The tree care profession is inherently a dangerous one — workers in the field risks their lives every day climbing up, climbing down and using dangerous equipment.
And, despite safety precautions, high-tech gear, education and training, accidents will happen.
Earlier today, the Tree Care Industry Association released a report, reviewing the 147 occupational tree care accidents reported to the media, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration and industry colleagues in 2015. Of these 147 accidents reported last year, 87 were fatal.
In 2014, 81 of 126 reported accidents were fatal. In 2013, 79 were fatal.
As the TCIA explains in its report, while the overall number of incidents doesn’t seem to have changed significantly year to year, there does seem to have been a downward trend in one statistic — the number of overall electrical incidents as well as the percentage of electrical incidents (as compared to other causes) has both declined in recent years. As a percentage of all fatal occupational incidents, electrical contact comprised 14 percent in 2011, 22 percent in 2012, 15 percent in 2013, 14 percent in 2014, and 7 percent in 2015.
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.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated for accuracy. A previous version stated that there had been 92 fatal accidents. The TCIA amended the report to 87 fatalities instead of 92.