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Safety Protocols: Best Practices for Operating Tree Equipment

By Leppo Rents
March 20, 2024

Table of Contents

  1. Assess Your Equipment Fleet
  2. Wear PPE
  3. Comprehensive Training
  4. Equipment Maintenance
  5. Cultivate a Responsive Mindset
  6. Streamline On-Site Communications


In the high-stakes world of forestry, safety should not only be a consideration but a necessity. Tree equipment has its own challenges, demanding a commitment to best practices in safety protocols.  

There is no room for compromise or complacency when it comes to safety. From PPE to training programs and routine maintenance, there are several things you can implement to ensure your limbs are safe on the jobsite.  

Worksite Evaluation

It is essential to conduct a thorough worksite evaluation before equipment is used to ensure safety and productivity. Identifying the type of tree work that needs to be done is the first step in evaluating a jobsite. This will help you determine which PPE and fall protection equipment are necessary. It also helps you select the proper ladders, power tools, and hand tools needed to complete the job. 

Wear PPE

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is not just a box to check off — it's your own personal defense against operational and safety operational hazards. Machinery is often unforgiving when it comes to safety, emphasizing the importance of wearing the correct gear to maintain safety and efficiency. Here are a few examples of PPE and their purpose on the jobsite: 

  1. Helmets - shield operators and staff against concussive forces
  2. Specialized eyewear - protect your eyes from sawdust, woodchips, and more
  3. Hearing protection - guards your ears from the noises of chain saws and brush chippers
  4. Appropriate clothing - wear clothing that doesn't hinder your agility but is also durable
  5. Leg protection - when operating chain saws, leg protection reduces the chance for and severity of injury
  6. Work boots - when choosing steel or composite toe boots, it's important to keep comfort and safety in mind. There are many factors to consider when choosing the right work boots
  7. Gloves - protect your hands from nicks and scrapes

Comprehensive Training

A thorough and rigorous training program is essential for the safety of operators. Consider implementing mandatory training for your employees to complete before they can operate the equipment.  

At Leppo, we offer a variety of material handling training programs for your company. From our Telehandler course to Jobsite Safety and Planning lessons, we’ve got you covered with OSHA Compliant Training 

Equipment Maintenance

Research in the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics determined that about 35 percent of workplace accidents were caused by equipment failure or malfunction. Proactive prevention of malfunctions can keep employees within your organization from being part of that statistic. Follow this checklist when conducting daily and routine maintenance on your equipment to ensure the safety of your operators: 

  1. Review pins, bushings, hoses and fittings, and identify leaks. 
  2. Check hydraulic hoses and belts for wear and tear. 
  3. Inspect electrical components, connectors, and wires for damage. 
  4. Ensure tires are properly inflated and monitor tire tread. 
  5. Inspect chains and tracks. 
  6. Inspect the windshield and wipers. 
  7. Regularly check battery fluid levels. 
  8. Test the parking and work brakes.

Cultivate a Responsive Mindset

Creating a meticulous emergency action plan is necessary to ensure your team is equipped to handle dangerous situations. Whether an employee’s fall requires immediate medical attention or equipment failure requires manual override, your emergency action plan needs to try to account for each specific situation.  

For fall-related injuries, consider implementing a buddy system for rapid response. Emergency signal devices are great tools for quick communication and action. For severe weather cases, identify clear evacuation routes and train your employees on protocols for proper sheltering. Conducting regular drills for manual shutdowns and overrides is a great implementation to ensure that your team is ready to handle equipment malfunctions and prevent injury. 

Streamline On-Site Communications

On the jobsite, it’s crucial to be ready to respond at a moment’s notice. When it comes to operator safety, quick response time and streamlined communication are necessary. Consider the use of walkie-talkies or headsets on your jobsite. These devices allow your team members to cut through the roar of engines and loud equipment and communicate with others on the site. Streamlining on-site communication allows workers to alert others to potential hazards, ensures each worker’s safety, and facilitates seamless operations.  

Stay Informed and Prepared with Leppo Rents

By implementing comprehensive training, routine maintenance, and streamlined communications, you can help cultivate a culture in which preparedness and safety are a top concern. If you empower your team with the right tools, training, and knowledge, you can proactively protect not only your team but also the future of the industry.  

At Leppo, we care about your safety, and we know the importance of your business. Our team is highly dedicated to exceeding expectations for workplace safety. Reach out to us today to transform your safety protocols from standard to exceptional.  



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