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Tree Hazards 

Electrical Hazards and Trees

Every month the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) publishes accident briefs associated to tree work in their magazine. These are brief descriptions of accidents from published reports or accidents reported directly to TCIA staff. Almost every month there is an accident associated with electrical hazards, here is one printed in the April 2018 volume:


     February 26, 2018, in San Jose, California a climber was electrocuted while trimming trees in the backyard of a home. Emergency crews were dispatched to the scene on a report that the man was dangling from the tree, about 30 feet from the ground. The man was found dead upon first responders arrival. The climber was electrocuted by contacting a high-tension power line, it was breezy in the neighborhood at the time but it had not been established whether winds played a role in the accident, according to an ABC 7 News KGO-TV report.

Accidents like this happen often so check to see if you have trees near power lines and if trees are within 10 feet of utility lines there may be an electrical hazard present. Do not go near trees within 10 feet of utility lines and contact your local power company or line-clearance arborist for more information on maintaining clearance from power lines.

Other Tree Hazards

Even trees that look healthy can be hazardous. The picture to the right shows a healthy spruce tree that was uprooted from high winds. Healthy trees do not normally uproot in high winds alone but the chances of uprooting are increased when the soil is saturated and/or there is a dense canopy producing wind resistance. Root rot and wood rotting fungi can damage tree structure and integrity and you may not be able to see visible signs of damage. Structurally weak branch attachments, such as codominant stems or branches attached at an angle greater than 90 degrees from the supporting branch, should be removed, subordinated, or in certain cases cabled to prevent limbs from breaking. Other disease and pest problems may cause significant damage to trees over a long period of time or in a matter of weeks. Benson Tree Service offers consultation and tree assessment, Call Us to set up an appointment. 

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