Tree care and removal operations can be hazardous for workers, and it is essential that employers comply with safety regulations to ensure their employees are safe. This article will discuss the safety standards for tree service equipment, including portable ladders, aerial lifts, chainsaws, and other power tools. It will also explain how employers can ensure that their equipment is up to date with the latest safety regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established regulations to protect workers from falls and falling objects. Employers must comply with 29 CFR § 1910, Subparts D and I, as well as 29 CFR § 1910.6.Portable ladders must meet the requirements of 29 CFR §§ 1910.22, 1910.23, and 1910.30.
If employers fail to comply with these regulations, they may be subject to a subpoena under the General Duty Clause. When using chainsaws, chippers, and other power tools in tree care and removal operations, employers must adhere to the occupational noise exposure standard (29 CFR § 1910.95 (b) ()). This standard requires the use of “feasible administrative or engineering controls” to reduce sound levels and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) if necessary. Employers must also administer a continuous and effective hearing conservation program if 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 are considered a safe method for positioning employees in accordance with 29 CFR § 1910.67. However, climbing rotting or damaged trees can be dangerous due to insect infestations or fire damage. If an aerial device is not feasible and climbing is not safe, employers may use a platform suspended for crane personnel that complies with 29 CFR § 1926,1431. The OSHA standard on hand and portable power tools and other portable equipment (29 CFR § 1910, Subpart P) contains requirements for 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. Employers must also comply with 29 CFR § 1910.242 (a), which requires them to be responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees. 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 for chainsaws with gasoline engines. For example, 29 CFR § 1910.269 (r) (e) requires that operations with gasoline-powered chainsaws meet the requirements of 29 CFR § 1910.266 (e). This includes prohibiting fall-start chainsaws and providing means to prevent or minimize chainsaw recoil. When workers use brushcutters, log cutters, chainsaws, or other machinery, employers must ensure that their equipment meets all applicable safety standards.
This includes complying with 29 CFR § 1910, Subpart P for hand and portable power tools and other portable equipment as well as 29 CFR § 1910.269 (r) for felling trees with free line space. By following these safety regulations, employers can ensure that their tree service equipment is up to date with the latest standards. This will help protect workers from falls, electrocution, noise exposure, and other hazards associated with tree care and removal operations.