Avoiding Being Struck by Falling Objects

Struck-bys are one of the leading causes of death in the tree-trimming industry. Most commonly, this is a threat when ground workers are hit by falling limbs, branches or tools.  Keeping yourself protected is the most important part of the job and being hyper-aware of your surroundings can help combat injuries.

At all times, you must assume that something could fall out of a tree. By establishing communication, securing your tools and defining your drop zone you can create a safer work environment and avoid unnecessary damage.

Establishing Communication

Communication really is key. The type of communication strategy that will be used should be defined before work has begun, so that all parties involved know what to look or listen for.


Establishing proper communication between arborists working above and those working below is one of the most effective ways to prevent struck-by injuries. Yelling “stand clear” when dropping limbs and “all clear” once the area is safe is recommended. Pre-arranged hand signals are an alternative means of communication when hearing may be hard.

Secure Your Power Tools

Nobody wants to be struck by a flying chainsaw, which is why securing all power tools is so important. When chainsaws or other power hand tools are carried aloft, securing them is key. Pole pruners and pole saws need to be secured when they are hung to avoid dislodgement.

Unless you’re using your tools to help climb the tree, avoid carrying tools or equipment in your hands. Cabling tools should always be carried in a bag or secured to a specially designed bag to keep them out of your way.

The Drop Zone

The drop zone is the area where the tree section will land during pruning, a.k.a a hazardous area to be in. Establishing where the drop zone will be and making sure that your fellow crew members know where it is can help avoid injuries.

It may seem like common sense, but wearing your personal protective equipment (PPE) while in or around the drop zone can help reduce your risk of injury. And to make sure you stay out of harm’s way, let your fellow arborists know when you are entering the drop zone.

On your next job, be sure to utilize this information to help avoid unnecessary injuries. Always establish a communication strategy, be sure to secure your power tools and define the drop zone of the project.

Posted: 11/26/2018 12:25:14 PM by Global Administrator