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Tree Worker Incident Database

Fill out our simple 'Tree worker incident form' and play your part in improving the safety of our industry with our crowd-sourced data.

The Arboriculture industry statistically is one of the most dangerous professions in the world. It is imperative that the health and safety within our industry keeps evolving. It is our responsibility as Arborists to implement the safe work practices on our job sites, to wear all relevant PPE, to train apprentices and new hires in the correct way without allowing bad habits and potentially dangerous techniques.

We need to analyze our own incidents, learn from them, and figure out where mistakes were made and how the incident can be avoided/prevented in the future. We have to share these stories and experiences with our colleagues, and if possible to an even broader audience through social media and industry events.

Our goal is to create the most comprehensive 'Tree Worker incident database' that includes close calls and injuries. This database outlines the type of injury, the cause, a detailed description of the incident, factors leading to the incident and what could have been changed to avoid the injury (in the opinion of the contributor).

Date of incident10/12/2017
IncidentHandsaw cut to left hand, partially severed tendon
Location of incidentPort Coquitlam, British Columbia
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Age of impacted party34
OutcomeSerious injury
Type of incident
  • Cut body part
Type of equipment involved
  • Handsaw
Type of injury
  • Cut/Laceration
Bodily injury to
  • Upper limb
Action taken
  • First aid administered (not by medical professional)
  • Offsite Medical Professional assistance
Involvement of contributorWorker performing task
  • Raining
Causes of the incident
  • Regulatory or industry best practice non-compliance
Description of incident

I was pruning a medium sized Catalpa tree, I was 95% complete and pruning out the last few epicormic shoots on a low limb. I was using my Silky saw to prune out some thin shoots. I hand my left hand over to the left of me, and was pruning a small shoot over to the right with my right hand. I had the silky saw held horizontal, as I attempted to prune off a shoot the saw got stuck so I pulled with more force, the saw cut through the shoot and followed through with a lot of force and momentum and struck my left hand which was approximately 2 feet away.
I was wearing gloves at the time, as soon as I hit my hand I new I had broken through the skin. I defended from the tree, removed my glove to see the skin had peeled back and I could see my knuckle.
Later that day I went to a walk in clinic, the doctor referred me onto the emergency at the local hospital as he saw that I have severed a tendon. At the hospital they confirmed thatI had partially severed the tendon to my left index finger and would need surgery to stitch it back together. I had the surgery and it took a long and frustrating 12 weeks to rehab and recover.

Contributing factors

Having a limb/hand in line with the blade of the silky saw even though it was 2 feet away.

Incident review and preventative measures

Make sure my work positioning is good at all times, and keep limb out of the 'line of fire' when using a saw, no matter how far away.

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