Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: OSHA Tree Care Safety StandardsFebruary 18, 2016
Tree care is a high-hazard industry that provides services such as pruning, tree and stump removal, cabling and bracing, storm cleanup and lightning protection. For years, members of the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) have petitioned federal regulators to develop safety standards to address the high number of tree worker injuries and fatalities. While some states, including Maryland, have established their own standards for licensed tree experts, current federal regulations fail to adequately address many of the leading causes of tree worker deaths. Recently, however, OSHA announced that it would begin to gather information for the possible development of specific rules for the industry. Safety advocates are applauding the move, saying that it would provide an added level of enforcement that may help to save lives.
Tree Care Accidents
Tree care workers have an injury and illness rate four times greater than the national average, according to the 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The TCIA reviewed 126 occupational tree care accidents from that same year. Of those, 81 were fatal. Sadly, most if not all of these accidents could have been prevented through the adoption of better safety practices. The most common types of fatal tree worker accidents include:
- Falls from tree
- Struck by tree
- Struck by branch
- Falls from aerial lifts
Tree care workers also suffer high rates of non-fatal accidents including:
- Chain saw accidents – cuts, lacerations, amputation
- Caught in/under equipment – crushed or broken bones, injuries to internal organs
- Falls from ladders – broken bones, traumatic brain injury, paralysis
- Caught in chipper – severe lacerations, loss of limb, damage to ligaments and nerves, permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Accidents caused by defective equipment
- Injuries caused by heavy lifting
Employees injured on the job are entitled to file a Workers’ Compensation claim, which covers injury-related medical expenses and a portion of the worker’s lost wages. In the event that a person is fatally injured in a work-related accident, the victim’s family may also be able to claim death benefits under Maryland Workers’ Compensation law. On rare occasions, the injured party may be able to recover additional compensation by filing a third party liability claim against a negligent subcontractor or maker of a defective machine part. These types of cases should only be handled by a reputable Workers’ Compensation lawyer with experience representing clients in complex cases.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Fight on Behalf of Injured Tree Care Workers
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a work-related accident, trust our Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton to get you the compensation you need during this difficult time. Call 844-556-4LAW (4529) today to arrange a free consultation or submit an online contact form.