Pre-Climbing Inspections

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1 Trainer s Instructions Session 45 Training Objective At the end of this session, the worker should understand the some of the risks associated with tree climbing and how to reduce the risk with a pre-climb inspection. Job Steps Affected by Today s Topic Tree climbing Potential Hazards/Risks Electricity Decay Hangers Root rot Stinging insects/animals Example of Preventable Incidents In 1990, a 27-year-old tree trimmer was working as part of a four-person crew to remove dead trees from a private home in a semi-rural area. The crew had been on the site for two days and had removed four large trees. They were working on the fifth tree and had cut off all of the tree limbs. Even though each tree was checked for rot by tapping on the trunk, the crew was unaware of the decay in the upper trunk. Using a saddle, buck strap, and climbing spurs, the trimmer climbed the tree to cut it away in sections. When the trimmer climbed into the section that was decayed, the spar snapped, taking the trimmer with it. The tree pinned the trimmer to the ground. Death was instantaneous. Some trees fall over because of root decay or cut roots. Trees have also broken off above the ground because of cankers, decay or weak limb attachments. ANSI requirements and suggested safe work procedures An inspection shall be made by a qualified arborist to determine whether an electrical hazard exists before climbing, otherwise entering, or performing work in or on a tree A visual hazard assessment, including a root collar inspection, shall be performed prior to climbing, entering, or performing any work in a tree Arborists shall inspect climbing lines, worklines, lanyards, and other climbing equipment for damage, cuts, abrasion, and/or deterioration before each use and shall remove them from service if signs of excessive wear or damage are found. PPE advised for this job function: Continued on next page TAILGATE SAFETY 287

2 Trainer s Instructions Session Arborists performing rigging operations shall inspect trees for their integrity to determine whether the trees have any visible defect that could affect the operation. If it is determined that the tree poses a risk of failure due to the forces and strains that will be created by the design of the rigging operation, an alternate plan shall be used Rigging points shall be assessed for their structural integrity by a qualified arborist. The rigging plan and the tree shall be considered relative to the forces being applied to any part of the tree, including branch attachments and anchoring roots, before a rigging point is chosen and established Arborists performing rigging operations shall be educated to understand and trained to estimate the potential forces at any point in the rigging system being used. The system components shall comply with working-load limits relative to the operation and the maximum potential forces Careful consideration shall be given to the potential for additional forces resulting from the speciἀc inἀuences of rigging design, rope angles, and the number of lines and/or line parts that will act on any rigging or anchor point Before beginning any tree removal operation, the chain saw operator, equipment operator, and/or crew leader shall carefully consider relevant factors pertaining to the tree and site and shall take appropriate actions to ensure a safe removal operation. Factors to include may be, but are not limited to, tree decay, tree lean, and wind (see Annex C.3, Manual Tree Felling Procedure, for a more inclusive list). What else can you do to prevent injuries 288 TAILGATE SAFETY

3 Handout Session 45 Job Steps Affected by Today s Topic Tree climbing Potential Hazards/Risks Electricity Decay Hangers Root rot Stinging insects/animals Action Steps u Obvious tree-related hazards should be noted on the work order and reviewed by the crew before starting a job. u Before starting any tree work, the property should be inspected by the crew to find the electricity and any other potential hazards. u Learn how to inspect a tree for potential hazards before you start to climb it; if you do not know how, ask an experienced climber to show you. Inspect for root hazards, root rot, cut roots, trunk hazards, cankers, weak crotches, stinging insects, dead branches, hangers and utility wires. Inspection of Climbing Gear Customize and use this sample checklist to help inspect your climbing gear and equipment for wear and/or damage daily before use. Check your personal protection equipment for: helmet, including strap and webbing; safety glasses; hearing protection; other PPE that should be checked before you climb. Next check your climbing line for: glossy or glazed areas, indicating heat damage; inconsistent diameter, indicating internal damage; discoloration, indicating chemical contamination; areas of stiffness, fraying or puffs; integrity of spliced ends; other potential problems with your line. Continued on back PPE advised for this job function: TAILGATE SAFETY 289

4 Handout Session 45 Check your saddle for: abraded webbing; worn stitching; loose grommets; other potential problems with your saddle. Check your lanyard (flipline). First, perform an inspection of the rope, looking for the same defects you checked for in your climbing line. Second, check the hardware for: proper function of snap, carabiner or screw links; inspect the length adjuster for proper operation and attachment; other potential problems with your lanyard system. Check the rest of your climbing hardware for wear and proper operation: carabiners, rope snaps, screw links and ascenders for excessive wear, loose parts in spring-loaded mechanisms, and/or proper locking function; Prusik loops; split tails, especially for worn, burned, and/or glazed areas; integrity of splices; false crotches and redirect slings; ladders; check for other potential problems with your climbing hardware. If you find excessive wear or damage, the equipment must be: 1.) Destroyed immediately; or, 2.) Retired from climbing and put to a different, non-critical use; or, 3.) Marked for repair and removed from service until the repair is complete. 290 TAILGATE SAFETY

5 Quiz Session 45 Complete the following: Name: Date: / / Signature: Multiple Choice Instructions: Select the one statement that best answers each question. 1. Before climbing a tree, you should make. a) a visual trunk inspection b) a visual inspection of the entire tree c) a visual root inspection d) a visual crown inspection 2. During climbing operations, tree limbs should be before weight is applied to them. a) removed b) pruned c) inspected d) shaken 4. Hands and feet should be placed on separate part(s) of the tree while climbing. a) 1 b) 2 c) 3 d) 4 True or False Instructions: Indicate if the statement is true (a) or false (b). 5. The worker should climb on the side of the tree that is farthest from the utility lines. a) True b) False 3. Dead branches should be removed if possible. a) soon b) on the way up c) on the way down d) any time TAILGATE SAFETY 291

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