Remembering Safety First
Tree Work is definitely labor intensive and dangerous. It is easy to get caught up in the daily routine of tree climbing, chipping brush, and getting jobs completed quickly to bring in the dollars for the company. So where is the trade off between safety and working as fast as you can to complete a job? The answer is simple, there is no tradeoff or exception to safety. Tree service is on the top of the chart when it comes to fatalities nationwide. Make no mistake, working in a safe manner should not increase the time on a job, instead doing tree work the right and safe way will actually help the job go more efficiently.
More companies today are becoming safety conscious. This is mainly because industry organizations such as TCIA, ISA, and OSHA are becoming more involved than ever. There is now an industry specific tree care safety certification CTSP. There are professionally written safety programs that are readily available for tree businesses to use, and incident rates are reducing among the companies participating in the available programs.
So how can we actually stop a tree worker in their track and instill a safety conscious mindset? Our company has regular safety meetings, follows a safety policy, and has a disciplinary program that is enforced.
As these items are necessary for safety effectiveness, there is a key ingredient that seems to make it all work. That is, interactive safety. Our meetings start with a brief introduction of the topic, and a short summary. Then our company opens the floor for discussion. A foreman, climber, or groundman talks about a near miss that occurred that week. As a group, we go over the near miss, how it happened, and how it could have been avoided. A solution for how a simple change would have prevented the near miss from happening again in the future is determined.
Making the safety meetings interactive is very important to keep safety open, fun, and productive among employees. I think everyone benefits more from an interactive learning style than one of lecture. Overall, the most important aspect of holding interactive regular safety meetings is that it stops an Arborist in their daily routine, and reminds them of safety first.