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Workplace accidents among tree-trimmers increasing

Those who work at great heights seem to have a substantially higher risk of injury than those working on the ground. Roofers, construction workers, window washers and utility workers are among those who must take special precautions on the job. A recent rash of fatal workplace accidents among tree-trimming employees has caused California's Occupational Safety and Health Administration to launch a statewide safety campaign.

In the months of December and January, four people died in separate tree-trimming accidents. One died after falling 60 feet, one suffocated after being trapped in palm fronds and two were struck and killed by falling branches. Cal/OSHA reports that almost 70 accidents involving tree trimming or removal occurred in a recent two-year span. Seventy-five percent required hospitalization, and 12 incidents resulted in the death of the employee.

Cal/OSHA promises to investigate possible safety violations and respond to any reports that tree work is being performed using unsafe procedures. Employers who do not comply with OSHA regulations will be cited and face possible fines. Additionally, the safety campaign provides resources for employers and workers to improve their safety protocol.

Workplace accidents involving tree trimming often include falls, contact with power lines, chainsaw injuries, ladder mishaps and falling branches. Workers in California who are injured in an accident have recourse to workers' compensation. This insurance covers medical costs and lost wages following an injury on the job. Many find that having an attorney to help them navigate the complicated workers' compensation process allows them to focus more completely on their recovery.

Source: Beverly Hills, CA Patch, "Cal/OSHA Launches Safety Awareness Campaign After Recent Fatal Tree-Trimming Accidents", Jan. 11, 2017

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