The Keep The Clearance peer safety committee has received two requests from tree companies to go on a peer program speaking tour in support of tree worker safety awareness. Davey Tree asked that KTC visit all of their work yards in 2015-16 to promote worker-to-worker safety and expand the safety steward base in those respective yards. Davey Tree is very supportive of the peer concept and has utilized consultations and efforts such as Close Call and the Tree Supervision Roundtable to give tree trimmers a voice on worker safety.
Trees Inc. Regional Manager Tony Carlos recently approached the KTC group and requested that they participate in quarterly meetings with his work groups on the subject of tree worker safety. Mr. Carlos wants the union to partner in open forum meetings in which supervision would not be present to promote a greater flow of opinion among workers. It has been the experience of peer committee participants that having supervision present at the initial stages is a positive move as it removes speculation on the peer message and makes it clear the purpose and goals of the peer program to all in one room at one time. At a later time the forum can move to a more closed-door session and members who have issues always have the option to meet with business representatives or peer members outside of the meeting structure.
On October 13, Keep the Clearance was granted funding for two tree safety training classes in 2016. The first class, Aerial Lift Workshop, will take place between the months of February and July and will be taught by an instructor with between 30-40 participants. The one day free class is being funded by the Arborists Safety Training Institute (ASTI) and will involve classroom training on safety practices in aerial lifts and a hands on training with aerial lift equipment. The second class is the Electrical Hazard Awareness Program (EHAP) provided by the Susan Harwood grant, a training valued at $2000, is to be taught between January and June of 2016 at the Local 1245 union hall. This class is for 30 participants, will be advertised in tree trade magazines and the Utility Report and Local 1245 website once the Keep the Clearance committee chooses the date. The Keep the Clearance peer committee applied for the grant in July 2015.
–Rich Lane, IBEW 1245 Safety Rep