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When conducting pruning operations, even for small branches, the best practice is to remove branches in a “total branch control” manner using ropes or by reducing the size of the branch you are cutting into a much smaller piece.
In a weekly kick-off safety meeting, a utility noted a situation that recently occurred where a three-man crew was working overhang. The trimmer was using a hand saw so he could cut with one hand using the saw and control the limb with the other. This part of the operation went well and was performed safely; however, when the trimmer dropped the limb, it struck a stub that had been left on the tree. The trimmer reported that they had left the stub, and others like it, behind with the intent to clean them up later.
Section 5.3.6 of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 Pruning Standard states that “Tree branches shall be removed in such a manner so as not to cause damage to other parts of the tree or to other plants or property. Branches too large to support with one hand shall be precut to avoid splitting of the wood or tearing of the bark. Where necessary, ropes or other equipment shall be used to lower large branches or portions of branches to the ground.”
This situation could have been avoided if previous pruning cuts had been completed before proceeding to the next branch, and if the branch’s descent could have been controlled using ropes in a “total branch control” configuration.
ACRT Arborist Training provides entry-level through advanced arborist classes and certifications for line clearance companies, government agencies, tree care companies, municipalities, and individuals around the nation.
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