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Making Risk Real

October 21, 2020

“I’ll never forget that day as long as I live. It was winter and fresh snow was heavy on the tree limbs as we began piecing down a 50 ft. pine. We were wearing layers of clothing and could see our breath when we pulled our face masks down to talk.”

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My New Favorite Day of the Week: Drill Day!

October 14, 2020

Wednesday, at Lewis Tree Service, is now Drill Day. On Drill Day, we are creating the space to practice simple tasks that have the potential to cause serious injuries. And, as it turns out, we’re having fun in the process. Some of the drills have included a) dropping limbs from heights onto watermelons (with and without hardhats) to see the...

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The Zero Paradox

October 07, 2020

There’s a quote often attributed to Albert Einstein that we’ve all seen, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” That perfectly reflects how Lewis approached safety for many years. We made significant improvements in our safety results and then hit a plateau achieving only marginal gains every...

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After Action Reviews: Not Just for Safety Anymore

August 04, 2020

In 1907, a children’s book was published entitled, Jim: Who Ran Away from His Nurse, and Was Eaten by a Lion. Sounds frightening, right? The author, Hilaire Belloc, knew that there are two ways to learn: the hard way, through trial and error, and the easy way, through storytelling and learning from other’s mistakes.

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Using Safety Data to Improve Learning

July 27, 2020

“It was 4:30 in the afternoon on nice, sunny day. Our crew had performed regular trimming on multiple oak trees around a three phase and was stacking brush while getting ready to shut down for the day. One of the crew members went to remove the drop zone cones when all the sudden he heard the sound of a limb slam on the ground. The employee was...

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Learning From What Goes Well

September 27, 2019

Have you ever been on a job site where no incidents were occurring, but unsafe practices were present? Take a moment to think about that and let it sink in. Accidents may represent a lack of safety, but a lack of accidents does NOT represent safety.

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Barber Chairing

February 06, 2019

Early last spring, before I joined Lewis Tree Service, I had a close call that I believe carries some valuable lessons for our team. The private company that I was working for had a contract to remove several hundred dead ash trees from a local park. I put a notch in a 12-inch DBH, 50–60 ft tall dead ash that had just enough lean to it that I...

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