Asplundh doing line clearance pruning with spikes

Sciuropterus

New Member
Asplundh is in my neighborhood (Richfield, MN) doing line clearance pruning for Xcel energy, right out my window, across the street, I see two of their climbers wearing spikes while climbing healthy trees. I even took pics. Is this their company policy?
 

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BostonBull

New Member
HAHAHAHA!!!!! Classic hack work. Was this near high tension lines? Was there a high access, with NO possibility of making a shot without contacting a phase with the throwline?
Just trying to justify the use of spikes.....?
 

Sciuropterus

New Member
Re: Asplundh doing line clearance pruning with spi

HI, it is in my neighbor's back yard, there is a single (17KV, I think) primary line near the tree, but my grandma could set a line in that particular tree without coming anywhere near the line.
 

BostonBull

New Member
Re: Asplundh doing line clearance pruning with spi

go out and ask them why the use of spikes is necessary? see what excuse they use?
 

Sciuropterus

New Member
Re: Asplundh doing line clearance pruning with spi

They will be hitting my side of the street tomorrow or the next day, and they will need me to unlock my fence to access my back yard, I have a pine tree with some branches close to the secondary power lines, I will have a chat with them.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
Re: Asplundh doing line clearance pruning with spi

Waiting until they work on your trees is one option and a last resort.

Rather than waiting, why not contact Asplundh ASAP. Walk over and talk with the foreman or GF.
 

Sciuropterus

New Member
Re: Asplundh doing line clearance pruning with spi

Honestly, I would prefer to be on my own property if it becomes confrontational/unpleasant (which I hope it wouldn't). If I see the white supervisor pickup truck in the area I will talk with the super.
 

Sciuropterus

New Member
Re: Asplundh doing line clearance pruning with spi

Here is the tree they were working on, it is in the back yard of the house BEHIND the blue house, the power line is between the blue house and the tree, the perspective is shortened because of the zoom lens.
 

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Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
Re: Asplundh doing line clearance pruning with spi

From the 2004 ISA BMP brochure:

Utility pruning of trees

page 4

Climbing spurs should be used only when there is no other safe and practical method for climbing the tree. Exceptions may also be made if the bark is thick enough to prevent damage to underlying tissues, or if the tree is in a remote or rural area. Whenever, possible, climbers should be discouraged from using spurs.
 

BostonBull

New Member
Re: Asplundh doing line clearance pruning with spi

[ QUOTE ]
Here is the tree they were working on, it is in the back yard of the house BEHIND the blue house, the power line is between the blue house and the tree, the perspective is shortened because of the zoom lens.

[/ QUOTE ]

Seems like loads of TIP's to me. Especially down low so you can easily progess your TIP as you move.



I would call the utility and tell them about the situation. Also tell them that NOONE is accessing your trees unless they are climbed the proper way. Call Asplundh and tell them the same as well. This is not only bad on the crews part, but also the GF for allowing such practices to exist.

Noone is going to change, if they are never told to.
 

jomoco

Active Member
Re: Asplundh doing line clearance pruning with spi

You guys should have pity on these poor climbers just trying to make a buck without slipping and killing themselves!

Maybe their boss thinks they are safer and happier spiking everything they climb?

Though from a "grounded" point of view, they are far more likely to die wearing them if/when they make a mistake.

From what I understand it's pretty much common practice for all utility clearance contractors. It's certainly true here in CA.

jomoco
 

Sciuropterus

New Member
Re: Asplundh doing line clearance pruning with spi

OK, I took my 3-year old daughter for a walk around the block, and we stopped at the orange truck, where a young man was adjusting some chainsaws (the rest of the crew was doing yard cleanup in the back). I asked the guy at the truck if he was the foreman, and he said he was not but would I like to speak with him, I declined and said I was surprised to see the climbers wearing spikes on a healthy tree. He said that the climbers sometimes wear them "so their feet don't slip if they go way out on a branch". At that point I nodded politely and left the scene. The young man I was speaking to was extremely polite. I really did not want to take it much further with my kid there.
 

BostonBull

New Member
Re: Asplundh doing line clearance pruning with spi

I find limbwalking loads harder with spikes on.....especially small diameter limbs like he was on.
 

sohner

Member
Asplundh is not the only big line clearance company that seems to condone the use of climbing spikes to perform their services. The last time that the Davey crew came through our area I spoke with the foreman on the crew and asked them to not use spikes on the Coast Live oak. While I was talking with him his crew spiked up the tree needlessly. The tree is dead now what a shame. I have had to go up and cut it down myself. I now do all of my own trees that are under,over and beside the lines. What a hassle that is to do ever few years. I will not let them come on to the property except to inspect my work. The inspector came out after I cleared them the last time and told me personally that it was the best job that they had ever seen performed on any tree. I then told them that I had over twenty years of exprience working in and around overhead electrical lines and that I was also a certified Arborist. It is a crime that these individuals live in the world of double standard. Where is the law/code enforcement? I respect the difficulty in working in and around power lines but what I witness is laziness,ignorance and unskilled field workers. The trees are treated like cattle and it is unfortunate that we the people have little if no right to complain. The only way to make a change is if enough folks get involved and band together and go right to the top. People in the community need to be informed of the malpractice and make the companies responsible for their poor actions.
I have had many clients have me do their line clearance work and pay me directly because they have been educated to the facts and are upset with the companies that do the work.
I'm a certified line clearance tree trimmer and will always be one because of the inability of the other companies to train their workers better. The problem with training the workers to much is that they will leave the company. That is why the turn over ratio is close to 90 percent in most of the big companies doing line clearance across the nation. Only give the workers enough information to get the job done and nothing more. It helps keep the cost of their operation down so they can get the contract the next time around. A High turn over rate keeps the cost down but it also comes with a high price when it comes to the safety factor and the production issue.
Out here on the West coast we have our own set of challenges as I'm sure everybody does across the nation. I respect the folks out their everyday doing the work but I would also encourage all workers to take the matter in to their own hands and get better training off the job. The world of line clerance has its compronises but we should never compromise our integrity since that is all we have in life. Besides climbing with spikes on around power lines is a very dangerous situation to begin with. Not to mention that they are sharp and very injurious to the body when they poke you in the leg.
 

tophopper

Active Member
I used to have a good friend that worked for Asplund here in the Twin Cities. He told me that it is (or was) company policy to wear gaffs at all times while climbing.
 

Phil

Active Member
I work in line clearence and we had two crews out to pull overhang on a tree that the jaraff machine (75' reach) couldn't get. I was going to climb it and the other crew said to just put the gaffs on and spike up. I told them spikes were for people who don't know how to climb and are lazy and inept (with a joking tone of course so as to keep from getting a black eye). Then i SRT'd up the tree and the were like...how the hell did he just do that. That was their education. It was fun.
 

Sciuropterus

New Member
Re: Asplundh doing line clearance pruning with spi

So, this morning I look out my window and see the Asplundh folks setting up in my back yard, (guess I left my gate unlocked), so I went to speak with them. The climber (same young man I spoke with yesterday) explained how he was going to prune my pine tree, I said no spikes on my tress, he said there was no need for spikes on this particular tree. We came to an understanding about clearance distance and the amount to be removed, but who knows what the final result will be.

The foreman came over and I asked him about using spikes, was he familiar with the ISA, etc, etc.

He basically said "yes, I know we really are not supposed to use them, but nobody said we couldn't, and I prefer them when I am out on limb with a power line beneath me." He was very polite and courteous the whole time. We chatted about saddles and friction hitches for a bit and I went back inside. I should probably go back outside and see how things are going with my poor pine tree.
 

Sciuropterus

New Member
Re: Asplundh doing line clearance pruning with spi

All done, the young man who worked on my tree did a great job, and I told the foreman so. The guy who pruned my tree said he had been climbing for about a year and he really enjoyed the work.
 

oldschool

New Member
Re: Asplundh doing line clearance pruning with spi

I do utility line clearence. Ive done it in about 8 states and its common practice to use hooks.
No doubt hooks definately tear up the tree. Especially the smooth skinned younger ones. Even the best gaffers can help but tear the cambium on occassion. The final decider comes down to money. Hooks arefaster and they allow workers with less developed climbing skill to climb as many trees with the hooks on as a great climber is able to do without then.
Most of the line guys youll talk to have probably never even thought of climbing without gaffs. Its just never done.

In the last couple years ive been changing my narrow minded habits. I refuse to use spikes or let my guys use their hooks on yard trees. as for off road,boonedockville......its buisness as usual. as far as management is concerned, we're to slow already. LOL!

If you don't like the spikes being used, raise hell with you utility. After all they are the reason those men are in there hooking the trees. They'll probably laugh inside or suggest you let them bring a piece of equpment in to to the work{compact your soil and leave roots}

Go easy on the guys cause they really are ignorant to the way it should be and as long as the utilities are employing contractors who refuse to pay good price for qualified and educated men you the consumer will be subject to what you see now.
 

one_bad_ash

New Member
Re: Asplundh doing line clearance pruning with spi

Gotta tell ya. I think that just adding spurs to a lesser skilled climber will not make that person as productive as a well expierienced all round climber. Hooks are simply one part of a large curriculum that must be learned. They may shorten the access learning curve, but thats about it. In fact i think we have allowed a unskilled person access to someplace he has no business being. Each company large or small has to decide how they are going to bring guys along and unfortunatly production and cash usualy rule the day. A good percentage of people usualy gravitate away from the gaff access after they have mastered or become more productive with other methods. Not easy though, that takes time. Most race for the bucket long before they reach that peak. Lots of people truly dont know any better for sure. They deserve respect for getting up there and "gittin er done". More good bosses needed. CLIMB ON! Great thread.
 
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