Less than a month after our last OSHA® update, we’re back with more big news. The agency recently announced some major regulatory plans as part of their Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Congressional Budget Justification. Additionally, OSHA published a new document, “Solutions for Tree Care Hazards,” which is about – you guessed it – hazards in the tree care industry.
Let’s take a closer look.
Upcoming OSHA regulatory plans
OSHA’s FY 2019 doesn’t begin until October 1, 2018, but the agency has already outlined some big plans they have for this year and the next. You can read about them in more detail in their official report, “FY 2019 Congressional Budget Justification.” But, here are a few key highlights:
- Revise a final rule on beryllium for organizations that operate in the construction industry and shipyards
- Revise OSHA’s Recordkeeping rule
- Revise the Respirator Fit Testing Procedures
- Align the Hazard Communication Standard with the current version of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling
- Revise current crane operator certification requirements
- Include ANSI Consensus Standards in the Powered Industrial Trucks Standard
- Complete the Standard Improvement Project IV
- Identify additional opportunities for regulatory improvement
- Issue educational materials on radiation and other dangers
OSHA’s newest safety publication
If you’re in the tree care industry, you’re likely aware that OSHA doesn’t have a specific standard that regulates employers in this sector. Although some state plans have adopted Tree Care and Removal regulations, OSHA typically enforces the ANSI Z133.1 requirements via the general duty clause or the general industry requirements under Part 1910.
Of course, this doesn’t mean they don’t have recommendations they think can help protect tree care workers. You can view all of them in the agency’s latest document, “Solutions for Tree Care Hazards.” Otherwise, you can check out a few of their suggestions below:
- Train workers on traffic zone safety and site setup
- Wear high-visibility vests
- If operations interfere with traffic, use certified flaggers to help manage traffic
- Wear a hard hat and eye protection
- Establish and maintain visual or audible communication between overhead and ground workers
- Use verbal command and response exchanges, such as the command “stand clear” from the worker aloft and the response “all clear” from persons below, before cutting and dropping limbs
- Make sure the safety guards, controls, and emergency shut-off devices are working properly
- Wear close-fitting clothing, gloves without cuffs, and skid-resistant shoes
- Feed the cut end in first, and use larger pieces to feed in the small branches
- Wear eye protection and a hard hat, but do not wear climbing spurs inside the bucket
- Tie off an approved anchor point, and stand firmly on the bucket’s floor
- Watch out for overhead power lines or other obstructions
- Train workers to identify and avoid power line hazards, before beginning work
- Treat all overhead power lines and communication cables as energized — stay at least 10 feet away, unless specifically qualified
- Do not trim trees in dangerous weather conditions
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