Issue 02 | Winter 2023 arbortimes.org
Tree Care Business, Safety, & Equipment News
Considering Storm Work? In the aermath of many storms, tree care services are oen some of the first to respond and aid those in need.
Using Safety Audits to Reduce Risks When it comes to safely performing tree work of any kind, best practices are essential. Keeping people safe on the job is a top priority.
Building a First Aid Kit While every precaution can be taken, accidents still happen, so it’s essential to be prepared with a well-stocked first aid kit.
The best safety, skill and productivity training & education for people and organizations who work with, in and around trees. Get more details at ArborMaster.com
‘23 ArborEXPO.org March 30-31
2 | ArborTIMES Winter 2023 r
Editor’s Note Happy New Year readers,
I’m looking forward to the possibilities that 2023 holds. The number 23 happens to be a favorite of mine. I like that it’s prime, only divisible by one and itself. I oen spot 23 when I’m not looking for it, and it feels like a sign, although I hesitate to say it’s “lucky” because I don’t believe in luck. I believe in con- scious, hard work and preparation, and this connects to a small theme winding its way through this issue of ArborTIMES : maximizing down time to get ahead. The new year always feels like a fresh start and the chance to look at things with a fresh perspective. Admittedly, fresh starts can happen any time of year, but there’s something to be said about the calendar flipping from December 31, 2022 to January 1, 2023 to give us that “reset” feeling. Researchers have identified the gap between current behavior and desired behavior as the “fresh start effect,” which creates the opportunity to rethink how you approach things, and is oen tied to dates. There’s generally a quiet space at the end of the year that trails into the next as a result of holidays, shis in weather and just plain needing a break. This quieter time of year is perfect to reflect on what you’ve accomplished, where you may have faltered, and build goals to grow from those experiences. Some of those goals can have actionable steps early in the year, before busy season takes over, whether that’s checking in with your crew on their CEUs or completing an annual insurance audit. Your goal doesn’t have to be a resolution with an end date—resolutions tend to be rigid and unforgiving. Aer all, unexpected things pop up all of the time, and we have to flex and even change paths to keep moving forward. This applies to tree work and life. Our goal is to be a resource you make time for when we show up in your inbox. ArborTIMES is here to deliver relevant and timely tree care business, safety and equipment news. With positive reception to our first issue in Fall 2022, we’re back with more content in this issue and anticipate even more growth throughout 2023. Thank you for joining us in this digital space. Please share these stories, send feed- back and interact with us on social media. We’ve made the social icons below click- able so it’s easy for you to connect with us.
On our cover: Chippers reduce cut and drag time, which in turn helps you make more money. Photo courtesy of Morbark. ISSUE 2, WINTER 2023
PUBLISHER Sachin Mohan: Mohan@ArborTimes.org EDITOR Emily W. Duane: editor@ArborTimes.org TECH DIRECTOR Richard May: info@ArborTimes.org SAFETY AND TRAINING ADVISORS Ken Palmer Jared Abrojena SENIOR ADVISORS Dane Buell Mark Garvin
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No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions that may occur. All uncredited photography is either supplied or sourced from a stock image bank.
Emily W. Duane, Editor, and the ArborTIMES Team
TO SUBSCRIBE email: email@example.com or subscribe online: arbortimes.org/subscribe
ArborTIMES Winter 2023 | 3
Table of Contents
ISSUE 2, WINTER 2023
ArborTIMES is a fully digital publication for the tree care industry from Edge Ahead Associates, creator of ArborEXPO, the industry’s first indoor/outdoor trade show and conference for arborists and green industry professionals. We’re connecting with experts, business owners, master trainers and more to identify top stories and educational opportunities to deliver right to your inbox on a quarterly basis.
INVESTING IN A CHIPPER? HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW By Emily W. Duane According to 360 Research Reports, the global wood-chipper market size was valued at $335.4 million in 2021. With increasing demand for wood across various industries, the market for heavy machinery is highly competitive. CONSIDERING STORM WORK? PREPARATION IS KEY By Katie Dastoli In the aermath of many storms, tree care services are oen some of the first to respond and aid those in need. However, experts in the indus- try caution those looking to expand their companies’ services to include storm work.
EDITOR’S NOTE 3 ArborTIMES will maintain a connection between events to keep you up-to-date on tree care business, safety and equip- ment news.
SEE YOU AT THE TOP ® !
Each month we’ll highlight a variety of new and innovative products related to the tree care industry.
The primary definition of an accident is an unplanned event. Going deeper, it stands to reason that to avoid accidents, we must plan our work and work our plan.
Bandit....................................................... 9 Edge Ahead Associates ............................. 49 Greenworks ............................................. 25 Northern Atlantic Financial ..........................13 Quest Products LLC.................................... 51 Sennebogen .............................................27 Tracked Lifts ................................ Back Cover
All Access................................................. 19 Almstead ................................................44 Altec ......................................................38 American Arborist Supplies .........................41 ArborEXPO .............................................. 35 ArborMaster Training ................................... 2 Arborsystems ...........................................47
4 | ArborTIMES Winter 2023
USING SAFETY AUDITS TO REDUCE RISKS AND IMPROVE CREW SAFETY By Bob Urban When it comes to safely performing tree work of any kind, best practices are essential. Keeping people safe on the job is a top priority.
5 TIPS FOR BUILDING A FIRST AID KIT By Daniel Terrill
When a job involves cutting trees with a chainsaw and dodging falling branches, there’s an inherent risk to the work. While every precaution can be taken, accidents still happen, so it’s essential to be prepared with a well-stocked first aid kit.
INCENTIVIZING SAFETY COMPLIANCE IN THE TREE CARE INDUSTRY By David O’Neill Unsafe practices result in our industry’s near-permanent position within the top three most-deadly industries.
LEARN, SEE, TRY AND BUY AT ARBOREXPO ’23 ArborEXPO is an inno- vative trade show and conference offering highly interactive education and networking within the tree care industry.
MANAGING EXPOSURE WITH PROACTIVE INSURANCE AUDITS By Emily W. Duane Tree care can be dangerous work that puts a business, its assets and people at risk physically and financially, not to mention the risk to clients, their neighbors and the community.
WINTER IS COMING: 5 TRAINING OPPORTUNI- TIES FOR WHEN WEATHER STRIKES By Travis Vickerson Like many other businesses across the country, tree work can be impacted by weather. Winter is an excellent time to increase training and implement new work habits.
ArborTIMES Winter 2023 | 5
“According to 360 Research Reports, the global wood-chipper market size was valued at $335.4 million in 2021.”
Investing in a Chipper? Here’s What You Need to Know By Emily W. Duane
With the residential tree care and land- scaping market experiencing signif- icant growth in 2020 as homeowners prioritized caring for and expanding their outdoor living spaces, the oppor- tunity to meet that demand and expe- rience business growth has presented itself for tree care companies of all siz- es. With that demand comes the oppor- tunity to enhance existing services, ex- pand into new services and streamline business processes to reclaim time and money. This is where heavy machinery can be a major asset. “Ten years ago when you attended a trade show, you could look across the building and all you would see were chippers. Today, it’s aerial devices. For- ward-thinking people invest in machin- ery that will advance their business,” says Tom Gross, founder of Vortex Equipment. “Chippers still offer great value today. They reduce cut and drag time, which in turn helps you make more money. When you’re making a purchasing decision of this magnitude, invest in something that will improve
your bottom line and productivity.”
According to 360 Research Reports, the global wood-chipper market size was valued at $335.4 million in 2021. With increasing demand for wood across various industries, the market for heavy machinery is highly competitive. It can be difficult to find a used ma- chine, and delivery windows for new machines are oen 90-plus days. While renting is a valid avenue for meeting client demand in a pinch, and the bene- fit of leaving maintenance to the rental provider is appealing, eventually, there will be a tipping point where owning is the preferred option. THE TIPPING POINT “Having been on the tree company side and the manufacturer side, I don’t know that there is a singular ah-ha moment that applies to everyone,” says Lou Hicks, regional sales manager for Morbark. “I’d say the tipping point is when you, and any team you might have, are well-educated and certified in all
Some manufacturers and dealers do offer rent-to-own plans, giving business owners the chance to assess how a chipper will work for their business for a short period of time, such as three or six months. Photo courtesy of Morbark.
“Chippers still offer great value today. They reduce cut and drag time, which in turn helps you make more money.”
ArborTIMES Winter 2023 | 7
There are many scenarios where renting is ideal, and even preferred. However, when renting a chipper becomes a regular part of the monthly budget, it’s time to consider ownership. Photo courtesy of Bandit.
which is why many rent,” says Cody Labriola, regional sales manager for Vermeer All Roads. “We oen see a tipping point when a tree care compa- ny transitions into removals from just pruning. Removals require a larger chipper, and if removals become a full- time business, renting isn’t suitable in the long run because those costs can run around $4,000 to $5,000 per month, whereas financing a chipper
can come in closer to $1,500 to $2,000 per month, on average.” Another common tipping point is win- ning regular contract work with cities and municipalities. “It makes sense for a business owner to rent a chipper for the first contract,” says Joel Schuman, vice president of national business development for Western Equipment Fi- nance. “They might not want to invest in
aspects of safety.” Hicks suggests that having the proper training in place en- sures a company owner has built a busi- ness that supports owning a chipper. There are a few scenarios when rent- ing is preferable, such as when you’re getting started or need a chipper for one-off jobs to cover when a machine is down for service or the business is experiencing higher-than-normal work
a $100K chipper for a six- month contract, but when they continue to be award- ed that contract it’s a solid reason to make the jump from renting to owning.” Bottom line, there are many scenarios where renting is ideal, and even preferred. However, when renting a chipper be- comes a regular part of the monthly budget, it’s time to consider ownership. NEW VERSUS USED There are merits and downfalls to buying new
volume. “If you have a smaller chipper and oc- casionally take on bigger jobs that require addi- tional capacity, it makes sense to rent unless you find yourself consistently needing larger capacity,” suggests Jason Morey, marketing manager for Bandit Industries, Inc. “Many rental places are starting to invest in larger machines because com- panies are experiencing hiring shortages and need bigger chippers to mecha- nize the difference.”
For many, the tipping point is when the cost to rent outweighs the monthly finance payments to own a chipper. “Buying a chipper, whether new or used, is a big purchase for any- one, especially when just starting out,
If removals become a full-time business, renting isn’t suitable in the long run because those costs can run around $4,000 to $5,000 per month, whereas financing a chipper can come in closer to $1,500 to $2,000 per month, on average. Photo courtesy of Vortex.
and used, and the direction a tree care company owner takes entirely depends on their business philosophy and finan- cial needs. Here’s a quick and dirty out- line of the pros and cons of each.
8 | ArborTIMES Winter 2023
In celebration of Bandit’s 40th Anniversary in 2023, we will be co-hosting events with our dealers in select areas throughout the country. Please visit our website at www.banditchippers.com and click on the 40th Anniversary Tour menu icon. Below is a list of the current events scheduled.
April 20 th April 28 th May 3 rd May 9 th May 17 th
Bobcat of North Texas
Elk Grove, CA
‘23 ArborEXPO.org March 30-31
Bobcat of Connecticut
East Hartford, CT Kansas City, MO
June 6 th
Bandit Industries - Headquarters Bandit Headquarters
June 15 th
Stephenson Stephenson Mason Tractor Mason Tractor Modern Group
September 12 th September 14 th September 21 st September 22 nd October 6 th & 7 th
Harrisburg Cumming Cumming Bristol, PA
Harrisburg, PA Cumming, GA Cumming, GA
ACT Construction ACT Construction Company Wrench Company Wrench
October 17 th October 19 th October 25 th October 26 th
West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach, FL
TBD TBD TBD
San Diego, CA
Cal-Line PNW Brooks Tractor
ArborTIMES Winter 2023 | 9
USED PROS: • Buying used is generally less ex- pensive. “If you or a crew member are mechanically savvy, you can get a good deal on a used machine and fix it yourself,” suggests Labriola. • There is zero break-in period, just regular maintenance. • Some dealers offer a pre-owned war- ranty for purchase for up to a year. • “When you buy used, you have the opportunity to purchase machines that are pre-Tier 4,” says Hicks. USED CONS: • The used market is more expensive than normal currently due to high demand. • “It can be hard to know if a machine has been maintained well if you’re buying from a private party,” says Morey. There’s no way to truly know which problems will be inherited. Purchasing used requires close scrutiny of the machine for defects, including checking the main frame and disc or drum for cracks. • “Financing used equipment can re- sult in higher interest rates because of the unknowns about the quality of the equipment,” says Labriola. In an ideal world, the market wouldn’t be dealing with labor struggles or supply chain issues for new machines and high demand for used. “When our sales consultants sit with customers, they urge them to forecast out for the next year to proactively manage their business costs,” says Labriola. While experts have observed improvements with supply chain, continued labor is- sues and heightened demand are lin- gering complications. However, these should not deter a business owner from taking the step into ownership. “Some components used in chippers aren’t as high in demand in other industries, so the supply lines are improving,” ob- serves Gross. “However, there is little improvement on the demand side, so people who want a machine will find one wherever they can, new or used.”
NEW PROS: • Chippers are designed to start working right away. Aside from following the manufacturer’s guidelines for changing filters, tightening belts and checking the clutch in the first few operating hours, the entire maintenance schedule is very straightforward. • “If you follow the maintenance schedule, these machines will work for you as long as you need them to and will resell for you at a much higher price than a machine that’s not maintained as well,” recom- mends Hicks. • “Whether you stick with the original warranty or invest in an extended warranty, you can relax with the ex- pectation that your chipper will be less likely to have failures for several years. But if failures do arise, those warranties are in place for help from the manufacturers,” says Hicks. • “When buying new, you can be as- sured the machines will have all the latest safety features and most recent updates to help make a busi- ness more profitable,” says Morey.
• Financing rates and terms are gen- erally better for new equipment. “For a new chipper we’ll offer longer terms tied to the useful life of the as- set. This could run up to 84 months or seven years,” says Schuman. • From a marketing perspective, a new machine could influence the decision a prospect makes to be- come a customer. “New machines look nicer, and that can mean something to the client and their neighbors when you’re working in their neighborhood,” says Labriola. NEW CONS: • Delivery times are extended and prices have increased as a result of lingering supply chain issues. • New machines with diesel engines must meet the EPA’s Tier-4 emis- sion standards for off-highway machines, making it difficult to service the engine in-house due to the advanced electronic emis- sion-control technologies. In the event the engine requires service, it must go to the engine dealer.
Buying a chipper, whether new or used, is a big purchase for anyone, especially when just starting out, which is why many rent. Photo courtesy of Vermeer.
10 | ArborTIMES Winter 2023
THINGS TO CONSIDER CAPACITY
Considering capacity is an important first step in selecting a chipper. “One question we always ask customers is about the type of work they’re doing,” says Gross. “Customers oen want a bigger machine, but we don’t always advise that.” Investing in a bigger machine might feel proactive, but the reality is the machine may be underuti- lized for the price paid, making it a financial loss. Hicks echoes this line of thought, adding, “Everyone’s needs are different, and it’s our responsibility as a dealer or manufacturer to vet each buyer to understand which product best suits their needs.” ENGINE TYPE The chipper market today is vastly dif- ferent from 10 years ago, and even five years ago. “The evolution of emissions requirements and electronics on en- gines looks different today than in years past,” recalls Gross. “There has been a huge influx of gasoline engines being readily accepted in the industry. In 2005 people wouldn’t want to talk to you about a gasoline engine on a chipper, and back then diesel was less expensive. Now, diesel engines require electronics and the cost of fuel has risen, pushing some people look for gasoline alternatives, so manufacturing has made improvements to meet that demand.” Morey agrees, adding, “If a Tier-4 en- gine requires warranty repairs, it must go back to the engine dealer for service. Gas engines are selling well, and they’re a little easier because if you don’t have someone handy on your team, we can certify our dealers to work on select gasoline engines.” MAINTENANCE When an owner purchases a new ma- chine, it comes with a thorough walk- through of every part and piece, safety procedures, and includes an overview of the maintenance schedule in the own- er’s manual. This starts the warranty validation process. “The maintenance
Maintenance is an important part of operating a chipper. Spend the extra 30 minutes at the beginning or end of the day to do the required maintenance to take care of your investment. Photo courtesy of Morbark.
Alternately, a small tree company can fit an F-350 with a DIY box to catch chips. However, without hydraulics, the chips must be shoveled out every time, and the chipper size must be taken into consideration. “This scenario is fine for a smaller brush chipper, but larger chip- pers weigh more, throw harder and will pack that little box so much faster,” cau- tions Hicks. When considering getting a bigger machine and have a smaller truck, account for how the chipper will be towed and what it will chip into. Addi- tionally, as chippers increase in size, the Department of Transportation may have a CDL requirement. FLEXIBILITY WITH LEASING Some manufacturers and dealers do offer rent-to-own plans, giving business own- ers the chance to assess how a chipper will work for their business for a short pe- riod of time, such as three or six months. At the end of the term, owners have the option to back out or have a portion of their rental payments applied to purchas- ing the machine.
for chippers is relatively simple, but extremely important. Keep bearings greased, keep an eye on the engine, make sure the clutch gets adjusted, en- sure fluid levels are good and electron- ics are set properly,” advises Gross. “I can’t stress enough how important maintenance is. Spend the extra 30 minutes at the beginning or end of the day to do the required maintenance to take care of your investment,” urges Labriola. “Don’t be afraid to call and ask your sales rep service questions. Please use us as a support network.” TOWING There are things to consider when towing a machine. For example, some clients allow their tree care company to blow chips into the woods, or have a space set aside for chips so they can mulch or compost. In those cas- es, a having a chip truck with a box isn’t necessary. However, this may not always be the case. “Chip trucks are more common in cities because there’s no room to put chips aer a takedown,” says Gross.
Leasing offers a lower monthly pay-
ArborTIMES Winter 2023 | 11
“New and used chippers can be financed, although rates and terms can differ greatly between the two and will depend on the financing partner selected.”
ment; however it is limited to a certain number of hours per year. “Three- and five-year leases are becoming more popular, especially now when prices are inflated,” says Labriola. “Leasing makes the buyout worth what you paid up front during the leasing period.” “The lease structure can be very similar to a consumer-vehicle leasing, including lower payments compared to financing payments along with a residual value due at the end of lease term,” says Craig Colling, senior vice president of sales for Ascentium Capital. “Like vehicle leasing, at the end of lease term, the customer has the option to purchase the equipment, re- turn the equipment to the lender, or con- tinue leasing for typically 12 months.”
the borrower’s business credit, time in business, and may potentially review the personal credit of the own- ers and officers. A company’s annu- al revenue and cash flow, reviewed through their financial statements and/or bank statements, may be re- quested depending on the amount be- ing financed and the credit quality of the borrower,” advises Colling. “For transactions under $150,000, many lenders do not trouble the borrower
financing company will also complete a lien search on the seller. It’s not the end of the transaction if there is a lien; there’s just some extra paperwork to secure the loan. This protects both us and our customer from the possibili- ty of the machine being repossessed by the seller’s original bank.” By and large, it can be difficult to assess the health of a used machine, leaving buy- ers to trust that the seller has complet- ed the maintenance per the schedule.
All the finance experts con- sulted recommend working with your lender to under- stand all the financing and lease options available to you. “End-of-lease options can vary greatly from an open-ended residual, which could equate to paying 30- 50% of the original equip- ment value, to paying as lit- tle as $1.00 to purchase the asset at the end of the lease term,” suggests Colling. Leasing affords a tree care company all the benefits of using a new
Some finance companies may even require a site inspection as opposed to remote valuation. Whether new or used, a chipper is a big invest- ment and is poised to help grow a business. Doing research will go a long way in ensuring the right purchase decision. “When a company is looking to buy a chipper, there are several avenues to get information on the machines,” says Morey. “If you haven’t run a
for financial statements and focus on business and personal credit factors alone.” Many finance companies are doing more private-party sales than in past years, although it’s worth noting that they might not flow as nicely as a deal- er sale for new or used equipment. “We do a valuation of the equipment which includes photos and a one- page condition report filled out by the seller. Our asset team will then go to the market to validate fairness of the asking price,” says Schuman. “A good When a company is looking to buy a chipper, there are several avenues to get information on the machines. Request a demo so you can see what it’s capable of doing. It will eliminate surprises. Photo courtesy of Bandit.
machine, including a warranty, with the possibility to give it back at the end of the leasing term to get into another new machine or walk away entirely. Alternatively, owners can buy the machine they’ve leased, and a benefit of that is knowing how the machine was cared for during the lease period.
chipper, request a demo so you can see what it’s capable of doing. It will elimi- nate surprises.” Colling advises, “Just like when you shop equipment suppliers to acquire a chipper, you should take the same approach with your financing source. Even if the equipment dealer refers you to a specific lending partner, you should still get one or two additional equipment finance bids to understand loan and lease term length, down pay- ment requirement, cost of capital, end of lease buy-out options and pre-pay- ment penalty policy. Comparing three lenders will ensure you’re getting the best chipper for the best price, with the right financing solution to meet your business needs.”
FINANCING A PURCHASE
New and used chippers can be financed, although rates and terms can differ great- ly between the two and will depend on the financing partner selected. Preparing to have some key paperwork handy will help the process go smoother.
For new purchases, “Lenders review
12 | ArborTIMES Winter 2023
‘23 ArborEXPO.org March 30-31
Tree care com should consid ramifications on storm work proper insuran by Julep67 @
14 | ArborTIMES Winter 2023
“In the aftermath of many storms, tree care services are often some of the first to respond and aid those in need.”
Considering Storm Work? Preparation Is Key.
In the aermath of many storms, tree care services are oen some of the first to respond and aid those in need. However, experts in the indus- try caution those looking to expand their companies’ services to include storm work. There is much to con- sider before heading out to clear those fallen trees. Weather can be unpredictable, and the U.S. experiences a wide variety of storms depending on location and time of year. According to the Nation- al Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin- istration (NOAA), forecasts for this winter indicate drier-than-average conditions across the South with wet- ter-than-average conditions for areas of the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, North- ern Rockies and Pacific Northwest. But weather predictions are inher- ently imperfect, and tree service companies need to be ready to an- swer all types of calls, whether it’s for tornado, hurricane, snow or even ice-storm-related tree damage. Tree experts suggest making sure the en- tire company is well prepared before
Tree service companies need to be ready to answer all types of calls, whether it’s for tornado, hurricane, snow or even ice-storm-related tree damage. Photo by Sarah Camp @ Flickr.com.
fueling up the trucks to avoid poten- tial risks for employees and clients. Before jumping into storm work, it is important to make sure the company is properly insured, suggests Brian Fain of Ferguson & McGuire, an insurance agency headquartered in Wallingford, CT. Fain, a commercial
insurance advisor to tree industry clients, suggests that companies obtain the proper insurance policy (an umbrella policy) that includes all the essential coverages. In addi- tion to general liability, professional liability and commercial property insurance, tree service companies should also consider policies that
mpanies der the legal of taking k without nce. Photo Flickr.com.
“Before jumping into storm work, it is important to make sure the company is properly insured.”
ArborTIMES Winter 2023 | 15
“You have to maintain your equipment. Keep it in tip-top shape. Come storm time is not the time to get it serviced.” include auto, inland marine and work- ers’ compensation insurance. “Accidents happen all the time,” says Fain, pointing out examples of storm work-related risks, including damage to property during clean-up, injury to employees, injury to clients, commer- cial vehicle accidents and accidents resulting from electrical hazards. Tree companies should consider the legal ramifications of taking on storm work without proper insurance. “It’s a risk on everything they (business owners) personally own and every- thing they’ve invested into starting this business,” Fain says. Each state has its own regulations when it comes to licensing and in- suring. A tree care company can get fined and ultimately shut down if found operating without the proper insurance, explains Fain. Fain noted that it is important that those getting started in the tree in- dustry consider reaching out to an agency that specializes in serving tree care companies. Working with an insurance agent who doesn’t have those specified carriers or knowledge of writing for tree businesses could put the company at risk. “It’s unique - there’s only a handful of us in the country that specialize in it,” he says. ArborTIMES also reached out to sev- eral tree service experts with many years of experience in storm work, and all agreed that preparation is key before adding storm work to any com-
pany’s list of services. Kevin Wede- meyer, owner of Arbor Valley Tree Service, which services communities in western Massachusetts, explained the importance of preparing a compa- ny long before a storm is even pre- dicted. “You have to set the company up for the year. When a storm hits, it’s too late,” he says. “You have to maintain your equip- ment,” he continues. “Keep it in tip- top shape. Come storm time is not the time to get it serviced.” Wedemeyer says while having the right equip- ment and tools is an obvious necessi- ty, nothing beats having enough per- sonnel. “Have the staff ready to go. If you can’t service your customers, you lose business,” he urges. With more than 20 years in the indus- try, Wedemeyer has experience dealing with both small crews (fewer than ten employees) and larger organizations that have employed up to 90 workers at a time. Having enough manpower is essential, especially for larger jobs. During busy storm seasons, “You’ll get more calls than you can handle,” Wede- meyer says, adding, “It’s not necessar- ily equipment shortage to be worried about.” Wedemeyer explains how addi- tional staff members can help manually remove debris off structures and path- ways when equipment is unavailable. If the company can afford it, Wedemeyer suggests running your service a little heavy with people or networking with other companies to have enough re- sources to manage storm work.
Tree companies can get overwhelmed answering storm calls and may require specialized equipment for the job. It may be helpful to call in resources from outside the area. Photo by elycefeliz @ Flickr.com.
16 | ArborTIMES Winter 2023
Companies interested in storm work should establish a network before showing up to the epicenter of the storm.
Having the right equipment and tools is an obvious necessity but nothing beats having enough personnel. Photo by Kipp Teague @ Flickr.com.
Dan Mayer, president of Mayer Tree Service, a Northeast tree company that services parts of eastern Mas- sachusetts and New Hampshire, also suggested those interested in storm work, establish a network before show- ing up to the epicenter of the storm. “Establish relationships with the com- munity, even the parts store,” Mayer says, explaining how equipment can break down at an inopportune time and knowing someone who can help with repairs will be beneficial. “Have relationships with those out- side your area,” he continues, adding, “So many times, tree companies get overwhelmed answering storm calls, and we will bring in other companies outside the area.” While some tree service individuals may get into “storm chasing” with a competitive mindset, simply to make a quick profit off storm work, it doesn’t
always pan out, Mayer cautions. “Get- ting out there and taking care of the customer is key,” he says, noting that companies in the same network will oen work together, much like fire and police departments offering each other mutual aid. “There are always work and opportunities for every- body,” Mayer says. If traveling outside of one’s typical service area, Mayer suggests having a broader network of companies who can triage and communicate with one another increases a company’s chanc- es of actually having a job to do upon arrival. “Don’t be the company that sits there waiting for work. Have that relationship. Connect with people first,” says Mayer. Mike Zimmerman, owner of Zim- merman Tree Service, also stays prepared year-round and prefers to stay local. Located in Lake Worth, FL,
ArborTIMES Winter 2023 | 17
Zimmerman’s company has more than four decades of experience preparing for the aermath of hurricanes and tropical storms. Rather than traveling to seek out storm work, Zimmerman’s crew stays busy close to home. In preparation for a storm, the company first makes sure its own facility and equipment are pro- tected from damaging winds. “We have a warehouse with overhead doors,” says Zimmerman, adding, “We try to secure our facility the best we can. We bring in all our equipment to the shop and make sure everyone has all their tools on their trucks.” “We do not travel long distances to go to storms,” Zimmerman continues. “We stay local because we think it’s more important to take care of our existing clientele.” Aer a big storm, Zimmer- man’s arborists will drive around the community to survey and help dispatch. Existing commercial and residential clients are their first priority. If estab- lishing a new client, Zimmerman sug- gests that those entering storm work complete an interview with clients before rushing to the scene, so as not to waste time or fuel. He also suggests draing a written agreement with all clients before work is performed. Those offering storm work services should be transparent about daily rates and costs and include a list of equipment intend- ed to be used. Additionally, storm work is hazard- ous work, and Zimmerman suggests having more safety precautions than normal. While it is essential to pay attention to dangerous wires, trees under compression and other hazard- ous obstacles, Zimmerman says those entering storm work should also be cautious of personnel fatigue. “There are only so many hours in the day that a body can endure this kind of work,” he says, adding that storm workers should be eating and hydrating prop- erly throughout the day. According to Mayer, who has had his share of long-distance storm clean up events, “It starts with preparedness.” That includes a check list of items to consider, including additional fuel and
It is essential to pay attention to dangerous wires, trees under compression and other hazardous obstacles. Photo by Kipp Teague @ Flickr.com.
backup fuel tanks, storage for equip- ment, backup supplies, personal pro- tective equipment (PPE), food and a housing plan. In certain scenarios, lodging may be out of the question, Mayer cautions, pointing out that during major storms, residents will evacuate and fill up ho- tels, along with deployed members of FEMA. In some instances, crews may find themselves sleeping inside trucks.
back home. Tree care companies need to consider how much cost goes into the overall trip for the entire group, which could turn into, “an expensive adventure,” says Mayer. Lastly, those considering taking on storm work should have patience. “Never do storm work during a storm. That’s very hazardous,” insists Wedemeyer, who notes that obstacles like icy roads, wires and trees under tension could be a recipe for disaster. “An accident could happen,” Wedemeyer says, and suggests always waiting it out until aer the storm.
Then, the calls will come in.
Katie Dastoli is a freelance writer with more than seven years of experi- ence writing for the media on various topics. She currently resides in western Massachusetts.
Also to consider, adds Mayer, is loss of cell service. Some cleanup projects can last weeks. Issues can arise, and employees may need to leave to travel Those entering storm work should also be cau- tious of personnel fatigue. Workers should be eating and hydrating properly throughout the day. Photo by Tony Webster @ Flickr.com.
“Never do storm work during a storm ... obstacles like icy roads, wires and trees
under tension could be a recipe for disaster.”
18 | ArborTIMES Winter 2023
‘23 ArborEXPO.org March 30-31
ArborTIMES Winter 2023 | 19
SPEAK EASY COMMUNICATIONS ACTIO PRO-C Powered with VERTIX™ technology, Actio PRO-C by Speak Easy Communi- cations is the newest version of wire- less noise-cancelling radios built for those who are on the job site day in and day out. Actio PRO-C effectively cuts background noise to create safer, more effective workplaces. This head- set is packed with features, including increased range, extended battery life, hands-free operation, all-weather us- age and more. Each radio includes an elastic helmet mount, single-speaker or dual-speaker headset with waterproof microphone, t-cable and USB charging and data cable (helmet and earmuffs not included). speakeasycommunication.solutions
KONG ITALY TRIMMER+ WORK-POSITIONING LANYARD Kong Italy’s new work-positioning lanyard, the Trimmer+, enables quick and accurate adjustment of length of positioning at the work station with smooth adjustment, even under load. This device is used on the work posi- tioning D-rings on the harness waist- belt and length can be adjusted with an ergonomic lever. It can be used from the ventral or lateral attachment points to adjust distance from the anchoring point, and is fitted with a sheath to protect the rope from contact points. This device is tested in accordance with EN358:18 for use up to 150Kg. It is available in five lengths: 1.3, 2, 3, 4 and 5m. kong.it
DINOLIFT OY DINO RXTE LIGHT- WEIGHT 4X4 BOOM LIFTS Dinoli Oy’s DINO RXTE is an exten- sion of the DINO RXT Series of light- weight 4x4 boom lis with the ad- vantage of silent operation, zero local emissions and low cost of operation. The DINO RXTE supports the Europe- an green deal target in reducing carbon dioxide emission. Similar to the current diesel variant, the DINO RXTE Series includes two different working height models of 22 and 28m, equipped with either an AGM or Li-Ion battery pack, and experiences no loss on drive or boom operation speeds over the diesel version. The electric motor has a con- tinuous power rating of 15kW while the peak power is 20kW. Being an all-electric model, it is possible to take the li to emission-restricted zones in cities as well as indoors. dinolift.com
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20 | ArborTIMES Winter 2023
BUCKINGHAM MANUFACTURING SUPERSAVER TM FRICTION SAVER AND ANCHOR SYSTEM The SuperSaver™ (64-6) is a pat- ent-pending, double-hole friction saver and canopy-anchor system developed in conjunction with Jamie Chambrelli and the team at ArborMaster® Out- fitters. This product provides all the standard adjustable friction-saver func- tions and includes the use of both an SRT (Single-Line/Non-Moving Rope System) and a DRT (Double Rope/Mov- ing Rope System) on the same anchor at the same time. The SuperSaver can be used as a multi-leg system for spi- der legging, numerous SRS anchoring methods, choking spar set up, a dedi- cated rescue line when using multi- rope setup and more. The 64-6 offers a double-hole friction-ring hardware with FL Prusik end included. It is for person- al use only—not for towing, hoisting or rigging—and meets ASTM standards. buckinghammfg.com
GUARDAIR CORPORATION AIRSPADE 5000 ARBOR & 5000 UTILITY SERIES
AirSpade Division of Guardair, a manu- facturer of air-powered excavation tools and accessories for arborists and utili- ties, announced its latest product line additions, the Airspade 5000 Arbor Se- ries. Featuring an in-line style handle, the AirSpade 5000 Arbor Series are de- signed with ergonomic handles for air ex- cavation applications where gripping the tool in the vertical position is preferred. Harnessing the power of compressed air, the AirSpade 5000 Arbor Series incorpo- rates the high-performance, proprietary AirSpade Supersonic Nozzle, capable of generating a laser-like air jet moving at twice the speed of sound for faster, more effective digging. AirSpade 5000 Arbor Series tools are engineered for arbor and landscape applications, featuring interchangeable, lightweight fiberglass barrels with an adjustable dirt shield to deflect soil and debris. airspade.com
GROUNDWORK VIRTUAL SALES SYSTEM
Groundwork debuted a video-based sales-system soware for tree care companies that has been heavily uti- lized in the hardscape/landscape in- dustry. Groundwork makes it easy for tree care companies to vet clients, getting project video walk-throughs from property owners to see the prop- erty and surrounding area ahead of an in-person appointment. Unlike gather- ing still photos, Groundwork’s use of video gives contractors a clearer pic- ture of site conditions, access and po- tential equipment requirements. The system is simple and convenient for the property owner and is compatible with any mobile device with a camera. While a consultation may still be nec- essary, Groundwork allows contractors to quickly collect critical information in a way that matches other buying mo- tions their clients experience in their everyday lives. hellogroundwork.com
ArborTIMES does not endorse or sponsor any product, service or activity. Reference to commercial products, services or brand names does not constitute an endorsement by ArborTIMES . ArborTIMES shall not be held liable for any claims or damages arising from the purchase of these products.
ArborTIMES Winter 2023 | 21
“A comprehensive safety audit program can be invaluable for any tree care organization, even when it might appear that your crew is adhering to safety practices.”
Using Safety Audits to Re and Improve Crew Safety By Bob Urban
you ensure safety best practices are al- ways being followed? A comprehensive series of safety audits and feedback reporting or on-site, real-time training conducted by a third-party partner might be the answer. A comprehensive safety audit program can be invaluable for any tree care or- ganization, even when it might appear that your crew is adhering to safety practices. These audits will provide a detailed, objective assessment of a crew or contractor’s safety practices. Safety audits of your crew should be per- formed at random and be unanticipated to get a real sense of how your crew is performing. Every organization should consider implementing the following nine audit areas as they are critical for overall crew safety and business success. 1. Pre-job briefing. Each project should begin with a pre-job brief- ing that coordinates the activities of each member of the crew. Auditors ensure the entire crew is involved in a job briefing before starting the job. They also ensure the job briefing has information about job hazards, including work procedures, special precautions and appropriate person- al protective equipment (PPE).
When it comes to safely performing tree work of any kind, best practices are es- sential. Keeping people safe on the job is a top priority — whether you’re a utility or a company that provides services to utilities. The daily and long-term ben- efits of using a safety-monitoring pro- gram will not only improve the lives of the worker, but also the stress and cost for management and ownership of orga- nizations. From improving worker ca- reer longevity to stabilizing or reducing worker compensation insurance premi- ums, safety programs pay. Too oen, taking a closer look at how a given crew works and operates accord- ing to safety best practices and proce- dures is prompted by an accidental in- jury or even death. Beyond the human cost, the tree crew and the organization that has contracted them for work are both suddenly under significant pres- sure. Accidents may result in Occupa- tional Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalties, higher insurance rates, workers’ compensation claims and potential loss of long-term contracts when the clients have safety as a perfor- mance metric. Adherence to safety best practices is a critical part of any type of work and doing everything possible to ensure that crews are upholding their commit- ment to safety is paramount. So how do
Safe chainsaw operation requires constant, continual attention to all safety measures, but it’s not uncommon for even veterans to become complacent and develop poor habits. All photos courtesy of the author unless otherwise noted.
22 | ArborTIMES Winter 2023
basket. They’ll also check to see that li platforms are positioned at a safe distance from electrical lines and that the correct brakes or wheel chocks are being used when the li is parked and positioned. More focused audits can include a pre-job inspection that consists of flying the boom to ensure the equipment is free of mechanical issues, reviewing maintenance re- cords and inspecting equipment for general wear and tear. 3. Traffic control. Tree work will oen bring crews near roadways, so it’s important to make sure that crews are working safely in and around traffic flows. For this safety audit, an auditor will look to see that crews are taking the proper precau- tions, using traffic cones as neces- sary, following local Department of Transportation specifications and ensuring that traffic has not been obstructed in an unsafe way. 4. Tree felling. There are a lot of activities involved in auditing tree felling. This audit will primarily focus on workers performing tree “Adherence to safety best practices is a critical part of any type of work...”
2. Aerial li operation. Aerial li trucks are an essential tool for the work your crews perform, and the safe operation of this kind of heavy machinery is critical. According to OSHA, major injuries and fatalities associated with aerial lis include falls and electrocutions. Your au- dit team will check to ensure tree crews are wearing and utilizing the right body harnesses, including an attached lanyard to the boom or
Your audit team will check to ensure tree crews are wearing and utilizing the right body harnesses, including an attached lanyard to the boom or basket. Photo by Richard May.
Safety audits of your crew should be performed at random and be unanticipated to get a real sense of how your crew is performing.
ArborTIMES Winter 2023 | 23
also important to ensure equipment is being used for the purpose it was designed for and kept in manufac- turers’ rated tolerances. 7. Chainsaw safety. Safe chainsaw operation requires constant, contin- ual attention to all safety measures, but it’s not uncommon for even veterans to become complacent and develop poor habits. Auditors will check for proper handling and cutting techniques, following the American National Standard for Ar- boricultural Operations – Safety Re- quirements (ANSI Z133). The size of the saw for the task being per- formed should also be noted. 8. Wood chipper operation. Wood chippers are another essential tool that have the potential to be ex- tremely hazardous. Your audit team must evaluate how tree crews han- dle and work around the equipment. Auditors will ensure that tree crews are properly maintaining the equip- ment for safe operation, in addition to the proper use and towing con- nections for the machine. Audit teams should check to ensure that all the prop- er climbing techniques are being followed and that all the necessary equipment is inspected before use, including harnesses, carabiners, ropes and personal protective equipment. Photo by Richard May.
Technology and improved techniques for performing all aspects of the job is likely under-recognized. Using the right gear for the job when approaching difficult or technical situations can reduce the potential for an accident.
felling from the ground. Audit teams will look for technical safe- ty, such as proper notching and rigging techniques, but also soer safety skills such as proper com- munication skills across the entire crew as a tree is being removed. 5. Crane operation. Cranes are a major piece of machinery that can cause significant damage or injury if deployed improperly. Oen used to remove large branches, or some- times entire trees, auditors look for multiple items when auditing safe crane-operating practices. Are crews keeping cranes clear of electrical
hazards? Are they ensuring cranes haven’t been overloaded? Are mate- rials properly secured? Is the crane operator following and performing all the right functions within the manufacturer’s tolerances? 6. Climbing safety. Tree climbing is a risky part of an arborist’s job and close adherence to safety practices is imperative. Audit teams should check to ensure that all the proper techniques are being followed and that all the necessary equipment is inspected before use, including harnesses, carabiners, ropes and personal protective equipment. It’s
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