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Tree and Job Site Requirements
Employees SHALL carefully consider the following and SHALL take appropriate action to ensure a safe tree removal operation:
  • A thorough check of the surrounding area including other 'trees as well as the tree being removed.
  • The species and shape of the tree to be removed.
  • The lean of the tree to be removed.
  • Loose limbs, chunks, or other overhead material in the tree to be removed.
  • Check the force and direction of the wind.
  • Decayed or weak spots in the tree, especially in the hinge area.
  • Check the location and determine the means to protect other persons, property, and electrical conductors.
  • Consider the size and terrain characteristics or limitations of the work area.
  • Be sure that any lowering crotch selected can support the strain of any limbs being removed. If not, other means should be used.
  • Removal should only consider felling when there is 1 and ½ height of the tree to be felled space available in all directions around the tree WITHOUT any chance of hitting a power line, house, garage, fence or other structure. Removal by tree trimming in sections is preferred.
  • A "Control Line" or tag line SHALL be used while felling any tree over 5"(DBH) or smaller, if there is a danger of the tree falling in the wrong direction, creating a safety hazard or property damage potential.
  • All trees with a (DBH) of 5" or greater, SHALL be notched and back cut.
  • A felling operation in progress SHALL be completed before stopping for lunch or quitting for the day.
  • Employees near the fall zone SHALL have a proper escape route, should the tree take an unexpected roll once felled.
  • The chainsaw operator SHALL be aware of potential hazard from "Barber-Chairing" or kick back of the butt end and have a clear path of escape established BEFORE making the back cut.
Maintaining Positive Control While Trimming
It is the responsibility of the tree trimmer to always be in positive control of where the tree limbs fall after trimming. Positive control can be achieved by multiple methods and the following list provides a recommended procedure for ensuring positive control:
  • When the tree trimmer is making a proper pruner clip and the cut piece is verified to fall to the ground and not fall into a hazard (pieces cut to length shorter than the distance between two adjacent primary or secondary wires of a power line are allowed);
  • When the tree trimmer is making a proper tree cut and the cut piece is verified to fall to the ground and not fall into a hazard (pieces cut to length shorter than the distance between two adjacent primary or secondary wires of a power line are allowed);
  • When the tree trimmer is using rigging to lower a cut piece away from a hazard.
  • When the tree trimmer is handling a limb by hand and throwing the cut piece to a location that is verified to fall to the ground and not fall into a hazard.
If it is not possible to use the listed methods above, then a planned outage may be needed. Contact your General Foreman immediately if a positive control method listed above cannot be managed on the job. The General Foreman will advise the crew on what to do including, coordinate with the customer to schedule the planned outage to safely trim the tree.
When a Planned Outage Should Be Considered
It is every employee’s right to initiate Stop Work Authority. The scenarios below define how to initiate Stop Work Authority and when a planned outage should be considered:
  • If anyone on the crew is questioning the safety, outcome, or positive control of the work to be completed, Stop Work Authority can be announced by any member of the crew and must be recognized by all crew members. All work must be immediately stopped, and the hazard discussed. The GF shall also be notified immediately.
  • When vines are putting pressure on conductors and or moving them from the original position.
  • When vines that are cut cannot be controlled.
  • If vines cover trees being trimmed/removed that the limbs cannot be controlled.
  • If cutting vines will cause conductors to bounce together.
  • If any part of a tree, limb or vine is pushing or pulling a conductor from its normal position.
  • When there is at any time no control of limbs falling.
  • When the tree is determined to be dead, partially dead or appears to be diseased and cannot support the weight of a climber or the shock of using rigging points on the tree.
  • Hazard trees that cannot support the weight of a climber.
  • When there are no proper rigging points to safely lower the limb to be cut.
  • When trees have significant overhang to power lines and are touching conductors
  • When the rigging point is not strong enough to support the limb causing a probable break out of rigging point
  • When tools are near conductors and may touch the power lines when the tree trimmer is trimming a limb.
Working Near Energized Power Lines
  • If you or your crew should encounter a system irregularity including a downed or fallen power line, immediately secure the area and notify your Supervisor as well as an authorized power company representative. Once the area is secure, notify the surrounding property owners of the hazard.
  • The area SHALL be protected from all unauthorized people, especially from children and the public. The crew SHALL remain on site until a power company representative arrives or is instructed otherwise by an authorized power company representative.
  • When working near an energized line, tree limbs SHALL be considered conductors of electricity.
  • Any limbs or branches that may contact power lines SHALL be removed before felling a tree.
  • At no time SHALL cut limbs or brush be allowed to contact or cross-energize power lines.
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