Fatal Tree Trimming Accidents Have Experts On Guard

Published 06/26 2014 02:45PM

Updated 06/27 2014 12:25PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Professional treetrimmers go out on a limb everyday to make sure trees are nicely groomed, but with the job comes the risk of serious injuries that could lead to death.

Tree trimmers like William Hayes face the dangers of high-voltage power lines, handling intense tools like a chainsaw, and the tree itself on a daily basis.

He has worked with Charlie's Tree Trimming for nearly a decade and says although he loves his job, it can be scary.

"Fallen branches, especially broken branches, branches breaking up from under you, it's a hazard all day long," he said.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of 200 people die a year in the United States from tree related incidents.

It may not sound like a lot but those numbers do not include the thousands who suffer from major injuries due to tree trimming.

"It makes us stop and realize that we need to buckle down on our safety, too, so we don't have an unfortunate accident just like they had," said Charlie Owens, the owner of Charlie's Tree Trimming.

Professionals use a 150-foot rope when climbing trees.

They call it a 'lifeline' because their life literally depends on it when they are up that high.

"You should never fall to the ground. The best you could do is fall and hit the tree instead of hitting the ground with the rope," Hayes said.

"It's one of the most important tools you can have in the tree," said Owens.

Hayes and Owens recommend homeowners leave the job up to professionals.

"There's so many risks involved and so many things involved that experience and time will tell you what's going to happen and what will not happen," Owens said.

Earlier this week, two men from Kansas died from tree trimming accidents.

Larry Dean, 47, fell 60 feet from a limb and Washburn University's baseball coach, Steve Anson, was pinned by a limb after it fell.

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