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MOSH campaigns to stop tree workers from being injured on the job

Workers in the tree removal and cutting industry frequently put their welfare and their lives on the line. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say approximately 80 tree workers are fatally injured on the job every year across the country. Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) recently launched a campaign to promote awareness of safety in this industry with the goal of reducing the number of injuries among tree care workers -- including nonfatal injuries.

The campaign will focus on fall and struck-by hazards along with electrocution, which a CDC study identified as the three primary causes of deaths in this industry. This study included tree care workers, landscapers and arborists. During the campaign, MOSH will underscore the importance of hazard assessment before work starts, including checking the weather, identifying electrical hazards and ensuring all equipment is in good working order, and that the operators of the machines are properly trained.

Safety equipment must include eye protection, gloves, hearing protection, hard hats and any other PPE recommended by the manufacturers of equipment that will be used. Before climbing or cutting a tree, its health must be checked for rot and bug infestation, along with the area in which the tree will be guided to fall -- with easy access to a retreat area for workers when the tree falls. Those who have to work high up must be trained to climb safely while fully equipped and wearing fall protection.

Tree workers must be taught that turning their backs on falling trees can be deadly. Anyone who is injured on the job may find comfort knowing that the Maryland workers' compensation system provides benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages. However, in many cases, there are many challenges and stumbling blocks to overcome before victims receive the benefits to which they are entitled. For that reason, many injured employees seek the support and guidance of an experienced workers' comp attorney to help with the navigation of benefits claims.

Source:, "Photo Gallery: Tips for Safe Tree Trimming and Removal", Stefanie Valentic, July 14, 2017

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