Spring has sprung, and hopefully your phones are ringing off the hook and business is pouring in. I’m sure your preseason checklist includes tuning up equipment and maybe purchasing some new tools to help increase efficiency, but have you considered updating your work wear and PPE? During this hectic time of year, as you prepare for what will surely be a busy and profitable summer season, designate time to clean out your closet and invest in some new gear to keep you safe and comfortable during those long hours on the job.

We’ve dedicated this issue to providing you with information on some of the latest, and greatest, clothing and safety products available. We talked to manufacturers, retailers and your peers in the field, to learn more about trends and preferences in on-the-job apparel. Whether you need to replace your worn-out boots, upgrade your dinged-up helmet or outfit your crew with high-visibility vests, you’ll find what you’re looking for in this issue.

Another important consideration before the busy season hits is your company’s safety program. The safety of you and your crew should always be your first priority, so revisit your current policies and procedures and determine what else you could incorporate. Tailgate safety meetings are a great idea, but you cannot rely on them as your only means of communicating your expectations when it comes to being safe on the job. Between 1985 and 2007, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health investigated 45 fatalities related to tree care operations. In 75 percent of those incidents, the employer did not have written safety policies and procedures in place. In 70 percent of those incidents, safety training consisted only of informal or on-the-job training. Clearly state your policies and procedures in writing, and incorporate mandatory, formal training as part of your company’s safety policy, because your most important job is making sure that at the end of the day, everyone goes home safe.

Katie Meyers