The tree care industry is an inherently dangerous one, and despite all the training, education and safety gear available to workers, unfortunately accidents still happen. The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) has released its annual accident report, and unfortunately 2013 did not see a marked improvement over the previous year.
Overall, TCIA reviewed 158 accidents, which included 79 fatalities, compared to 84 fatalities in 2012. There was a dramatic increase in nonfatal accidents: 79 in 2013 compared to 44 in 2012. Over the last year there were 14 fatalities caused by falls from trees, nine caused by falls from aerial lifts, 12 struck-by-tree deaths, 13 struck-by-tree-limb deaths and 12 electrocution fatalities.
These numbers are staggering, and show that despite advances in training and education and the development of modern safety equipment, there is still a long way to go.
Look for more information on working safely around wires on pages 8 and 26 of this issue.
While we’re on the topic of occupational safety, OSHA has released a new educational resource that focuses on requirements for injury recording of temporary worker injuries and illnesses. The new Recordkeeping Bulletin explains the requirements for both the staffing agency and the host employer, including how to identify who is responsible for recording work-related injuries and illnesses of temporary workers on the OSHA 300 log. OSHA has received and investigated many reports of temporary workers suffering serious or fatal injuries within their first week on the job. The initiative was launched to raise awareness and compliance with requirements that temporary workers receive the same training and protection that existing workers receive.
The Recordkeeping Bulletin can be found at http://www.osha.gov/temp_workers/OSHA_TWI_Bulletin.pdf.