OSHA launches regional emphasis program for tree, landscape service industries
Posted January 26, 2024
new regional emphasis program (REP) targets tree trimming, tree removal, and land clearing operations in OSHA Region 2, which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 2022, there were 222 fatal workplace injuries and illnesses in these industries, many stemming from:
- Falls from elevated work surfaces,
- Struck-by hazards,
- Heat, and
- Chemical exposures.
The program’s initial phase, which ran from October 1 to early January, included outreach to employers, employees, and stakeholders to help raise awareness about the dangers workers face in the tree trimming and landscaping industries. OSHA is now conducting safety and health inspections to evaluate employers’ compliance and reduce workers’ exposure to hazards. Area Offices will continue to provide outreach activities throughout the REP’s duration. These annual activities will involve tree care associations, oversight authorities, or other appropriate groups, such as nursery and landscape associations.
Workers in these industries face hazards from heavy equipment use, working at heights, and operating powered equipment. OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson said, “By intensifying our focus on the tree and landscaping industries, we can help employers provide effective management of worker safety and health protection to reduce the extent and severity of work-related injuries and illnesses.”
The REP is scheduled to run through fall 2028.
This article was written by Carmen King of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.