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NIOSH Alert: Request for Assistance in Preventing Falls and Electrocutions During Tree Trimming

CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) periodically issues alerts on workplace hazards that have caused death, serious injury, or illness to workers. One such alert, Request for Assistance in Preventing Falls and Electrocutions During Tree Trimming (1) recently was released and is available to the public. * This alert describes eight representative incidents that resulted in five electrocutions and three fatal falls of tree trimmers and provides recommendations to prevent falls and electrocutions during tree trimming and cutting.

Data from the NIOSH National Traumatic Occupational Fatality database indicate that during 1980-1988, at least 181 workers involved in tree trimming and cutting (approximately 20 each year) died from injuries sustained at work. The two leading causes of death were electrocution (68 {38%} workers) and falls (52 {29%} workers). Recent NIOSH investigations conducted under the Fatal Accident Circumstances and Epidemiology program (now called the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program) suggest that many tree trimmers and their employers lack training and knowledge of relevant Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards and may be unaware of the risks posed by inadequate or improper safety procedures and equipment.


  1. NIOSH. NIOSH alert: request for assistance in preventing falls and electrocutions during tree trimming. Cincinnati: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, CDC, NIOSH, 1992; DHHS publication no. (NIOSH)92-106.

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