Cal/OSHA’s requirements for tree work are designed to address the complex operations and hazards related to tree maintenance and removal. Workers in tree maintenance operations face hazards such as heights, electrical lines, chainsaws, cutting tools, and mechanical chippers.

The key to controlling hazards and preventing injuries and accidents in tree and ornamental palm maintenance is through extensive training and experience for all of the workers involved in the operation. Most importantly, each worksite should be overseen by a qualified tree worker with the proper training and experience to direct correct work methods and prevent injuries and accidents.

Training for tree work

Training should be documented and delivered to each worker before they are assigned on the job. It  must include:

  • Job-specific hazards associated with tree work.
  • Safe work practices and special techniques for tree pruning, trimming, and felling.
  • Proper and safe use of all equipment.
  • How to identify and prevent contact with common poisonous plants and harmful animals.
  • Pesticide and fertilizer applications for employees using and exposed to them, if applicable.
  • Electrical hazard identification and prevention.
  • Fall prevention equipment and practices.
  • Communication methods.
  • Roadway safety.

Procedures for emergencies, rescue, and response

Prepare these in advance for each job operation. All employees need training on these procedures, including:

  • Emergency response.
  • Aerial rescue procedures.
  • First aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Hearing protection, if applicable.

Refresher training

This helps prevent complacency and ensure sthat employees follow established procedures. Refresher or additional training is required for any employee who has:

  • Been observed to violate the safe work practices required by Cal/OSHA.
  • Been involved in an accident or near miss.
  • Been assigned a new job that includes the use of equipment, machinery, tools, or tasks new to the employee.

Job briefing before each work assignment

This is a final opportunity for training. It should be conducted by a qualified tree worker and include the following:

  • Site and task specific hazards.
  • Appropriate work procedures, personal protective equipment, and other items needed to conduct the job safely.
  • The briefing should be held again if there are significant changes at the site that might affect safety.

These levels of training may seem extensive and time consuming. Due to the complexity and hazards involved with tree work, training is imperative to prepare employees for the complex operations and changing site conditions of tree work.