Have you ever started talking to someone and gotten offended that they didn’t answer your questions or acknowledge you because they didn’t realize you were talking to them? This situation happens a lot, and most of the time is not a big deal once communication is established. However, the answer on a project is that yes, your arborist may actually be ignoring you. Before I lose you let me explain why.
The short explanation is that tree work is extremely dangerous. A brief look at the Tree Care Industry Association Accident Briefs is enough to convince anyone of that. When on a jobsite it is vital for the crew to be able to communicate clearly with each other, maintain proper personal protective equipment, and focus on the task at hand. Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy talking with our clients on the job, anyone we have worked for knows we like to establish a good relationship with our clients, it just means we might not be able to talk every time you come out to ask questions or discuss something.
Now lets dig more into the why’s and how’s of safety on the job for your arborist and his crew. First we will discuss PPE. Every member of our crew is required to wear an approved helmet, eye protection, hearing protection, and either chainsaw pants or chaps when on site. Obviously chainsaws are dangerous, and the fibers in chainsaw pants are designed to bind up the chain so it can’t continue cutting, but what about the other dangers? Helmets are a must, any number of over head dangers can be present and sometimes not visible from the ground. Helmets also help protect from limbs bending/whipping when being fed into chippers etc. Tree care equipment is loud, very loud. A lot of chainsaws can be heard from houses away and chippers from several streets over, so hearing protection is a must. So how do we communicate with hearing protection being used you ask? Our team uses in ear muff communication systems that have a microphone attached to the helmet. This allows clear, consistent communication between the ground and in the tree. Being able to focus is the key to bringing all of this together. There are so many hazards on your project. Machinery, flying wood, seen and unseen broken limbs, hazards within your yard (pathways and landscaping to navigate without tripping, cords, Christmas lights, dog poop), and our own gear (ropes that get caught etc) just to name a few. You might be wondering how dog poop is a hazard beyond just smelling bad, well, that stuff is slippery! Boot tread full of dog poop, plus tree bark, equals no grip for your climber in your trees. What about Christmas lights? This past December a groundsman got tangled up in some lights as a limb got pulled into the chipper and he got dragged in with the limb. A rope in a limb may not sound like a big deal, but check out this demo on what happens if your climber’s rope ends up in the drum of the chipper. All of these are “small” errors compared to something like dropping a tree on your home, but all of them can be or are fatal.
Why am I writing about this right now? This is Katie, Aaron’s wife, writing this article today. The tree care industry has had multiple fatalities in the last 2 months alone, and I don’t want my husband to be one of that number. Most recently a very well known and very skilled arborist, Jed Walters (inbredjedd to those who followed him on social media) died on the job due to no error of his or his crew. A lot of times there is something to blame when an accident claims someone’s life, but not this time. It has only been a little over a week since he left for work and didn’t go home to his wife and daughters, and it has shaken the industry. This week Aaron would come home from a job and tell me he felt ridiculous how much more attentive he was to things that he typically wouldn’t stress about. Every day I pray with our boys that daddy comes home safe. I worry when I haven’t heard from him at a time I have expected to have news on his day. So yes, sometimes your arborist can’t talk or socialize, because they are trying to go home to their family at the end of the day.
I leave you with a poem that was originally written and published by TheLoggersWife.com The same could be written from the heart of “An Arborist’s Wife”.
Prayer Of A Logger’s Wife
I stand here in the kitchen at the start of a brand new day.
Listening to the pickup, as he gets in and drives away.
So once again I turn to you – Lord please hear my prayer.
Protect him as he does his job. Please keep him in your care.
I know his job is dangerous, but it’s what he loves to do.
Keep them safe today dear Lord, my husband and his crew.
You know how hard he works, to provide us a good life.
So, good morning Lord, it’s me again,
The Logger’s Wife