Serious About Improving Safety

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Safety Culture

Safety is not just about following regulations and check lists. On-point culture is key to a team fine-tuned and focused on what it wants to achieve. Nick Peardon of Treeincarnation tells us more.

More often that not, attempts to improve safety commonly consist of ‘safety’ meetings (largely their fundamental purpose isn’t to improve safety), gear checks, arial rescues and ensuring sufficient time is allocated towards jobs.

However, what has the biggest impact, and what also largely goes overlooked, is ensuring an on-point culture.

Culture, especially in larger organisations, is typically put aside or dumped in the ‘too hard’ basket due to the fact it’s difficult to report on, and because there is a general lack of awareness on how to effectively develop and nurture it.

Bottling culture and putting metrics on it so it can be reported on can be difficult, sure, instilling procedures to ensure the longevity of a culture can also be deterring as well.

However, choosing to remain ignorant to it because of its perceived complexity is a poor excuse in allowing it to fall by the wayside.

I’m a big advocate for having alignment within an organisation. Alignment in the sense of being on the same page, sharing similar values and uniting to work towards what the business intends to achieve.

This not only provokes a camaraderie within a team, but most importantly serves to ensure each team player has everyone else’s back.

Being the third most dangerous job in the country, in a lot of scenarios the nature of the work means a worker’s life is commonly in the hands of one of their colleagues.

All the safety meetings in the world wouldn’t prevent an accident from happening nearly as well as compared to an aligned team in an on-point culture.

A Word on Culture

Culture is not wishy-washy. Leaders who neglect it find a whole amass of greater problems they have to deal with and it is this misconception that is largely is foundational to the inefficiencies many businesses face today.

To avoid it would be to largely do the biggest disservice to all in the business and to all who come into contact with the business.

For a lot of organisations, the problem stems not from a lack of structures in place to best help promote great culture, but from their recruitment process.

It was the masterful Jim Collins who stated, in his proclaimed book Good To Great “get the right people on the bus, and the right people in the right seats”.

Our staff on boarding process at Treeincarnation ensures that only the right people get in. What determines a candidate to be ‘right’ largely comes down to identifying alignment in values.

For instance, if a candidate applies for a position and doesn’t recognise benefits in having an informal, fun, spontaneous and high-energy approach to how we go about doing business, then likely they aren’t going to resonate with our practice of having ‘prank days’ every week. Prank days stems from recognising the importance of having fun at work and everyone’s need to want to enjoy coming to work as well. It is one of the ways in which we maintain and amplify the camaraderie in the team.

While no one really lasts in the industry unless they enjoy it, no one is going to last in an organisation unless they get along with the people in it. Alignment is where it starts. Understanding that culture is a constantly moving target. These weekly rituals that boost culture are key to ensuring each team member remains aligned for the purpose of high performance, staff fulfilment and safe work practices.

Procedures

What similar procedure could you implement within the organisation in which you work? For some it might be an in-house climbing competition, for others it would be singing kumbaya.

What ever it is for you, the point of it all is not to simply have an exercise that you do each week. That is against the point. It’s about alignment and it’s about congruence with what ritual fundamentally encompasses the culture at its core.

It may be difficult for you initially to think of something. If this is you, good. This means you’re on the right track. Wrestle with it and continue to unpack it until you think you are close to the answer.

Recruiting Parameters

What this might also uncover is a lack of parameters in the recruitment process around determining who gets into your organisation in the first place.

If this is also you, have a think about the values your people on your bus most commonly share and recruit based on them.

When you have a culture of what I call ‘3am guys’ – (a team who would remove a dead body for each other at 3 o’clock in the morning), you know that the chances of having accidents or even close calls are significantly reduced.

Nick Peardon is a Business Growth Partner and is the Founder and Owner of Treeincarnation – Australia’s No. 1 Tree Removal Company that makes furniture out of the trees being cut down.

March 18, 2020 / by / in ,
All New Clogger Ascend Chainsaw Pants

Based loosely on the old Clogger classic ‘Arbormax Ascend’ pants, the newest addition to the Clogger chainsaw protective range, the Ascend, is a great improvement on what was a vastly popular pant amongst arborists in New Zealand and Australia.

New Ascend Pants

Designed as an ‘all-season’ pant, the all new Ascend has brought the best features from the Zero Gen 2 and old Arbormax Ascend pants and added some little tweaks here and there. Features such as:

  • Waterproof Fabric Up To Knee Height

For those days where you may be working in a paddock or a lazy customers’ backyard with ridiculously long grass

  • High Abrasion Resistant Material

To reduce damage to your pants in areas that are more prone to ‘wear and tear’ e.g. knees and inside of the calf

  • Pocket Bags

So you can easily empty the sawdust from your pockets when you inevitably forget to close the zip after checking your phone. Hopefully, before your partner finds them in the washing pile, spills sawdust all over the laundry floor and has a massive blow out about how this happens every week. Not that it has ever happened to me…

  • Lightweight Design

Weighing in at less than 1.2kg, these are definitely one of the lighter pants on the market, so you can carry heavier logs

  • Improved Zippers

So the zips won’t blow apart after three days unlike some other brands

  • Mesh Lining

Improving ventilation on hot days and preventing your sweaty legs from sticking to the interior lining

  • Rear Vents with Zips

Choose between feeling a nice cool breeze on your undercarriage or not

  • Extra Leg Length

Meaning you’ll have that bit more length to play with… for freedom of movement

  • Stretchzone© Rear Seam

Lock stitched elasticised thread in the seat seam means that the stitching moves with the material, so the backside of your pants won’t blow out and give you more ventilation than you were anticipating

  • Gathazone© Preformed Knee

Making movement and flexibility easier

  • Buttons

For attaching braces for your friends to pull on or if you just feel like going for the farmer from Cornwall look

  • Arrestex HP Chainsaw Protection

Available in both Type A or Type C protection. The chainsaw protection is not only light but slim, with no trade off in levels of protection

  • Back Pocket

To put your wallet where it belongs

  • All of the above tells us that the Clogger Ascend is going to be a great pant.

The Clogger Ascend and Clogger Zero pants are both available at Tree Care Machinery now.

Be the First to Check Them Out Order online at www.treecaremach.com.au or call their friendly staff on (08) 8277 8700.

February 26, 2020 / by / in ,
Accessing Tree Risks

Accessing a tree presents with common hazards and risks which have to be properly evaluated before getting started on a jobsite.

Methods For Accessing Trees

Trees can be accessed by using EWPs or climbing.

PPE should be used for all access tasks. This can include eye, hearing, hand and leg protection as well as protective boots and helmet.

Clothing should generally be close fitting and of high-visibility. If using a chainsaw in a tree pants should be cut-resistant – see AS/NZS 4453.3:1997 Protective clothing for users of hand-held chainsaws – protective legwear.

Workers carrying out above ground work should be qualified for the type of work being done.

Before accessing a tree by any method a visual tree assessment should be carried out by a competent person. The assessment should include the tree’s overall condition and structural integrity with consideration given to structural faults like bark inclusions, decay, hollows, growth habit, species of tree and root plate failure. The assessment should also consider wind loading and the tree’s location. This information should inform whether the tree is safe to access, the method to access and attach to the tree, emergency rescue measures along with rigging and removal techniques.

Common Hazards And Risks Of Accessing Trees

  • Slipping out of harness not positioned correctly
  • Slipping or falling from branches due to failure of anchor points
  • Dehydration and fatigue
  • Musculoskeletal disorders from awkward positions
  • Falling from height due to incorrect use of ropes, knots and devices like descenders
  • Being struck by falling objects or a throw bag
  • Wildlife related injuries e.g. from wasps, bees, birds, possums
  • Falling from an EWP
  • Contact with overhead electric lines.

Examples Of Control Measures For Accessing Trees

  • Checking the location of overhead electric lines before starting work
  • Conducting a site specific hazard and risk assessment
  • Using an EWP
  • Using a rope access system
  • Establishing and maintaining an exclusion zone
  • Having a spotter to maintain the exclusion zone while work is being done in the tree
  • Ensuring the harness and climbing spikes fit correctly and are comfortable
  • Being attached at all times e.g. to an EWP
  • Planning a clear access route
  • Checking the tree for bees, wasps or other animals before accessing
  • Checking anchor points thoroughly before leaving the ground
  • Weighting your climbing system before disconnecting your second point of attachment
  • Having an emergency plan including an aerial rescue procedure
  • Ensuring traffic control measures are in place within the established exclusion zone when working on or above roads.

Climbing A Tree

Other methods of accessing trees, for example using EWPs should be considered before attempting to climb a tree. Tree climbing is a dangerous and complex activity. It should only be done by workers assessed as competent against the relevant national UoC. Tree climbing should only be done by people who are physically fit and not affected by alcohol or drugs including prescribed medication which may affect or impair their ability to work at heights. Before climbing a tree a risk assessment should be conducted by a competent person to consider any special techniques required and weather conditions.

Tools carried and used by the climber should be safely secured when not in use. If the climber is using a chainsaw the climber should be secured to the tree using steel-core rope flip-lines that provide two points of attachment at all times. Some species of tree or damaged trees may require two points of attachment when moving location.

The chainsaw should be secured to the climber in a way that allows the chainsaw to hang in a position that will not hinder the climber’s free movement or create a hazard for the climber or other workers. When climbing large trees in hot or humid climates the climber can suffer dehydration and fatigue from humidity and heat. Therefore, frequent drinks and work breaks may be required.

Overhead electric lines running through trees may also expose a climber to the risk of electric shock resulting in electrocution.

The climbing crew should consist of at least two workers with one worker to stay on the ground as a safety observer or spotter. The nominated ground worker should also be trained in aerial rescue techniques.

The tree climber and ground worker should ensure regular visual or verbal communication is maintained. An exclusion zone must be established before work starts to ensure pedestrians and others are not entering the danger zone.

Tree Climbing Equipment

Tree climbing equipment must be suitable for its intended use, be used and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and be stored and protected from damage including during transit. Equipment used to climb a tree can include:

  • Rope
  • Harnesses
  • Karabiners and snap hooks
  • Ascenders, descenders and rope grabs
  • Climbing irons (spikes)
  • Lanyards, and Pulleys

Tree climbing equipment should be inspected and assessed by the climber before and after each use. A competent person who is not the regular user of the equipment should also check the equipment regularly, for example every three months. Cleaning and maintenance of tree climbing equipment should be carried out on a regular basis according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Further guidance is in relevant Australian Standards including AS/NZS 1891.4:2009 Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices – Selection, use and maintenance.

Single rope access systems Single rope access systems can be used to access some trees, usually by vertically suspended ropes. This should only be carried out by workers who have been trained and are competent in this method of accessing trees.

When the integrity of the tree may make it unsafe for a worker to work in the tree or where there are doubts the tree can hold the load, other methods for access should be used, for example EWPs. The potential for contact with overhead electric lines should also be considered when using this method.

Other Methods

Crane Access Method

Another access method for carrying out tree trimming and removal work is by lifting or suspending a person in a harness with a crane – Regulation 221 of the model WHS Regulations. Queensland, the Northern Territory and New South Wales allow this method to be used to access a tree. You should contact your local regulator for further information.

Ladders

There are significant risks accessing trees using ladders. Tree trimming or removal work should not be done from ladders.

Further information can be found on the Australian Government’s training website – https://training.gov.au/

October 23, 2019 / by / in , ,
Work Athletes

At Citywide, we take an holistic approach to arboriculture that ensures all our staff take care of themselves and their teammates.

Whether it involves climbing and rigging, using one of our specialised elevated work platforms (EWPs) or constantly feeding wood chippers with heavy, cumbersome logs, the importance of maintaining good health and fitness through proper nutrition and staying well hydrated is paramount.

Observe a climber who is hungry or thirsty and wants to get out of the tree. The timber he or she cuts grows bigger and more unwieldly. They won’t climb as high and they refuse to limb walk. Decision-making gets worse, frustration builds and an incident occurs.

As Arborists and Ground Crew, we work long hours often in extreme temperatures, doing heavy manual labour and often in awkward positions. We climb out on long branches and contort ourselves into weird positions, wielding heavy chainsaws at weird angles, always striving to get a perfect cut.

We spur-climb with a heavy chainsaw hanging from our harness. We flex every abdominal muscle while holding the tools of our trade to ‘block down’ large timbers. And we drag heavy branches through narrow areas, to a chipper truck that always seems to move further away each time.

Indeed, the life and work of an arborist is akin to being a high performance athlete. A ‘work athlete’.

So, just as hydration and nutrition are key elements to an athlete’s wellbeing and ultimately helping keep them on track, so too do we ensure our people are in the best possible physical and mental shape.

It’s a duty of care that’s in our DNA and central to our mission and purpose of safely shaping liveable cities.

For more information about our company and values visit http://citywide.com.au or send an email to citywi[email protected]

October 17, 2019 / by / in , ,