Tree Removal Safety Gear and Precautions
Cutting a tree is sometimes demanding and at other times dangerous. The hazards come with the use of equipment and the nature of the tree itself. People usually disregard safety because they think removing a tree is a simple job that involves cutting it and moving it away. Tree removal specialists in Alexandria know better.
Our tree doctors take their job seriously. They underwent training, and they have sufficient experience in handling different cases of tree treatment, maintenance, and removal involving a wide range of trees in Virginia. We know these tasks aren’t your everyday backyard tasks. These are major tasks with real hazards and dire consequences when done clumsily. Thus, we abide by OSHA guidelines not only because we want to keep our specialists safe on site but also because we want to ensure the safety of our clients and reduce chances of damage to their property.
A. Wear complete protective gear!
If you think you can just roll up your sleeves and get on the task, at least remember that a typical tree is several tens of tons heavy! That weight is a hazard in itself. However, even tiny splinters and wood chips can become nasty projectiles that may cut your skin or eye if you’re not careful. That is one of the reasons why OSHA requires you to don protective gear before doing the task.
Protective gear includes the following:
A helmet protects your head from falling debris, which can be anything from twigs to a large fruit. Trees that need to be removed often have decaying parts that can snap with the slightest movement. Your head had better not be bare when a sharp edge of a twig falls onto it.
2. Face mask/shield
Cutting a branch or trunk with a chainsaw sends splinters flying into the air at high speeds. These fragments can cut or puncture your skin.
3. Safety glasses/goggles
Just as you don’t want splinters injuring your face, you also don’t want any organic matter in your eye. Your eye is the most delicate part of your body, and it’s vulnerable to injury and infection when hit by foreign objects. It’s impossible to continue cutting branches when you have sustained a corneal abrasion.
A tree removal professional in Alexandria cannot work with bare hands. Not only do gloves protect the hands from cuts and bruises, but also do they protect you from poisonous plants and insects. In addition, special gloves give you a firmer grip on cutting or scaling equipment.
5. Protective clothing
When you’re operating a chainsaw and chips of wood hit you over and over, you may suffer from skin irritation or abrasions or cuts, which nobody wants. You’re probably a tough guy, but you’re still better off finishing the task unscathed.
You’re probably laughing now and thinking this is a little too much. Or is it? Foresters who operate chainsaws are exposed to more than 110 decibels of noise. One minute of exposure to that noise is enough to damage your hearing permanently. This is why you need to wear earmuffs or earplugs.
7. Work boots
You’re not wearing sneakers this time. You’re not going to jog on the sidewalk. You’re going to climb a tree, hang midair in a harness, squat on or cling to branches, and hope nothing too bulky hits your toe. Work boots give you that much needed traction when scaling a tree. They also offer your feet protection from impacts that may otherwise injure your foot.
B. Ground power lines before working with any tree.
Before you cut a tree or its branches, be aware that branches will drag power lines under it. If you didn’t contact your power distribution company to have the power shut down or have the lines grounded beforehand, you have just downed energized utility lines and put your neighborhood at risk of electrocution.
Assume all power lines are alive. Contact the power distribution company about grounding electrical lines before commencing the project.
C. Don’t work when the weather is bad.
No one should be outdoors doing risky activities in unfavorable weather. Rain, snow, hail, winds, and lightning raise the risks associated with tree removal or maintenance significantly. You’re better off rescheduling the task.
Rain, for instance, may seem harmless, but water soaks branches and can make tree trunks slippery. Snow and ice definitely make branches heavier and more likely to fall when they have been weakened by decay.
D. Assess the tree
Potential hazards may come as fractured branches, rotting trunk, stinging insects nesting in the tree, or irritating vines crawling up the branches. The size of the tree is another important factor to consider. You can’t just cut a large tree in a suburban area and expect it to fall on a vacant space owned by no one. Careless tree removal can lead to damage to other trees, property, or utility lines. Even a fairly small tree needs to be cut piece by piece to avoid untoward incidents that lead to litigation and payment for damages.
E. Assessing the falling zone
Tree removal entails a procedure that minimizes harm to nearby trees and property. How a tree falls depends on how you cut it. In some cases, you will have to cut a tree piece by piece with each piece tied to a rope and sent down to the ground safely. The goal is to not hit power lines, streetlights, houses, or people.
Your safety is another priority. You should be fit enough to climb trees, be in a harness, and carry equipment in midair. Otherwise, the weight of a branch could drag you as you maneuver it. Branches may also swing when you cut them. If you’re not careful, it could throw you off balance, and that’s not a good thing if you’re 50 feet above the ground.
We at Alexandria Tree Services are aware of the risks involved in removing trees. This is why we always tell homeowners to hire professionals for the job and not attempt to do it themselves if they have zero experience in tree management and removal. Call us at 571-371-0282.