Landscape workers in Texas and around the country face many occupational hazards while they remove dead trees and trim branches from live ones. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has published a list of tips for staying safe while doing tree work. According to OSHA, some of the most dangerous hazards faced by tree workers are bad weather, power lines and lack of training with power tools.
OSHA advises tree workers and their employers to be extra cautious when trimming branches and removing trees around power lines. While tree workers should always assume that power lines are live, their employers may ask the local utility company to shut them off before work begins. Only trained and experienced tree trimmers should perform tree work near power lines.
While tree work is being done, workers should stay cognizant of the potential for trees and branches to fall. OSHA says that workers should attempt to determine what direction trees are likely to fall in before beginning work. If trees must be climbed, their limbs should be tested for stability first. Tree workers that are working at heights should have fall protection equipment, and a worker who is climbing should never be carrying tools at the same time.
Tree workers that have been injured by falls or contact with power lines may take many weeks to recover from their injuries. During this time, their dependent family members could lose their main source of income. Most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees who are injured on the job, and an attorney could help an injured worker prepare and submit a claim for benefits that could help ease the financial burden.