What Are The Risks Associated With An Arborist?

What Are The Risks Associated With An Arborist?

Working as an arborist involves various risks due to the nature of the job, which often requires working at heights, handling powerful machinery, and dealing with the unpredictable elements of working with trees.

Here are some of the primary risks associated with the profession…

1. Falls from Height

One of the most significant risks for arborists is the potential for falls from heights, which can occur due to slipping, equipment failure, or unstable branches. Such falls can result in serious injuries or fatalities.

2. Falling Objects

Arborists are at risk from falling objects, such as branches or tools, which can cause injuries. This risk is present not only for the arborists but also for bystanders or property near the work area.

3. Cuts and Lacerations

The use of sharp tools like chainsaws, handsaws, and pruners can lead to cuts and lacerations if proper safety measures are not followed. These injuries can range from minor to severe.

4. Electrocution

Working near power lines poses a significant risk of electrocution. Arborists must be especially cautious and follow strict protocols when working in the vicinity of electrical utilities.

5. Strains and Sprains

The physical demands of climbing, lifting, and handling heavy equipment can lead to musculoskeletal injuries, including strains and sprains.

6. Exposure to Chemicals

Some arboriculture tasks involve the use of chemicals, such as pesticides or fertilizers, which can pose health risks if inhaled or if they come into contact with the skin.

7. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Prolonged exposure to the loud noise from chainsaws and other equipment can lead to hearing damage over time.

8. Tree Health and Stability Issues

Working on or near diseased, decaying, or otherwise compromised trees can increase the risk of parts of the tree unexpectedly breaking or falling.

9. Environmental Conditions

Adverse weather conditions, such as high winds, rain, or extreme temperatures, can elevate the risks associated with tree work by making conditions more hazardous and unpredictable.

Mitigation Strategies

To mitigate these risks, arborists and their employers adopt various safety measures, including:

  • Training and Education – Comprehensive training on safe work practices, equipment use, and emergency procedures.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Use of helmets, eye protection, hearing protection, chainsaw protective clothing, gloves, and boots.
  • Equipment Maintenance – Regular inspection and maintenance of tools and climbing equipment to ensure they are in good working order.
  • Safety Protocols – Following established safety protocols and standards, such as those set by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and local regulations.
  • Planning and Communication – Careful planning of work tasks, including risk assessments and clear communication among team members.

Despite the inherent risks, arborists play a crucial role in maintaining and caring for trees, contributing to our environment and urban landscapes. With proper precautions, the risks associated with arboriculture can be significantly reduced.