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The Importance of Preparing

Posted by Beth Lay, Director of Safety and Human Performance on Jul 20, 2021 7:00:00 AM

Take a minute to think about your career in the tree industry and ask yourself how many times you’ve been in the line of fire—when an object traveled into your path creating a risk of serious injury. Did you have time to readjust? Did you get lucky and escape without injury?

Human Performance the Importance of Preparing

At Lewis Tree Service, we’re gaining increasing clarity that when things go wrong in our high-risk industry, they go wrong quickly. We often hear, “It happened so fast.” A limb rotates in an unplanned direction. A branch bounces out of the drop zone in an unplanned direction. A tree barber chairs.

When things are in motion, there’s no way to buy time.

This is different from work in other industries (like manufacturing and healthcare) where once an unplanned event occurs, there’s time to consult and figure things out.

To create safety and not rely on luck, we must always prepare – and establish, upfront, the failure side of safety. We recognize that no one wants to fail; however, given the level of variability and risk inherent in our work, we also know that it’s better to fail safely. This means we need to pay extra attention to our escape route when felling trees. It also means, before beginning work, to talk through with your team members all the things that could possibly go wrong on the job site and what you could do – having options ready - in each event. Just having those discussions increases everyone’s level of awareness and may prompt you to develop a better plan.

Join us in creating safety.

This article was originally published in the March/April 2021 edition of the Utility Arborist Association Newsline

Topics: preparation, plan for the unexpected, failing safely

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