Tree care work is among the most hazardous types of work for Pennsylvania employees. Of all landscape service fatalities, 75 percent are related to tree removal or trimming. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, does not require a specific standard of care for this type of work, but federal regulations that apply to all workers apply to arborists.
There are three main types of tree care work accidents: falls, being struck by limbs or trees and electrical contact. These three causes of tree-related accidents have not changed in recent years.
OSHA has recommended that employers develop comprehensive programs to help protect tree workers. Recommendations include training to assist workers to identify hazards, monitoring workers for symptoms of heat-related illness and surveying job sites daily.
OSHA has also issued recommendations for employees that include proper use of safety equipment, regular inspection of equipment, identifying electrical hazards, maintaining safety zones in work areas, recognizing the signs of heat-related illness and recognizing the inherent dangers that exist regardless of skill and experience.
Tree workers may be eligible for workers’ compensation in the event that they are injured while on the job. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance carried by employers that is designed to cover medical expenses, lost wages and other expenses in the event of a job site accident.
Injured workers may benefit from consulting an attorney experienced in workers’ compensation. An attorney may be able to assist eligible employees by providing legal advice regarding the requirements an injured worker is required to follow to comply with federal guidelines. For example, workers may need to follow specific rules for reporting their injuries and seeking medical care following an on-the-job injury. An attorney may be able to assist clients with compliance and filing paperwork to assist them with applying for compensation.