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Tree cutters face more than chainsaw hazards on the job

| Feb 12, 2021 | Workers' Compensation |

If you are a member of a tree-worker crew in San Diego, you will know that it is way up on the list of hazardous occupations. Although your employer is responsible for your health and safety in your workplace, it is always good to learn about the potential hazards tree cutters face. This is where proper safety training comes in.

Hazard assessment

As a part of the planning, a qualified tree worker must assess the trees you will cut. That person must then brief the work crew by informing them about potential hazards and provide workers with the necessary personal protective equipment. The following aspects of tree work pose risks, and mitigating them should form a part of your safety training.

The tree species to be cut

The qualified supervisor must determine the following:

  • The density and weight of the trees vary by species.
  • The species will determine the type of rigging system necessary.
  • The density and weight will determine the level of force necessary to bring the tree down.

Establish escape routes

The qualified supervisor must ensure that you and your co-workers know the following:

  • The supervisor must identify clear routes to allow a safe escape.
  • Several routes must allow the safe escape of workers in various locations.
  • Keep escape routes obstacle-free without posing hazards to other routes.

Drop zone location

The qualified supervisor must establish the height of the tree you have to cut down:

  • This step is critical in the overall safety of the project.
  • The height of the tree indicates the drop zone size.
  • The drop zone should be restricted to those crew members directly involved.
  • The drop zone size must be at least double that of the tree for which it is meant.
  • All the drop zones must be obstacle-free.

Guiding the tree to fall in the drop zone

You and the rest of the tree cutters must receive training to do the following:

  • Use the chainsaw to make the cut that will let the tree fall in the drop zone.
  • Use a rope to guide the tree to the drop zone.
  • Use an anchor point and a pulley or rigging system to guide the tree to the drop zone.

Following the safety procedures when you cut trees might keep you safe. However, the slightest violation of safety regulations could have severe ramifications. Fortunately, the California workers’ compensation program will have your back if you suffer a work-related injury. Benefits will cover your medical expenses and lost wages. Injuries that cause permanent disabilities could make you eligible for additional compensation.

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