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NIOSH update: NIOSH issues nationwide alert on dangers of tree trimming.

Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 93-122, 1992 Dec; :1-2
Procedures that are dangerous under normal conditions are even more dangerous when performed as part of a cleanup effort resulting from a natural disaster; for example, a 22 year old man fell to his death while trimming trees following Hurricane Andrew. The case illustrated that the hazards of tree trimming were pronounced during cleanup operations when power lines were down, as well as during tree trimming in general. From 1980 to 1988, NIOSH reported 181 workers died from tree trimming. The two leading causes of death were electrocutions (38%) and falls (29%). To prevent future deaths and injuries, workers should be told of the hazards they face and the ways to prevent them. In addition to tree trimmers, those at risk were electrical utility workers, telephone workers, and cable television workers. Before starting work, tree trimmers and other workers at risk should conduct an initial job site survey to identify hazards; assume all power lines are energized and avoid all contact; keep safety distances of 2 to 15 feet depending on voltage; use nonconductive tools; inspect trees for weakness before climbing; use fall protection equipment; use safe work practices; inspect equipment to be used for defects; and take a training program.
Occupational-hazards; Forestry; Electrical-transmission; Electrical-workers; Rescue-workers; Electric-power-transmission-lines; Safety-practices; Humans
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DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 93-122
NIOSH Division
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division