Tree Planting Safety
Planting a tree is one of the greatest things you can do for the environment. However, planting trees also comes with a fair amount of risk that not everyone thinks about. If you intend to plant any trees yourself or with a crew of people, safety should always be the first concern. Here’s how to approach tree planting safety, whether you are going to plant one tree or one hundred.
Tree Planting Safety
There’s a lot that can go wrong when trees go into the ground. You might be shocked to hear that tree planting accounts for a considerable amount of emergency room visits each year. A lack of thought of carelessness for one single second can land someone straight in the ER with minor or major injuries.
Assess the Scene
The first step to successful tree planting is to assess the scene for any potential danger. An ideal tree planting space contains no immediate obstacles – and where it does, these will have to be removed to make way for staff and any equipment or vehicles.
Always beware of environmental hazards like falling branches, tumbling rocks, or loose soil. Environmental hazards can be one of the biggest dangers for anyone making their way through the tree planting site.
Mark off any immovable hazards so they are easily visible. Never assume that anyone else will use common sense or see the obstacle themselves.
The next thing to do is to identify any obstacles where the tree might grow into. It is never a good idea to place large trees close to power lines, buildings, or fire hazards. Consider exactly where the bottom (roots) and top (branches) of the tree will eventually grow and whether this could potentially cause danger or obstruction in the future.
Many accidents around trees eventually happen due to the placement of the tree next to dangerous obstacles.
Familiarize yourself with the area you intend to plant the tree before laying out any official plans, and certainly before any vehicles enter the area.
Remember Fire Safety
Trees, especially ones that have been planted in the wrong places, can become a serious fire hazard. Almost nothing burns as hot or fast as dried-out wood. If a tree has branches in contact with a power line there is a clear danger that could arise.
It is always important to consider fire safety when trees are planted. It’s not just physical obstacles or falling branches that could become a danger to anyone in the immediate vicinity.
Close Off the Area
Areas in which large-scale tree planting projects take place should be closed off as best as possible with clearly marked lines, and tape. If the area is not closed off properly, anyone could walk straight into danger or be the cause of the danger themselves.
Barriers should allow for the area to be closed off, but should still allow enough movement freedom for people and vehicles to move enter, and exit.
As one last note, make sure that everyone who intends to be on site wears the necessary safety equipment.
Additional Reading: Planting Trees & Shrubs – OPPD
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