The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) compiled information on 408 occupational tree care accidents that occurred in the United States over a five-year period (2009 – 2013).
“As far as we could determine, the victims – regardless of their professional background, title or employment status – were engaged in tree trimming or removal operations for pay at the time of their demise,” said Peter Gerstenberger, Senior Advisor to the President of TCIA for Safety, Standards and Compliance.
“We don’t hold this information out to be encompassing of all fatal accidents. It is limited by the thoroughness of our search criteria as well as the news media’s thoroughness in reporting an occurrence on any given day,” Gerstenberger added.
Summary of Findings
Chart 1 ranks the accidents by the primary cause of death. The most common causes of death were Falls from Trees and Struck-by Trees, followed closely by Electrocutions and Struck by Branch. The median age of the deceased was 42.
Electricity is consistently one of the leading causes of worker fatalities in the tree care industry, as evidenced by Chart 1 and Chart 2.
Half of all incidents were directly attributable to use of conductive tools such as uninsulated lifts and aluminum ladders in close proximity to conductors.
This evidence suggests that the victims were not line clearance tree trimmers, who would have been supplied with insulated lifts and safe, non-conductive tools.