— Jim Orr, Asplundh, PA
Storms produce turmoil and a significant number of hazardous conditions which expose workers and the public to safety issues. The urban forest is an asset which can become a liability unless properly managed.
- Understand, apply, and comply with all applicable safety regulations and practices.
- Develop an effective safety program that addresses safety issues prior to, during, and after a storm event.
- Ensure the safety plan is in place well in advance of storm season.
Safety Plan Components:
1. Identify a Safety Officer:
- Ensure compliance of contractors to the applicable OSHA Regulations, ANSI Standards and BMPs.
- Select and train the safety team.
- Work in cooperation with your local utility arborist (or municipal arborist) .
- Creating public safety announcements about:
- Threats from downed conductors.
- Non-local crews who are travelling in convoys.
- Blind spots created by heavy equipment.
- Traffic issues involving traffic lights, work zones, downed limbs and trees.
- Develop avenues for communication – web, television, radio and text alerts.
- Develop an alternate communications plans that works when large power outages shut down electronic networks.
2. Create procedures for managing safety of external personnel:
- Create a checklist to identify tool and equipment requirements for basic emergency response.
- Identify required skills when requesting support.
- Identify requirements unique to the event you have so crews arrive properly prepared and equipped.
- Pre-inspect crews & equipment prior to performing work, explain and set expectations of work practices required to ensure safety.
- Ensure adequate (internal) field supervision to verify that your requirements and expectations are being adhered to.
- Create a checklist to facilitate accuracy and expediency (see Crew Transfer Sheet & Tree Crew Pre-Inspection Documents).
- Continue to monitor crews throughout event for compliance to regulations/standards and safe work practices.
- Document high performance crews for recall to subsequent/post restoration efforts.
- Dismiss crews for non-compliance.
3. Managing personnel:
- Identify personnel who are responsible to edit & maintain external workforce records.
- Create spreadsheet to detail incoming resources (see Crew Transfer Sheet).
- Train personnel to verify & maintain information.
4. Hazard area:
- Develop & implement a pre-job hazard brief with mandatory sign-in requirements. (Sample document Pre-Job Hazards Survey)
- Establish full authority of crew chief to call a work-stop if they determine conditions are unsafe to proceed.
5. Procedures for decontamination:
- Develop contacts/contracts with hazardous material release mitigation resources for emergency response.
- Develop public communication involving the release.
- Determine threshold as to when to notify.
- Identify spokesperson (Safety Officer?).
- Develop a short, concise statement to be modified per the severity of the incident.
- Create requirements for hazardous material release mitigation kit for each crew.
- i.e. A “Spill Kit” consisting of a sealed 5 gallon bucket containing 1 set rubber gloves, 2 large plastic trash bags, (4) 2’x2’ absorbing mats with the rest of the space filled with absorbent granules.
- Pre Job Hazard Survey
- Western Division Storm Package
- Crew Transfer Sheet Master (download zipped Excel file)
This safety section was reviewed and updated by James P. Maloney, Lead Supervisor Distribution Forestry, Nathan Wright and Timothy Bodkin of National Grid; and John Sullivan, Director, Safety and Training, Lewis Tree Service, Inc. Forms were generously provided by both organizations.