Electricity is a serious and widespread hazard to arborists. In fact, electricity causes about 15 percent of all fatalities in the tree care industry, making it the leading cause of worker fatalities.
Since even a street lamp circuit or phone line can be energized with enough voltage to kill, almost all arborists in the field have at least some exposure to this hazard. In fact, workers don’t even have to touch a wire to be electrocuted – about half of all electrocution fatalities are the result of indirect contact. Tree branches and other conductive objects are an ever-present threat for the industry.
All arborists must be trained to recognize and avoid these electrical hazards. Qualified line-clearance arborists must have additional knowledge about electrical hazards and the special techniques used to work safely near electrical conductors.
TCIA’s Electrical Hazards Awareness Program (EHAP) is a great way to keep workers safe, ensure OSHA compliance, and document training.