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Workers' injuries in tree trimming accidents preventable

In Pennsylvania, as elsewhere, trimming trees is necessary and routine. While this may not seem perilous, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said injuries related to such jobs are both common and preventable.

The number of workers killed nationwide while doing tree clearing and trimming work in 2012 was 243. The Philadelphia region under OSHA comprises six states and the District of Columbia. Between 2009 and 2013, 47 deaths were recorded in this region and 79 percent of them occurred in firms with 10 workers or less. OSHA divides the deaths into four main categories. Electrical shock where workers are near power lines and falls from heights such as tree limbs or ladders are two such areas in which workers are injured. Additionally, struck-by hazards where workers are hit by falling limbs or trees and caught-in hazards when workers are caught in mechanical equipment such as chippers pose problems.

The Philadelphia Office which encompasses Philadelphia, Delaware and Chester counties is initiating inspections of various businesses to assure that they are compliant with training procedures for workers involved in tree trimming and clearing activities. According to an OSHA representative, it is important for employers to protect workers when they are doing this work in order to prevent a workplace injury.

Preventing injuries, such as those encountered in tree trimming, rely on the due diligence of the employer in terms of training and providing safe procedures for workers. Pennsylvania workers who are injured on the job have access to workers' compensation through their employers. No showing of negligence is necessary to obtain benefits under the program. A workers' compensation attorney can assist a client in preparing and filing a claim.


Source: Occupational Health & Safety, "OSHA Launches Tree Trimming Safety Emphasis Program", June 16, 2014

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