Single incident

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 incident04/06/2019
IncidentEquipment failure
Location of incidentGreenville, SC
United States
Map It
Age of impacted party57
OutcomeClose call
Type of incident
  • Equipment failure
Type of equipment involved
  • Mechanical hitch device
Type of injury
  • Close call
Bodily injury to
  • Close call
Action taken
  • No action taken
Involvement of contributorWorker performing task
  • Sunny/mostly sunny
Causes of the incident
  • Incorrect equipment setup
Description of incident

I was using a screw gate carabineer for my belay loop and main attachement to my SRT system. The screw gate had a rope wrench, hitch climber pulley, and prusik. As I climbed to about 50', I relaxed and suddenly the screw gate opened and the rope came out of it! While I had an ankle and knee ascender still on, I would have gone inverted (very dangerous) if not for my firm grasp on the rope. I grabbed a large branch close by to take my weight off the rope so I can clip back into the rope.

Contributing factors

The screw gate came off due to me forgetting to tighten it. But then it happened again and I was sure I checked the screw gate...shocking. I will never use a screw gate again for a tie in to a life line.

Incident review and preventative measures

I now will only use a double locking one since it is impossible to forget to secure it! I would love to know if anyone else uses screw gates. My particular one only screws about 3-4 turns and it does not seem to secure really well. I believe the back and forth action of the prusik knot and as a climbed and then rested, might have unscrewed the gate enough for it to let the rope fall out.

Form completed by (optional)David Dara