Ensuring Safe Storage and Maintenance of Tree Service Equipment

Tree care and removal operations can be hazardous for workers, as they are exposed to a variety of risks such as falls, electrocution, and noise exposure. It is essential that employers comply with the relevant regulations to ensure the safety of their workers. Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) must assess whether employers have complied with the relevant regulations when workers are exposed to such hazards. When it comes to climbing, relocating, and performing lifting work on trees, employers must adhere to the requirements of 29 CFR § 1910.140.

If compliance with this regulation raises potential feasibility issues, the CSHO should contact the Compliance Programs Directorate of the OSHA National Office to determine appropriate compliance options. Portable ladders must also meet the OSHA Walking and Working Surface Standard (29 CFR § 1910, Subpart D). Workers can be electrocuted if their tools or equipment come into contact with an energized power line. Employers must also comply with the occupational noise exposure standard (29 CFR § 1910.95 (b) ()), which requires the use of “feasible administrative or engineering controls” to address noise risks and the use of PPE if administrative and engineering controls “fail to reduce sound levels within the levels specified in the standard”.

In addition, employers must administer a continuous and effective hearing conservation program as long as employee noise exposure equals or exceeds an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) of 8 hours of 85 dBA or a dosage of fifty percent (29 CFR § 1910.95 (c)). Aerial lifts can be used in accordance with 29 CFR § 1910.67, lifting and rotating work platforms mounted on vehicles, as a safe method for positioning employees. However, climbing rotting or damaged trees can be dangerous and should be avoided. If it is impossible to use an aerial device and if climbing is not safe, staff platforms that comply with 29 CFR § 1926,1431 can be suspended for crane personnel. The employer is responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees, including tools and equipment that employees may provide (29 CFR § 1910.242 (a)).

The standard on hand and portable power tools and other portable equipment, 29 CFR § 1910, subpart P, contains some other requirements that apply to chainsaws and other tools used during tree care and removal operations. For example, 29 CFR § 1910.243 (a) (i) requires that all portable chainsaws that run on gasoline be equipped with a constant pressure accelerator control that interrupts the power supply to the saw chain when pressure is released. The provisions on felling trees with free line space of the electric power generation, transmission and distribution standard, 29 CFR § 1910.269 (r) (), also contain requirements potentially applicable to chainsaws with gasoline engines, including the requirement that gasoline-powered chainsaws be ignited on the ground or where they are otherwise firmly supported. When workers use brushcutters, log cutters, chainsaws, or other machinery, CSHOs must assess whether employers have met these and other requirements of 29 CFR § 1910. To guarantee that tree service equipment is properly stored and maintained when not in use, employers must comply with all relevant regulations regarding safety and maintenance. Employers should also make sure that their workers are properly trained in the use of such equipment and that they are aware of all safety protocols. It is essential for employers to take all necessary steps to ensure proper storage and maintenance of tree service equipment in order to protect their workers from potential hazards.

Employers should ensure that their workers are properly trained in the use of such equipment and that they are aware of all safety protocols. Furthermore, employers should comply with all relevant regulations regarding safety and maintenance in order to guarantee proper storage and maintenance of tree service equipment.

Mary Boucher Williams
Mary Boucher Williams

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