Safety first?

I was driving around town recently and saw a tree service crew clearing up some storm damaged trees. Because of my line of work I usually do a little rubber-necking and try to assess why type of tree came down and what issues may have preceded it’s demise. In this case, however, I was struck not by the trees but by the tree crew. What I saw left me speechless. Well, here, see for yourself…


No eye protection.  No hearing protection.  No sign of a hardhat, face-shield, or chaps by the chainsaw.  No personal protective equipment anywhere as near as I could tell.  Of course the photo illustrates a lot of what’s wrong with the landscape and tree service industry.   Economists tell us that this industry has a ‘low barrier to entry’; in other words any one with a chain saw and a pickup truck can put an ad in the classifieds and call themselves a tree service.   As a consumer, you may not care if the employer makes their employees where personal protective equipment (PPE).  But if they don’t care about their employees’ safety, what else don’t they care about?


Periodically I’ll write an article for a newspaper or other media on selecting an arborist.  I always make the point that you get what you pay for and urge consumers to compare bids and companies carefully.  Truly professional tree services have to cover the cost of hiring and retaining quality employees, worker training, proper equipment (including PPE), and insurance.  If you skip over those things, like Fly-by-night tree service here, it’s probably not too hard to come out with the low bid.

4 thoughts on “Safety first?”

  1. I have worked for many years for a commercial roofing company and although that company really tried hard to train their workers and remind them on using all their provided safety equipment, they got caught a few times by OSHA. OSHA was unexpected present at almost any job site at least one time while a new building was roofed. Where is OSHA when it comes to issues like the one above? The owner of that company must never have been caught and paid any (hefty) OSHA finds and always been lucky never any of his workers have gotten hurt. Or is it the workers themselves that don’t care and don’t use the hopefully provided safety equipment?

  2. I wonder if these people even have insurance. Or had any type of safety training. Sometimes I think these type of “businesses” want to keep expenses to a minimum.
    But I also see a lot of ads on Craigslist for tree service -remove tree you keep the wood-people do not want to pay much for tree service either.
    I wonder how well the equipment is maintained?

  3. I think even in semi-professional woodland management that there are still rogue traders who are willing to undercut the bigger more professional firms. If they cut a corner on safety might they not be around if the tree fell on a car or person.

  4. No insurance? Guess who gets the DR. and disability bills… the property owner? Maybe… its happened more than once.

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