It’s obvious that working in trees is dangerous. Really any activity dealing with heights is risky. Even climbing a 6’ ladder can lead to injuries without the proper safety precautions. The danger increases exponentially when chainsaws, heavy or dead wood, power lines and homes are added.
We here at GV Tree & Landscaping devote considerable time and effort to the training of our employees. That not only brings us home safe every night, it also improves the quality of our service. We find it paramount to train and retrain all employees in safety protocol. The feeling of accomplishing a nearly impossible task in a safe manner is amazing.
In the past, safe practices were simply learned from more experienced employees. Good and bad practices were passed on from one group to the next. Fortunately, now there is an abundance of safety training material. Safety training now includes videos and seminars. Safety has now become the nature of the industry and those who do not respect it, will suffer.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The first rule of safety is using personal protective equipment. These are hardhats, rated safety glasses, earplugs, chainsaws chaps and safety vests. With little particles flying everywhere during cutting, safety glasses can save your eyes from tragedy. I can attest that even on the ground, walking into a tree bud can ruin a person’s week.We also train our employees on road safety and setting up a safe work zone. It is important that signage, cones, and vests meet all industry requirements. We don’t want to see anyone hurt or any property damaged at the end of the day.
Safety for Both Climbers and Grounds Men
In the tree world, we use phrases like ‘baby steps’ and ‘low and slow’ when training new climbers. Before learning to climb, it is necessary to understand the ground operations. On the ground, awareness is key. Both climbers and grounds men are always in constant communication with each other. Climbers check and communicate with the ground crew before dropping branches.
The novice must learn knots before ever stepping foot in a tree. A beginner climber must master the use of a chainsaw and chipper. Then more experienced climbers show beginners how to climb using ropes. Once all these safety methods are internalized and they show promise, we put them up a small tree.
Experience is great, but we also use material that helps us adhere to industry guidelines. These manuals are in both video format and print material in numerous languages. There is no excuse for not having proper safety training. Our experienced climbers retrain by attending safety meetings and seminars. Additionally, trade conventions and climbing competitions provide great learning environments for all skill levels. This is where we learn new techniques and share experiences.
Every quarter we hold aerial rescue training. We place a dummy in the tree and have our climbers rescue it safely. Part of the training is to practice giving the proper information to emergency services. Then we get the climber down without causing more damage. We have never had to perform an aerial rescue, but we are glad that we train for it.
Equipment Safety Training
The equipment we use in the industry can be unforgiving if not used properly. Our experienced employees along with instructional DVDs help train our new employees on the proper use of equipment. When we purchase new equipment, the dealer gives us hands-on training on how to operate it. We not only focus on the use of equipment but also the placement of the equipment on the property.
At the end of the day, we want our employees to come home safe and exceed our customers' expectations. The owners give every employee the proper training and gear for safe operations. They promote a culture of safety every day. Safety first is our way of doing business.
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