Each year, thousands of workers are injured or killed because of accidents resulting from electrical hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA ) mandates that tree care workers receive electrical hazard training, but does not police companies to ensure that training is provided. However, an accident investigation that reveals untrained workers will lead to severe fines. TCIA has developed an Electrical Hazard Awareness Program (EHAP) for the tree care industry and offers materials and teacher training for qualified arborists. Mead Tree & Turf Care arborists Bob Mead and Steve Castrogiovanni have received EHAP instructor training. As ISA Certified Arborists and Certified Tree Safety Professionals (CTSP), they qualified to receive EHAP teacher training and currently conduct EHAP training for all tree workers at Mead Tree & Turf Care, as well as for other groups in the industry. Once training has been performed and documented, a yearly review is required for employees to maintain EHAP certification.
EHAP is designed to familiarize arborists and tree workers with the equipment utility companies use to provide electricity, and the hazards associated with tree care and utility lines. All utility lines above ground and below ground are considered energized with potential fatal voltages; this includes telephone and cable lines. The EHAP program consists of an orientation video as well as 6 instructional units and tests. Participants are also required to perform practice aerial rescue and to hold current CPR and first aid certification. Once all requirements have been met an enrollee will receive a certificate of completion that is valid for one year. Annual refresher training is required to maintain certification. The certification for EHAP is to train non-line clearance arborists and tree workers how to recognize utility hardware and understand the current that flows through a given system. It does not allow workers to operate within the minimum approach distance of 10 feet for utility lines, or more for higher voltage lines. All companies that perform tree care should meet safety compliance requirements that pertain to EHAP training.
Although safety training is primarily focused on the well-being of employees, customers can benefit from peace of mind knowing their tree care company considers safety on the job a first priority.
“The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) is the trade association of more than 2,000 commercial tree care firms and affiliated companies. TCIA develops safety and education programs, standards of tree care practice, and management information for arboriculture firms around the world. Through TCIA’s Accreditation Program, consumers can be assured of hiring a professional, ethical tree care company that has been inspected by TCIA for proper business practices, professional employees, and quality service and customer satisfaction”. (1)
You can read more about TCIA Accreditation at this link: http://www.tcia.org/TCIA/BUSINESS/Accreditation_/TCIA/BUSINESS/Accreditation/Accreditation.aspx
Mead Tree & Turf Care was the first tree care company in Maryland to receive TCIA Accreditation, initially in 2005, and again at 3 year reviews in 2008, 2011, and 2014. The accreditation process has helped our company strive for the highest standards of customer service and safety, and we look forward to providing our customers with the best tree and landscape care possible.
During the winter months, most people are content to be indoors, and don’t give much thought to their yards or trees. However, you might consider inspecting your trees once the leaves have fallen. There are many reasons that winter is an excellent time to prune deciduous trees. The exposed branches make it much easier for an arborist to identify and correct structural problems, and to remove dead or diseased limbs. Pruning in winter is also more environmentally friendly, creating less waste and less damage to yards due to the frozen ground.
Mature trees can be pruned in winter to make them more structurally sound and less prone to future storm damage. Poor branching structure increases the chances of failure during heavy snow fall, ice storms, or windy days. Dead, broken, or diseased branches should also be removed. If removal of a particular limb will destroy the shape of the tree, support cabling can be installed to improve the stability of the limb. Pruning in winter also prepares the tree for a good start up in the spring, as energy stores will not be wasted on unhealthy material. In addition, cut wounds have the opportunity to compartmentalize without the risk of attracting sap-loving insects. Corrective pruning can also be accomplished more easily in the winter. This can include removing branches that aren’t growing as we’d like, interfere with other branches, rub against a building, or overhang a walkway or roof. The result will be a healthier and safer plant.
Young trees should be pruned to provide good structure for future growth. Structure pruning establishes a dominant central stem (reducing or eliminating co-dominance) and branch spacing, reduces stress on weak tight V crotches, removes or reduces rubbing and crossing limbs and dead or diseased limbs. This will result in improved tree health and reduce the overall cost of maintenance pruning throughout the life of the tree. Reducing co-dominant stems may change the aesthetics of an individual tree short term, but this will allow the dominant stem to fill in where the reduction was made. Structural pruning done on small trees during the spring and summer creates holes in the canopy that can be unsightly. However, pruning in the winter gives the tree a chance to fill in holes during spring leaf out. This makes the tree look more balanced and gives it a fuller canopy earlier in the season. Young trees are full of vigor and respond well to structure pruning. Generally pruning cuts in young trees are small, allowing for complete wound closer much faster than larger pruning cuts in mature trees. Structure pruning is best achieved in stages beginning within 1 to 2 years of planting, once the root system has established itself and then in 2 to 3 years and again in 3 to 4 years. Once good structure has been achieved and trees reach maturity the pruning cycle is about 6 to 10 years. When trees are dormant during the winter months, it is an ideal time to inspect and correct young tree structure.