Arbor Age

Arbor Age Winter 2015

For more than 30 years, Arbor Age magazine has been covering new and innovative products, services, technology and research vital to tree care companies, municipal arborists and utility right-of-way maintenance companies

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Page 18 of 33 ARBOR AGE WINTER 2015 19 TRAINING & EDUCATION toys. Every consumer and/or business makes choices about what they need or want, but tree industry choices include a bottom line that includes a particularly vital item — safety and survival. In addition, the modern tree industry is replete with a multitude of choices involving new materials, fibers and technology, all of which, in the end, are better than the old "one size fits all," but can be overwhelming without a little time, energy and direction. Luckily, climbing arborists can make better choices both for the bottom line and safety by considering a few key factors when evaluating new gear and equipment in the offseason. THE "SHOULDS" AND "SHALLS" OF STANDARDS Anything that is being considered for offseason purchase is going to need to meet the industry's existing standards, which for the tree industry, in most cases, is the ANSI Z133. These standards are always being reevaluated and updated by a committee made up of industry members; and although that certainly does not mean they can stay current in the immediate moment with every new material or item that has hit the tree care market, the standard is an excellent starting point for evaluating a new piece of gear or equipment. The most recent edition of the Z133 — while it will not necessarily explain how to use that new bright and shiny toy, or whether it is actually any more efficient — will give basic requirements the new item must meet in regard to strength and general safe use. JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD Any group working together over time develops its own culture in conjunction with the combined skill sets and work habits of its members; and tree crews/companies are no exception. New offseason gear or equipment purchases need to be evaluated with a realistic eye at the company or crew culture; otherwise a bunch of very pricy and shiny paperweights may end up gathering dust on the shop shelves. A new piece of gear may assist in helping change a negative aspect of a company's culture or work habits, such as a more comfortable or lightweight type of personal protective equipment (PPE) that results in more crew members actually wearing PPE. Unfortunately, new gear can also affect a crew's culture or work habits in a negative manner when a new piece of gear is "mandated" or "required" by company leadership without user input or evaluation of comfort and crew skill set. Regardless of existing crew/ company culture, both "buy-in" from the users and suitability Equipment that is inspected, cleaned and well maintained in the offseason will function that much better and more safely during the growing season. PHOTO BY ZEB HANEY

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