realize how dangerous tree work can be, and how much they’re risking by taking the ‘do-it-yourself’ approach,” said Peter Gerstenberger, senior advisor for safety, standards and compliance for TCIA, in the prepared statement. “Lack of training, equipment, or situational awareness undoubtedly contributed to these incidents, which could have been avoided by hiring a professional tree care company.”
The median age of the accidents victims was 62, with the oldest being 76-years-old and the youngest a 3-year-old toddler, who was tragically killed by walking into the path of a tree his father was felling. Three of the 37 accident victims, including this 3-year-old, were innocent bystanders.
The majority of these 37 reported accidents happened to homeowners who were struck by a tree while attempting to fell it, or where hit by limbs, wires or chain saws. Electrocution was also one of the exposure types in these accidents.
The lone chain saw incident happened to be a little more high profile than the others —pro golfer Greg Norman was struck by a chain saw, which, according to Norman, almost cut off his left hand while trimming a tree at his home near Jupiter Island, Florida. Norman was working alone at the time of the incident, which is part of a disturbing trend in this report — in two thirds of the cases where it could be determined, the victims engaged in tree care work with nobody to assist them in any form or fashion.
Read about the TCIA’s 2014 reported accidents by tree care pros analysis in the April issue of Tree Services magazine.