Tips for safe tree trimming and removal

Help reduce injuries by making workers aware of hazards and training them to use appropriate safety techniques and equipment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set standards for safety while trimming and felling trees and provides the following tips to keep workers safe.

Identify any hazards in the work area, including nearby power lines, and whenever possible, minimize or eliminate exposure to these hazards. If power lines are in or near the worksite, contact the local utility company to request they de-energize and ground or shield power lines in the work area. Any trimming or clearing work within ten feet of a power line must be completed by trained and experienced line-clearance tree trimmers.

Ensure workers operating chainsaws and other equipment are trained and that all equipment is properly maintained and inspected before use, provide the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), and: 

•    Clear and identify a path for workers to retreat to a safe location when felling trees and trimming branches
•    Do not attempt to remove or trim trees in high winds or other dangerous weather
•    Address any leaning or lodged trees
•    Inspect broken trees that may be under pressure and use a machine to remove the trees or a chainsaw to make small cuts to release the pressure
•    Identify the proper amount of hinge wood needed to safely direct a tree’s fall
•    Determine a tree’s proper felling direction
•    Stay alert and never turn your back on a falling tree
•    Reduce risk by using a machine to push or pull down a tree that is wedged against another tree
•    Use caution when moving ladders and other equipment near downed trees and power lines
•    Use fall protection for workers in lifts, climbing trees, and trimming high branches, and chainsaw chaps for workers operating chainsaws
•    Train workers to assess the strength and stability of branches before climbing onto them and avoid climbing trees while holding tools
•    Protect hands and provide an improved grip for workers handling tools and equipment with work gloves
•    Workers using chainsaws and other noisy equipment should be equipped with hearing protection
•    Ensure workers are wearing hard hats to protect against falling and flying debris
•    As a tree falls, branches, bark, wood, and dirt may be projected into the air. Help protect workers by providing eye protection and face protection

Safeguard workers as they trim, remove, and clear trees. By providing the right safety supplies and training, employers can help to reduce injuries and improve workplace safety.

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