Recognizing that the tree care industry has inherent risks to personnel, Morbark, Inc., will now offer the ChipSafe operator safety shield as an option on the 12-inch through 18-inch capacity models of its Beever brush chippers.
Consisting of plates mounted directly to the sides of the brush chipper’s infeed chute and used in conjunction with special work gloves and ankle straps (or straps on both the ankles and wrists), the ChipSafe Operator Safety Shield stops the chipper’s feeding mechanism if the operator’s hands or feet enter the defined ChipSafe sensing zone in the infeed chute, protecting the operator from possible injury. The chipper’s feeding mechanism is restarted with a simple swipe of the operator’s ChipSafe glove or wrist strap across a reset box located on the outer side of the infeed chute, so high productivity is maintained.
“Morbark and our dealers are deeply committed to safety,” said John Foote, Morbark VP of sales and marketing. “We feel strongly that the ChipSafe Operator Safety Shield will help protect our customers and their employees from injury.”
The ChipSafe will be available beginning in May as an option on new Morbark Beever M12D, M12R, M15RX, M15R, M18RX and M18R brush chippers. Morbark expects to have field kits to retrofit current model Morbark 12- to 18-inch capacity chippers with the ChipSafe Operator Safety Shield available through its worldwide dealer network by mid-June.
To further increase chipper operator safety, Morbark is the first original equipment manufacturer to require all of its authorized dealers to have TCIA Chipper Operator Specialists on staff. This commitment to safe chipper operation begins at home, as Morbark’s own Tree Care Products sales team members are all TCIA Chipper Operator Specialists.
To date, 20 Morbark staff, 66 Morbark dealer personnel and more than 300 chipper users have attended the nine TCIA Chipper Operator Specialist workshops Morbark and its dealers have hosted, along with two that Morbark has sponsored with TCIA. At Morbark’s recent Tree Care Products Sales Boot Camp, approximately 50 more Morbark dealer personnel attended the workshop and are on their way to obtaining their certificates. In addition, Morbark currently has three staff members who are qualified to teach the TCIA Chipper Operator Specialist Workshop.
“It’s important to us to have any of our authorized dealers around the world be able to give Morbark customers the same high-quality service we would give them ourselves,” Mark Rau, Morbark’s Dealer Development Manager, said. “This means our dealers have to be knowledgeable on the safe and proper operation of our equipment.”
Brush chipper accidents are a significant concern for tree care and landscape employers, employees and equipment manufacturers; and many chipper operators receive little formal training on how to use the equipment and avoid accidents. With support from Morbark and other equipment manufacturers, TCIA has developed the Chipper Operator Specialist credentialing program, as part of its Tree Care Academy®. The workshop covers hazard awareness and procedures for hooking up, setting up, operating and maintaining a chipper.