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Staying safe while cutting trees

OSHA warns that inexperience with chain saws, proximity to power lines and working in poor weather conditions can make tree work in Louisiana and around the country dangerous. To stay safe, anyone working in or around a tree should first determine in which direction it is likely to fall. In the event that a tree is located near power lines, individuals are advised to assume that they are live.

If power lines are within 10 feet of the tree, it should only be trimmed or removed by a professional. Furthermore, calling the power company may make it possible to turn off a power line or otherwise help guard against any negative consequences while working in the tree. Those who are going to be working in a tree are urged to have another person work with them. The second person can help communicate any hazards or other issues to be careful of while working.

Safety equipment should be worn while trimming branches or cutting down a tree. This includes gloves, goggles and a hard hat in addition to equipment that can guard against noise. Fall protection strategies should be implemented for those who are working at a significant height, and it is never a good idea to look or turn away from a tree while it is falling.

Tree trimmers who are employed by a contractor and who are injured on the job may be eligible to apply for workers' compensation benefits under their employer's insurance coverage. In general, benefits can be obtained even if the injuries were due to the employee's own negligence. An attorney can often assist an injured worker in preparing and filing the claim, and if it is denied the attorney could advocate for the worker at a subsequent appeals hearing.

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