As one of the largest metro areas in the country by square mile, Houston is home to a very large number of beautiful trees found throughout the city. Because our expansive city has many trees, there is also a great need for tree care services near homes, businesses, parks, roadways, apartment complexes and community areas.
In just a short ten-minute drive, an individual can pass by nearly a half-dozen mom-and-pop tree care workers and companies hauling equipment, ready to trim trees and perform other tree care tasks. However, nearly all of these amateur and untrained tree care companies are not OSHA-compliant, meaning that their unsafe tree work puts themselves, property owners, and nearby buildings, vehicles and other assets in jeopardy.
When it comes to tree care services, safety practices matter greatly because tree work is considered to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. Tree workers rank within the top ten of the most deadly professions because of the high risk of injuries from falling trees and branches, electrocution from nearby power lines, and accidents involving chainsaws and other tree service equipment. For this reason, it is critical for property owners to only use tree service companies compliant with both federal OSHA standards for workplace safety, as well as voluntary ANSI-A300 tree care standards. These safety guidelines help ensure that tree care companies perform their work without risking the health of their employees.
Unfortunately, most amateur and untrained tree care companies perform their work using little to no personal protection equipment such as hard hats, safety chaps, safety glasses, gloves or safety climbing harnesses. These unsafe workers also commonly use ladders during tree work, which is extremely risky because of their unstable position and support for the tree worker. The video in our previous blog post highlights the common dangers that exist when combining ladders with tree work and chainsaws. Additionally, some tree workers use tree gaffs or spurs to climb up trees, which can leave large gashes and wounds in the tree. Proper tree work at an elevated height involves the use of safety cables and harnesses, or professional service vehicles like bucket trucks to ensure the complete safety of the employee at all times.
Utilizing outstanding safety practices in tree care not only protects the health and safety of employees and property owners, but also nearby assets that could be damaged by unsafe tree care practices. Many times untrained, amateur tree workers end up damaging nearby property such as homes, businesses, vehicles, fences, and other structures that then must be repaired or replaced. Many of the amateur or mom-and-pop tree care companies that completely disregard tree work safety also have little to no insurance liability protection, so the cost of repairs, replacement or injury falls to the property owner.