Tree Care Safety - First, Last and Always

Friday, December 04, 2015

Safety is the name of the game in the tree care industry – or at least, it should be. Just consider this recent article on the CDC website about another tree trimmer death in California. Tree trimming fatalities are not the norm, but they are certainly a risk.

Tree Care is Dangerous Work and Proper Precautions Must Be Taken

The tree care industry is one of the most hazardous in the work force. In addition to working at great heights – often suspending ourselves as high as 100 feet off the ground or more, using powerful equipment and performing work that requires sharp blades and saws, we also drive large vehicles, carry loads of heavy equipment onsite and frequently use pesticides necessary to treat trees for insect infestation and diseases.

With all this potential for accidents, it’s imperative that we keep safety at the top of our priority list. In fact, if we don’t, we aren’t the only ones who can suffer. Poorly maintained tools, improper pesticide application, poor cuts and techniques – all of these can lead to long-lasting damage to your trees as well as your property if a limb falls or a tree dies as the result of shoddy workmanship.

Verify Your Arborist is Certified & Uses Industry-Proven Best Practices

So, how do you know whether or not the arborist or tree care service you’ve hired is “Safe” or not? Good question. There are multiple certifications, licenses and procedures that you can ask them about. If they come up short, it’s in everyone’s best interest that you move down to the next company on your search engine results page.

Here are a list of some of the certification, licensing and procedural steps used by Joshua Tree to protect ourselves, our clients and their trees:

  • We employ six certified arborists. Never let anyone near your trees if they aren’t a certified arborist. That tree trimming job may look great, but it can seriously hinder the health of your tree if not done properly. Certified arborists must have years of experience under their belt, and they must also pass a thorough examination that covers all aspects of arboriculture. You can visit the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) website to find a certified arborist or we recommend asking to see your prospective arborist’s proof of certification in person.
  • We employ eight employees with a PA applicators license. It’s important that anyone applying a potentially toxic chemical to your property does so with respect to best-practices and the manufacturer’s safety guidelines. The PA applicators license ensures the people treating your trees, shrubs and lawns know what they are doing and that they won’t pose unnecessary harm.
  • We have seven EHAP certified individuals on staff. EHAP stands for Electrical Hazards Awareness Program. Many home and business owners forget that working with trees and their limbs means working in and around power lines. This is extremely dangerous work. Our EHAP certification indicates to the consumer that we know what we are doing and will use what we have learned to keep us - and your property - safe from electrical hazards.
  • CPR & First-Aid Certification. We do our best to stay safe, but accidents happen. Thus, it’s imperative that our field staff are certified in First Aid and CPR. We require this certification for ALL of our employees who work in the field.
  • Seven of us have our CDL Class B Licensure. We mentioned that we have to drive big vehicles and use heavy equipment. Legally, this means the drivers of certain pieces of equipment must have CDL Class B Licenses. We never let anyone behind the wheel of a qualifying vehicle or piece of equipment without it.
  • 11 PennDOT traffic control certifications. Our work often takes us into the streets (literally), which requires us to direct traffic. It may look easy but you’d be surprised. Thus, we’ve trained 11 of our staff to be PennDot traffic control certified. If our crew is holding the flags, you can put your trust in them!

So, what does all of this really mean? It means that each year, every single one of our employees logs about 50 hours of safety training to become certified and to maintain those certifications. At the fiscal level, Joshua Tree values your safety and ours, and this safety-related time and money is a no-brainer investment.

Who’s up there taking care of your trees? Whoever they are, do yourself (and them!) a favor and ask to see some proof of their credentials to help keep everybody safe.

Joshua Malik

Written by Joshua Malik

With an intense passion for arboriculture and lawn care, founder Joshua Malik brings to Joshua Tree over 20 years of experience in the tree and lawn care industry. And he expects the same passion in his team by employing representatives and field personnel who have achieved and maintained proper industry credentials to ensure clients benefit through best practices.