Total Landscape Care

February 2014

Total Landscape Care Digital Magazine

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Page 8 of 47

THE ACCIDENT: A 28-year-old worker is prepping a site at a golf course using an excavator. He is pushing down a 60-foot tall tree by digging around the base and then loos- ening the root system. He places the bucket against the tree's trunk and extends the boom outward to push the tree away from the excavator. The tree falls backward onto the cab, and the weight causes the roof to cave in. The worker is pinned in the cab. His co- workers fi nd him and call 911. When the medical team arrives, he is pronounced dead from asphyxia. THE BOTTOM LINE: The site's wet, unstable soil and high wind speeds may have hindered the excavator operator's ability to control the direction the tree would fall. To prevent similar accidents, equipment operators should fol- low these safety guidelines. s Make sure the equipment be- ing used provides the highest level of physical protection and is appropriate for the work. s Before starting tree-felling operations, create a plan and procedures for safe operation. Decide the felling direction and different conditions such as wind direction, wind strength, slope and obstacles around the area. s Keep a distance of at least twice the tree height be- tween the tree and other crewmembers. s Study the tree: Are there cracks or decay? Is the tree leaning, and if so, which way? Once the natural direction of fall is discovered, push the tree that way. F E B R U A R Y 2 014 To t a l L a n d s c a p e C a r e . c o m 7 Timber! BY LAUREN HEARTSILL DOWDLE How clearing trees can turn deadly Download free safety manuals for employee training or read past Safety Watch articles at WANT MORE SAFETY TIPS? ILLUSTRATION BY DON LOMAX

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