International Society of Arboriculture Says Safety is Crucial Qualification When Hiring an Arborist

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Leading experts from ISA recommend asking for credentials up front before the job begins

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“Because there are no federal requirements, not all tree care workers are properly trained and credentialed,” says Jim Skiera, ISA Executive Director. “ISA Certified Arborists are specially equipped to work in a safe manner."

With fall landscape preparation underway at homes and businesses across the U.S., the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) cautions that because tree work can be dangerous, it is important to hire professional arborists trained in safety and industry best practices.

In a field where rates of tree worker accidents and fatalities can be high – more than three times that of an average worker, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – ISA remains steadfast in raising the awareness of safety standards and the need for all tree care workers on job sites to follow suggested protocol.

“Because there are no federal requirements, not all tree care workers are properly trained and credentialed,” says Jim Skiera, ISA Executive Director. “ISA Certified Arborists are knowledgeable and specially equipped to provide proper tree care in a safe manner.”

A comprehensive study by the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) revealed more than 400 tree worker deaths in a five-year period from 2009 to 2013. Some of the main hazards identified in these fatalities include workers falling from or being struck by trees, injuries from chain saws and chippers, and coming in contact with power lines. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is considering federal guidelines for tree care workers. ISA was among those invited by OSHA to Washington, D.C. in July to help lead the conversation.

Here are ways for consumers to be mindful about safety when hiring a tree care worker:

  • Always ask for ISA credentials up front to ensure the worker or company is properly trained and insured.
  • Find out where the arborist has performed similar work and ask for references. They should wear the industry recommended hard hat, eye and hearing protection, and gloves as part of their safety gear.
  • A good arborist will thoroughly look over a work site to identify trees on the property and possible hazards before beginning a job. They will also check for issues that could lead to incidents resulting in injuries or fatalities, including falling objects.

About ISA

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), headquartered in Champaign, Ill., U.S., is a nonprofit organization supporting tree care research and education around the world. To promote the importance of arboriculture, ISA manages the consumer education website; http://www.treesaregood.org, which fulfills the association’s mission to help educate the public about the importance and value of proper tree care. Also, as part of ISA’s dedication to the care and preservation of shade and ornamental trees, it offers the only internationally-recognized certification program in the industry. For more information on ISA and Certified Arborists, visit http://www.isa-arbor.com.

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Julie Gaier
The Ritterbusch Group
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