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Arborist dies after fall from tree.

University of Kentucky
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 09KY059, 2010 Feb; :1-8
A 30-year old arborist was hired by a private resident to remove trees from a yard. At approximately 5:00 PM, the arborist, along with a ground person, arrived at the residence. The arborist donned climbing spurs, and a tree climbing saddle then spoke briefly with the homeowner. With the climbing line and spurs, the arborist climbed the first tree. After trimming limbs from the tree trunk, the arborist began cutting the tree trunk one section at a time. There was a power line near the trees. The arborist was working at the fork of the tree and had cut a section of tree trunk which he had secured with a pull rope. The arborist then signaled his ground person that the section was free to be lowered to the ground. Unbeknownst to the arborist, his safety rope was connected to the tree trunk section to be lowered and he fell to the ground with the tree trunk section. His ground person immediately administered first aid. The homeowner heard the commotion, went outside, and discovered the arborist on the ground with his ground person administering first aid. Emergency medical services were contacted immediately. Upon EMS arrival, they found the arborist without vital signs and contacted the local coroner who arrived and declared the arborist dead at the scene. To prevent future occurrences of similar incidents, the following recommendations have been made: Recommendation No. 1: Tree removal companies should have an applicable written safety program based upon American National Standards Institute ANSI Z133.1-2006 and other applicable standards and regulations. Recommendation No. 2: Appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn while removing trees. Recommendation No. 3: Tree removal should be performed when workers are alert. Recommendation No. 4: Arborists should be professionally certified in tree removal. Recommendation No. 5: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration should include specific standards for arborists in the Code of Federal Regulations 1910 General Industry.
Region-4; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Climbing; Forestry-workers; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-safety-programs; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Safety-personnel; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Training; Work-analysis; Work-operations; Work-practices; Author Keywords: Arborist; climbing line; lanyard; tree removal; work line
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-09KY059; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008483
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
University of Kentucky
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division