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Safety Measures Urged for Tree-Care Workers

CDC report finds an average of 80 die each year while trimming trees

THURSDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Between 1992 and 2007, an average of 80 tree-care workers died annually in the United States, according to a study that calls for safety training programs in this industry.

Almost half of the tree-care workers died while trimming or pruning a tree. Common causes of these deaths included being struck by tree branches and trees, falling from trees and equipment used to reach trees, or being electrocuted through contact with power lines.

Fifty-seven percent of the tree-care workers who died were with small companies that had 10 or fewer employees, the study found.

The researchers noted that tree-care workers face a unique set of safety hazards and are at risk for a wide range of traumatic injuries. The danger can be reduced through a number of measures.

The researchers called for implementation and enforcement of training programs that address tree safety, fall protection, electrical hazards, machine safety, safety along roadways, first aid and CPR. In addition, worksite surveys should be conducted before each new job to identify hazards and to develop strategies to control those hazards.

The study appears in the April 23 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More information

The U.S. Department of Labor has more about tree care worker health and safety.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, April 23, 2009

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