January 18, 2024

Regional Emphasis Program to Protect Tree Trimming, Removal Workers

OSHA announced on Jan. 11 that the agency has launched a regional emphasis program (REP) to protect workers in tree trimming, tree removal, and land clearing operations in OSHA Region 2, which includes the states of New York and New Jersey and the territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a press release by the Department of Labor, workers in these industries may work with heavy equipment, such as cranes, grapplers, stump grinders, loaders, and chippers; work at elevation on devices such as aerial lifts; climb, trim, and remove trees; and operate heavy equipment. Through these activities, workers in tree and landscape service operations may experience injuries and fatalities associated with falls, amputations, noise, electrical hazards, and struck-by hazards. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 222 tree and landscape service workers nationwide suffered fatal workplace illnesses and injuries in 2022.

The REP, which is scheduled to run through fall 2028, includes an outreach element to raise awareness of hazards connected to tree and landscaping industry operations among employers and employees. The program will also target OSHA safety and health inspections of these operations to assess employers’ compliance and to reduce employees’ exposures to hazards.

More information may be found in the DOL press release. The new REP may be downloaded as a PDF.

Related: In November 2023, OSHA also implemented an REP focusing on tree care and related services in Region 9, which comprises Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.