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A Tree Trimmer is Electrocuted While Trimming a Palm Tree

California Case Report: 18CA001
Release Date: September 5, 2018


A tree trimmer was electrocuted while trimming palm trees in the backyard of a private residence. The trees were located in the northwest corner of the back yard and in close proximity to the utility power pole and high voltage lines. The victim was working alone when the incident occurred. Although unwitnessed, it is likely that a trimmed palm frond contacted the high voltage line and conducted electricity to and through the victim. The CA/FACE investigator determined that, in order to prevent similar future incidents, tree trimming companies and palm tree trimmers should:

  • Ensure that a proper job hazard assessment and briefings are performed prior to starting work by a qualified tree worker who can assess the hazards, including electrical hazards.
  • Ensure that a qualified line clearance tree worker is used when tree trimming is within 10 feet of energized high voltage power lines.

In addition, homeowners and property management companies who need palm trees trimmed or removed should:

  • Hire only tree workers who are trained or certified by organizations such as the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) or the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).

A Tree Trimmer is Electrocuted While Trimming a Palm Tree – California [PDF 348 KB]