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Everyday workers are faced with many small to large decisions regarding their safety and perhaps someone else’s; especially in the Arboriculture industry.  

 Should I wear my hearing protection? The chipper is just going to be on for a minute,

  • Should I reach into the chipper tray and push those last few branches in? what could go wrong?
  • Do I need my chainsaw protection? I’m only making a couple cuts with the saw,
  • Should I spend the money and get my employees properly trained??  It could get expensive to train them all.

 There are many other examples of the choices regarding safety that we make every day but the question is, do we actually have a choice?  The answer is that you do have a choice; you have a choice because it is up to every individual to make the conscious decision to be safe. There are laws, regulations and rules that state what you must do and how to do it; but you as an individual are still the one that needs to make a conscious decision to do it.

Think about the above examples and think of the possible scenarios that could result from the choice you could make with each one. For example, you need to use the chainsaw to make a couple of cuts and you have to choose if you put your chainsaw protection on.  You know you have to, you’ve had your training, you know you could get fined if the ministry were to see you; but you still need to make the choice to do it.  

So, what do you choose? – how will it end up if while you are cutting away you hit an unknown object that causes the saw to skip up your leg?  Did you choose to wear your chainsaw protection and nothing happens but a silent prayer saying ‘good choice me’; or did you choose to not put your chainsaw protection on and the chainsaw cuts into your leg which could lead to the loss of your leg, or worst-case, loss of your life.

There are many scenarios out there that we as Arborists face every day and at times it can be easier to be unsafe; but we didn’t all become Arborists because it was easy, did we? Take the extra time to make the safe choices and take the safe route; spend the money to get proper training, continue to learn and don’t forget to look out for your other crew members.

 In Ontario, safety is a requirement; but it’s still up to the individual to actually be safe.  We can train ourselves and our employers can train us; we can be fined, our employers could be fined and worse, we or someone we are working with could be injured or killed. We each need to be responsible for our own safety and look out for the crew’s safety as well; we each need to make the consc

ious decision to take all the necessary precautions.

Safety is a choice and it’s a culture; safety comes down to you.

Make safe choices!


Julie Tucker