To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Your front page photo of Jan. 31 was disturbing to say the least. I would like your readers to know that this is not an example of professional tree work by qualified arborists. For years, the tree care industry has been focused on improving tree care practices due to the alarming number of serious injuries and deaths, which averages 10 per month.
Most, if not all of these accidents are preventable with proper training and adherence to safe working practices. In your photo, the individual precariously balancing himself on top of an apple tree is in violation of both OSHA 29 CFR 1901 and ANSI Z133 standards. Tree workers should never operate a chain saw in a tree without being secured by two tie-in points. If there are no tie-in points, as is the case with this apple tree, there are orchard ladders that allow workers to position themselves safely to make a proper pruning cut.
Additionally, there is absolutely no reason to use a chain saw while pruning a tree like the apple tree in this photo. The new generation hand saws are razor sharp and allow for a fast, precise pruning cut at the branch collar without leaving poor pruning cuts and stubs as well as nicks on the branches from being grazed by a high speed chain saw.
Tree workers should never use only one hand to hold a chain saw, as this is a very dangerous practice. These modern small chain saws spin at 13,000 RPMs, enough speed to create a serious and potentially life threatening injury if the worker were to slip while holding a chain saw with one hand. Tree climbers have bled out from serious chain saw accidents before they could be rescued out of a tree.
The owner of this orchard would be well advised to properly train his or her employees in order to prevent a senseless tragedy. If there is a serious accident, he or she will be liable for failing to provide proper training necessary to keep our tree workers safe.
ERIK G. HAUPT, II
The writer is president and general manager of the Haupt Tree Company, and is a Massachusetts certified arborist, a Connecticut licensed supervising arborist, and an ISA certified arborist.