Archive for the ‘Arborist Safe Work Practice’ Category

Arboriculture Canada delivers training for Maritime College of Forest Technology

Monday, July 25th, 2016

When the Maritime College of Forest Technology (MCFT) first started designing the Utility Arborist Program (UAP), they approached Arboriculture Canada Training and Education Ltd.  (ACTE).  ACTE will be providing 160 hours of theoretical and hand’s on practical instruction to UAP students.  See details here:  http://utilityarborist.ca/blog/

Arborwood Tree Service Inc. provides comprehensive safety and skills training to staff.

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Arborwood Tree Service Inc. is investing in comprehensive safety and skills training for their staff in 2015 and 2016 by hosting three weeks of training that will cover the topics of:

– Tree Dynamics & Integrated Risk Assessment

– Tree Biology & Care

– Hazard and Danger Tree Cutting & Falling

– Tree Climbing, Fall Protection & Work Positioning

– Tree Rope Access

– Emergency Readiness & High Angle Rescue

– Aerial Lift Operations & Fall Protection

– Aerial Lift Emergency Evacuation & Extrication

– Production Tree Removal & Rigging

– Arborist Technical Rigging

The training started with one week in May and will continue with weeks in November of this year and in April of 2016.  The program is being partially funded by the Canada – Ontario Job Grant Program.

Arboriculture Canada customizes training programs to specifically meet the job requirements and unique training needs of your staff.  Our training programs are facilitated by experts in both adult education methods, as well as experts in the skills areas of arboriculture being taught.  If you are interested in receiving funds for training your staff internally in arboriculture skills and safety from the Canada Job Grant programs available in every province of Canada, please inquire with Arboriculture Canada to receive the information for applications.

Arborwood Tree Service is dedicated to providing superior customer service. Their great reputation is built on professionalism and customer satisfaction.  This training will ensure that staff meets this expectation.  www.arborwood.ca 

 

Advanced Tree Care provides high quality training to crews – 2015

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Advanced Tree Care is investing in comprehensive safety and skills training for their staff in 2015 by hosting three weeks of training that will cover the topics of:

– Tree Dynamics & Integrated Risk Assessment

– Tree Climbing, Fall Protection & Work Positioning

– Emergency Readiness & High Angle Rescue

– Technical Tree Falling & Cutting

– Hazard and Danger Tree Cutting & Falling

– Aerial Lift Operations

– Aerial Lift Emergency Evacuation & Extrication

– Production Tree Removal & Rigging

– Arborist Technical Rigging

The training started with one week in May and will continue with weeks in August and October.  The program is being partially funded by the Ontario Job Grant Program.  If you are interested in receiving funds for training your staff internally in arboriculture skills and safety, please inquire with Arboriculture Canada to receive the information for applications.

This video highlights week one of their training program – thanks for Kevin Mengers and Advanced Tree Care for sharing this with us!

Video Highlights

Advanced Tree Care facebook page.

 

Canada Job Grants – funding available for employers to train workforce.

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

The Canada Job Grant is an employer-driven training program. This means that employers decide on who gets training and what type of training may be needed for new and existing employees. Employers must use a third-party training provider to deliver the formal training either onsite, online, or in a classroom setting.

It is in an employer’s best interest to invest in developing the skills of their workforce, so they can get the job done and continue to operate.

The Canada Job Grant is part of the federal and provincial governments commitment to help address skills mismatches and ensure that employees are being trained in high-demand areas.

Arboriculture Canada recommends you to take advantage of this opportunity for funding to receive training for your workers in the specialized industry of arboriculture and other high angle or professional chainsaw operating work fields.  We have been approved as an eligible training body in Ontario, and expect the same in other provinces.  Please contact us to receive course outlines and quotations which are needed in order to apply for this funding.  We will do our best to provide any necessary information needed by our customers to assist you in receiving the funding.

For information about this grant, and to find each province’s page and application forms, please go to:  http://www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/training_agreements/cjg/info.shtml

 

Canada – Ontario Job Grant – funding is available for employers to train workforce in Ontario.

Monday, January 26th, 2015

On March 28, 2014, Ontario signed the Canada-Ontario Job Fund Agreement with the federal government. The agreement is a key source of funding for new initiatives to help Ontario’s employers develop their workforce through employer-led training.

We have found out that Arboriculture Canada is an eligible training body.  Therefore, this is a very good opportunity for Ontario employers to apply for funding, either to send staff to our open enrolment/public training courses scheduled in various places in Ontario  http://www.arborcanada.com/arboriculture_training_schedules.php  or to book a private, customized training program at your site.

To find out more about the grant money available, please go to:   http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/eopg/cojg/index.html    This is also where you need to submit your application to receive this funding.

Arboriculture Canada will work together with you to provide the curriculum, a quotation etc. according to what you request to complete your application.  Please contact Nancy at nancy@arborcanada.com  or by phone 1-877-268-8733 or direct 403-556-1701 to request these items when you making application.

 

Arboriculture Canada is a National Awarding Body (NAB) with the ABA (Awarding Body Association) International.

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

We are proud to announce that we have been accepted as members of the ABA International body.  Arboriculture Canada is now a National Awarding Body (NAB).  We would like to introduce the ABA to our customers in Canada, and especially the candidates who have successfully achieved qualification status (chainsaw) through our testing process in the past years.   (other domains to come)

This article will introduce you to the ABA International, and tell you what credentialing through the ABA can do for you.    http://www.aba-skills.com/about.php

Who is the ABA?

ABA International (Awarding Body Association) was founded in 2012 in response to a demand for international recognition of qualifications gained at state or national levels. The trans-national mobility of qualified people facilitated by a voluntary partnership of national awarding bodies is a core principle of ABA.

ABA is managed on a minimum administrative basis in a cost effective manner. A simplified organisational structure provides each member country equal representation within the association.

National awarding bodies (NAB) are subject to an International accreditation and vetting process. Core to quality assurance and uniformity of the qualifications is the principle of trans-national supervision. In support of this principle ABA continuously develops, updates and enhances International qualifications skills standards & matrices.

Partner agreements include general procedures for cooperation; transfer of qualification credits; national awarding body responsibilities; certification endorsement etc.

Further, ABA endeavours to promote the mutual recognition of its member’s qualifications world-wide therefore reducing or removing potential barriers to employment and mobility.

The ABA’s Mission:

To facilitate, accredit, develop, support and promote the recognition of individuals national skills qualifications and certifications between partner countries worldwide

THE ABA’s Mission Objectives:

Establishing & setting certification standards: undertake a continuous review & improvement process to ensure they remain consistent and rigorous Quality assurance of the certification: ensure validation of content, currency, delivery and review methods are consistently maintained and comparible

ABA has the following key roles:

  • Qualification development: maintaining a support network with international educational advisors
  • National Awarding Body support: ensuring good practice is maintained, encouraged, developed and facilitating communication
  • National Awarding Body external inspections & vetting process: facilitating trans-national observations of training & assessment practices and awarding body audits
  • Promoting the principle of continuous improvement: facilitating exchange opportunities between National Awarding Body instructors, assessors and educational advisors

Why Get ABA Certification?

National skills certification demonstrates that you have achieved a recognised standard within your skills or chosen occupational sector. In addition, the ABA International ‘stamp of approval’ on your certification provides the following benefits:

  • Enhanced mobility: instant participating partner country recognition no need to re-take already proven training or skills tests to work abroad (saving time & money)
  • Enhanced employability: demonstrates your competency at an international level to current or potential future employers(helping to break-down barriers)
  • Enhanced credibility: demonstrates proof of your skills verified to rigorous national and international standards (high quality)

Are you an Arboriculture Canada Qualified Technician in a Chainsaw Domain?

Arboriculture Canada has been given equivalency for chainsaw qualification with the ABA in the following chainsaw training domains.  If you have taken a chainsaw qualification test and successfully become a Qualified Technician in one of these domains in the last five years (since January, 2010), you will be receiving an email inviting you to register yourself for the ABA Certification.  The only thing required to receive this ABA Certification is a $12 processing fee and you will then be registered with the ABA Registry (which is an online registrar).  You will immediately be registered as an ABA Certified Candidate internationally.

Arboriculture Canada Chainsaw Qualification Programs and ABA Equivalencies:

Arboriculture Canada Qualification ABA Qualification
Chainsaw Safety & Cutting Techniques (Chainsaw Operator Technician) Chainsaw Level 1:  Chainsaw Maintenance & Cross-cutting Techniques
Technical Tree Falling & Cutting (Tree Faller Technician) Chainsaw Level 1:  Chainsaw Maintenance & Cross-Cutting Techniques andChainsaw Level 2:  Basic Tree Felling Techniques
Hazard & Danger Tree Cutting & Falling (Hazardous Tree Falling Technician)  (provided you have received the Tree Faller Technician) Chainsaw Level 3:  Advanced Tree Felling Techniques andChainsaw Level 4:  Windblown & Damaged Tree Felling Techniques.

For any candidates who have taken customized tests with Arboriculture Canada through your organization or company in the chainsaw domain, please contact Nancy to inquire which equivalency is applicable to your test.

Arboriculture Canada is choosing to endorse and support the goals and aims of the ABA, as we believe that the intentions align nicely with our corporate vision and the recognition of ABA qualifications around the world will serve to improve the safety of working arborists and chainsaw operators.

Standard Operating Procedures or Guidelines

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

This presentation was given by Dwayne Neustaeter at both the Western Chapter and the ISA Annual Conferences, and he would be happy to visit other chapters to present his findings on Standard Operating Procedures in the future.  Printed by SCA Today – August, 2013 

Does your company have policies and procedures?

Do you have a checklist or document that simply and concisely shows how your organization meets industry standards or best practices?

Standard Operating procedures and guidelines provide a detailed and specific explanation or list of how your staff performs various work activities, especially ones where no industry standard exists, such as static single rope work positioning.

The difference between policy and procedures is that they are generic, the same is true for industry standards like ANSI or CSA, they are there to serve as a guide but do not provide detailed specifics in implementation. Standard operating procedures or guidelines are unique to a company or organization. Industry standards and governmental regulation are developed by committee and are therefore inherently generic. Standard operating procedures should be developed by the people who are doing the work; everyone who is part of the organization should be part of the development of SOP’s or SOG’s.

Many people ask for a copy of an SOP or SOG that is already developed; this is where the process could begin to break down. I am not saying that we need to re-invent the wheel, but as we all know many aspects of tree work have subtle variances and nuances; a company’s SOP’s and SOG’s are where these are to be noted or documented. A well-developed SOG or SOP well explain or identify the variations in technique and/or implementation that is unique to your organization. Make it your own!

Some of the history of SOP’s and SOG’s lies with the fire service, and I believe there some unique similarities between tree work and firefighting. The most obvious is the unique nature of fire: every fire has its own way of burning, no one structure fire is the same as any other, there are far too many variables that can come into play. In tree work, the tree is our fire: every tree is unique, no one tree is the same as any other. Another similarity between the fire service and the tree industry is geographic and local variation. In the fire service, building construction and type carries dramatically within a geographical location; the same holds true for trees. Even trees of the same species will have vastly different wood characteristics in different parts of the country or geographical region.

With nothing to work from, fire departments needed to develop some guidelines and procedures to help everyone learn from other’s experiences and provide some type of proof that they were operating in a safe and reputable fashion. Firefighting is a work environment that is very difficult to be assessed or understood by inspectors or investigators, the same is true for the tree care industry. When there is a fatality, the questions start to get asked and generally tree care companies are not prepared and do not have the documentation that can explain or show that they were working to meet safety and due diligence requirements. In these cases, it is simply not enough to provide certifications and credentialing. Ask anyone who has had to experience and live through the death of an employee.

In learning about and researching this topic, I found that there are some distinctions made between SOP’s and SOG’s. The following is an overview of both as I understand them.

Standard Operating Procedures:

1.   Document how your organization performs certain work activities, and your compliance with current industry standards or legislation,

2.   Have been developed by everyone involved in performing those activities,

3.   Address prioritized high risk work activities your company or organization performs; and are

4.   Specific and detailed and include industry standard references regarding specifications.

Standard Operating Guidelines are:

1.   Similar to operating procedures, but exist solely to provide guidance where no industry standard exists.

I know that the terms are often used interchangeably and not everyone bothers to make a distinction of one from the other. I also know that companies who want to be prepared for the day a ‘bad’ accident arrives are developing more refined work procedures like SOP’s or SOG’s. The evidence is in the fatality statistics we all hear about, and that alone should be enough to show that we need to do everything we can to ensure the safety of our workforce. It is incumbent on all of us involved in this business of arboriculture.

The following is an example of a SOG I have worked on; remember to make your SOG or SOP your own. The best way to develop your own is to have all workers involved play a key role in the development of your organization’s SOP’s or SOG’s.

Tree Climbing Standard Operating Guideline -2013

Static or Single Rope Tree Climbing Systems – SRT

I.      Tree climbers are workers who are competent in the establishment of tree climbing systems, from equipment selection to implementation.

II.      Tree climbers must have all necessary Personal Protective Equipment, including: hard hat, eye protection, and appropriate footwear.

III.      All climbing equipment must be Industry approved.

IV.      Each tree to be climbed is risk assessed and inspected for strength and stability, specifically the root system and tie in locations.

a.   Trees to be climbed are to be visually inspected and, when deemed necessary, further assessed by being sounded with a mallet and/or field pull tested, prior to selecting tie in location.

b.   Tie in locations must be visible from the ground prior to ascending. If tie in locations are not visible, a lower visible tie in location must be selected and or alternate ascent methods, such as spurs, utilized.

c.   Tie in locations must be a minimum diameter of 6 inches and climbing lines must be attached to these tie locations in such a way as to minimize drifting or sliding of the line away from the stem or along the branch.

d.   Tie in locations must be on branches that have strong, more open ‘U’ shaped attachments not narrow or tight ‘V’ shaped.


V.      An approved climbing line is installed onto a selected temporary anchor point location in the canopy of the tree and one end of the climbing line is anchored to the base of the tree being climbed.

VI.      The temporary anchor point is field tested by performing pull and load tests.

VII.      Approved connecting links, cordage and harnesses are selected and knots and hitches are tied, dressed and set to establish a static suspension climbing system.

a.   Approved cordage with termination knots or eye splices is used to tie a climbing hitch to the static line with approved connecting links.

b.   A dynamic climbing system (as described in DdRT) connects the climber to the climbing hitch and static line with approved connecting links and pulleys.

c.   An ascending device is attached to the lead of the static line below the climbing hitch d.   Climbing aids and tethers are attached to the ascending device

VIII.      The climber ascends in the static suspension climbing system and then repositions to a dynamic working system to conduct work activities.

a.    The repositioning to a dynamic system can be done by establishing a new temporary anchor point or by spiking the static line just below the static climbing hitch and working off of the dynamic system attaching the climber to the static line; however the static suspension system is primarily used for entry only into tall tree canopies.

IX.      All work is performed with the climber tied in at all times, and when operating saws the worker shall be double tied.

X.      Whenever feasible during ascent, the climber shall utilize a lanyard or secondary climbing system as a back-up.

XI.      In the event a climber has to establish another temporary anchor point it must also be inspected and assessed prior to use, and the temporary anchor and climbing system must be load tested prior to use.

XII.      Tree climbers climb smoothly and avoid unnecessary shock loading that can be generated by swings or falls, this is achieved by keeping all lines tensioned and slack free at all times and by employing the use of a work positioning lanyard whenever possible, especially when using saws.

XIII.      Tree climbers shall not climb above their temporary anchor points or climb horizontally or away from the temporary anchor point to where their climbing rope angle exceeds 45 degrees from the perpendicular axis of the temporary anchor point.

I trust this has expanded your knowledge and has helped you understand the differences between certifications, industry standards, legislation, operating procedures and guidelines. The most challenging and rewarding aspect of developing these type of documents is getting all workers participating and involved. Though this requires the investment of resources like time, the benefits of getting everyone talking about how they do things and with what kind of tools and equipment include not only the reduction of accidents and injury, but the process of development and implementation helps build morale, and improves workers’ knowledge and understanding of their position. Really, it is a win-win investment.

Dwayne Neustaeter is the current President-elect on the SCA Board, and is also the President of Arboriculture Canada, an organization focusing on meeting the training and education needs of arborists and those in related industries. Dwayne’s background and experience complement his current activities of instructing, program development, and qualification testing in the field. He instructs training programs and seminars on safety and a wide range of skills for arborists around the world.

The Culture of Arboriculture

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Have you been hurt or experienced a near miss because you knowingly took a chance?

Can you think of a time when in an attempt to complete a job before dark or to salvage a bad bid, an accident occurred?

I recently was lucky enough to attend the ISA International conference and tree climbing championships in Australia. I enjoyed my time there very much and due to certain circumstances I was asked to give a presentation for Dr. John Ball as he was unable to attend. Dr.Ball is a professor at South Dakota State University and I have known him personally and professionally for many years. Giving another person’s presentation is a great privilege because you learn so much, and I thank Dr. Ball for considering and trusting me. I was particularly impressed in the way this presentation ended and it is the impetus from which I write this article. In my previous article I said I would be sharing specific methods for identifying tree failure potential and location and I will do that next issue.

The presentation summarized is about the causes of arborist fatalities, fatality statistics, and standards/legislation from a global perspective. It outlined what the fatality averages are in countries around the world and looked at their causes. It also explained what standards or legislation exists in countries around the world.

However, what struck me were the last couple slides where Dr. Ball states that even though training, legislation and standards exist in many countries the accident and fatality rates are still quite high and their causes similar, globally speaking.

This raises a thought provoking question – why?

While accidents and fatalities are lower in countries where mandatory training and credentialing exists and the incidents are lower in these countries than countries that do not have tree work specific legislation or standards, the accident and fatality statistics are still quite high. Globally, commercial arboriculture ranks in the top 5 most dangerous occupations.

In pondering the statistics I believe it has something to do with the culture of arboriculture. Generally speaking, people who enter this field and stick with arboriculture a year or two have some common traits; such as being a hard worker, a risk taker, and a ‘get ‘er done’ done mentality. I believe that this is in part why we have accidents and fatalities. Another significant contributing reason is that arborists deal with many variables and every tree is unique and poses different risks and challenges almost every time, regardless of the work being performed.

There is evidence to suggest that while we understand and evaluate risks and hazards we must do a better job in mitigating and eliminating the risks and identified hazards as part of our regular work practice.

We need to use our intelligence, caution and preventative measures to protect ourselves when doing tree work. It is not enough to have standards, legislation and certifications and to simply evaluate risks and document the assessment procedure. We need to act on the identified risks and diligently address them by putting in place barriers or eliminating the hazards as part of the work plan.  This is important for all aspects of tree work and for the types of equipment that are being used.

Chippers are one of the most dangerous tools we use and yet chipper training or standards that outline safe chipper operation are very limited in most cases.  Another area to give more consideration to is electrical awareness, as electrocution tops the list for fatalities to commercial tree workers according to the sectors of government who investigate fatalities.

As tree workers it is incumbent on us all to change the hard and fast production mentality and actively practice safe work practices that include not only risk assessment but management as well. We need to prioritize and focus on the equipment and activities that are statistically the most dangerous, such as limits of approach, electrical awareness, chipper and chainsaw operation.

Many of us were trained to work hard and do almost whatever it takes to complete jobs in a profitable manner and in certain situations take changes that shouldn’t be risked.  I know I saw this happen as a ground worker and carried forward this thinking when I began to lead crews. Thinking back to my days in the production field I can remember when we hustled to finish a job before dark to avoid the time and costs of returning the next day. I also can recall accidents and near misses that at their root were caused by this thinking.  This mentality can develop a culture that leads to problems. Legislation, training, licensing and certification is not enough; we need to more diligently apply risk reduction strategies, work in ways that reduce or eliminate identified risks and through communication and work strategies demonstrate to all that this is important.

Everyone one of us who works with others on a crew or in a lead role is a trainer and we need to think about what message we are sending to the next generation of tree workers – what  are we teaching them?  

An important message should be that safety is paramount and that when it comes to safety we do not let other factors push us to take the chances that make arboriculture one the most dangerous occupations.

Until we see a measurable reduction in the statistics we have justification to improve. When the statistics show a reduction then we may have been successful in changing the culture of arboriculture.

The presentation ended with a photograph of a placard on a large piece of industrial equipment and it said; ‘This machine does not have a brain, use yours.’ Shields, guards, emergency stops, brakes and PPE are not enough – we also need to change our thinking and habits.

Experience, thought, planning and actions that reduce and eliminate risks is the most important piece of safety equipment we have. It is in our heads.