The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration warn that tree trimming should be done with caution, and most of the time professional help should be consulted.
For example, a tree that stands at 10 feet away from a power line should always be tended for by a trained trimmer. The work must involve at least two people who should stay in voice communication range.
A safe assumption is to consider all power lines to be energized. Before starting to work on a tree, the power company should be announced and asked to de-energize the power lines or ground them.
Tree Trimming Recommendations
OSHA’s public release contains a list of advice referring to tree work. The recommendations apply to people who are trying to cut down a tree and to those who need to climb it in order to trim it and to remove branches.
There is a general set of rules for people who work with trees, no matter the activity that it needs to be performed.
For example, people should refrain from trimming in dangerous water conditions, which could involve slippery ground and surfaces or even lightning strikes.
Anyone that uses a chain saw should be properly trained and should wear protective equipment. A fire extinguisher is also useful.
Before cutting a tree, the lean direction should be determined. Trees can either lean forward, backward or sideways, and that information will indicate the direction of the fall. The workers should also have a safe location where to shield from the trees’ fall.
Under no circumstance should a person turn its back on a falling tree.
Before climbing a tree, the limbs should be adequately examined to avoid a fall. Moreover, fall protection should be used if a person is working on high branches.
Trimming broken trees under pressure must be done after the direction is determined, and then the work should be approached starting with small cuts.
The trees that are not completely fallen or those that lodge against other trees are the most dangerous ones, and workers should take precaution measures.
The International Society of Arboriculture adds a couple of more rules to the ones listed by OSHA.
It is important to identify poisonous plants, such as poison ivy or poison oak, which could lead to complications even in the event of a scratch. Moreover, the workers should know how to deal with insects and vertebrates that can be encountered in trees, such as bees, spiders or squirrels.
The escape route in a felling operation is 45 degrees on both sides of the fall direction.
Image Source: YouTube