TCIA reports 92 fatal tree care incidents in ’16

February 8, 2017 -  By
2016 Tree Care Incidents

Click to enlarge. Source: TCIA

The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) recorded 153 tree care-related occupational incidents in calendar year 2016. Ninety-two of them were fatal, compared with 79 in 2013, 81 in 2014 and 87 in 2015.

The association compiles this data from media accounts of accidents. Less “newsworthy” accidents are less likely to be recorded, TCIA says. TCIA defines an incident as “occupational” when it’s clear from the account that the victim was engaged in tree work for compensation.

The median age of incident victims was 39; the youngest was 18 and the oldest was 70. This relatively high median age suggests that complacency rather than ignorance plays a significant role in these incidents, TCIA said, adding:

  • The typical fall victim was unsecured;
  • The typical struck-by victim remained in the drop zone;
  • The typical electrocution victim violated minimum approach distances and made contact through a conductive tool/object; and
  • For those accounts in which an employer was identified, 23 percent of all incidents occurred among TCIA member companies and 77 percent occurred among TCIA nonmembers.

The “big three” types of accident causation are the same as they have been in recent years. Fall, struck-by and electrical contact incidents comprise 31 percent, 25 percent and 22 percent of the total incidents, respectively.

The consistently high number of incidents in tree care over the past few years has attracted the attention of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). At least 19 states in five OSHA regions were running “special emphasis” programs targeted at tree care and landscape firms.

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