Tree care workers have a sometimes-deadly job
As another big storm hits New Jersey, with the possibility of trees falling and causing damage, a new Rutgers study done after Superstorm Sandy underscores the importance of safety training and protective equipment for tree-care workers.
Elizabeth Marshall, an environmental and occupational epidemiologist with the Rutgers School of Public Health, says many in the industry do a great job with safety training and equipment.
"There are, for example, over 800 landscaping companies in New Jersey. It is a large workforce that may be involved in tree care, either as part of the tree care industry, where you have people licensed to do tree trimming and removal, and then also some landscapers may end up working in this field, especially under storm conditions, when consumers are desperate for somebody to cut their tree down," she said.
Marshall says even with good training and the proper equipment, tree care is still a dangerous job. After Sandy, seven workers died.
She does worry about workers who are brought in as "extra helpers." who "may or may not have had much training or experience in this field."
The study found about 80 workers are killed and there are 23,000 chainsaw injuries in the industry annually.
"We suggest that consumers really choose [...] the right professional, a licensed professional who understands trees and is appropriately insured and has appropriate insurance on the workers that are using the chainsaws and the chippers," she said.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5
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