Story in Brief
As common as storm damage is, there are very few resources available to trainers to help tree care workers confront this situation. The Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture received a Training and Educational Materials Development Grant from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Training materials were developed by the UGA team with the help of professional safety trainers from North American Training Solutions (the premier arborist safety training company in the United States) and reviewed by OSHA. The training was split into two components. One PowerPoint, Chainsaw Safety and Tree Cleanup, is suitable for all saw users, regardless of their level of experience. This PowerPoint presentation and accompanying script cover the information every chainsaw operator needs to know before turning on the saw. Topics include personal protective equipment (PPE), the five essential safety features of a chainsaw, safe carry, safe start, insect pests, site inspection, and electrical/electrocution hazards. The second PowerPoint, Storm Damaged Tree Cleanup, outlines the Five Step Cutting Plan for storm damaged trees. This plan highlights lean and load and their implications, tension and compression wood, distance release techniques, techniques for handling attached pedestals and root plates, the bore cut, mismatch cut, controlled knee hinge, and the importance of a safe escape route. Some of the methods and techniques are quite advanced and not suitable for all workers. These two presentations will allow instructors to prepare trainings tailored to the learners. A video, posted on YouTube, entitled Chainsaw Safety and Storm Damaged Tree Cleanup, was also created to support the training. The video covers PPE, chainsaw inspection, and the iterative five step cutting plan for storm damaged tree cleanup. The safety videos have garnered 785,000 views since posted. The web page has been visited and PowerPoints downloaded numerous times. They tested the training materials on 74 workers in 337 contact hours. Knowledge evaluations clearly demonstrated that trainees increased their knowledge.