Mindset in a tree

#1
Rain day at work. Kids and wife doing the homeschool thing so I had a few “quiet” minutes and thought of a question I wanted to ask at the Expo safety meetings but did not get a chance to. Here it is: What mindset do you carry in a tree that keeps you safe and incident free? When you were new how did you keep from becoming task saturated? I understand situational awareness. Do you rely on muscle memory/habits to keep you safe? Any tips on how to develop those? I have a healthy respect of the cutting tools and am not scared of heights and am comfortable working at height (never done Rico heights but would love to). Thanks for any help. I appreciate it.
 

Steve Connally

Well-Known Member
#2
I maintain a global mindset until the specific task calls for me to be task oriented. Habitual practices become muscle memory. For instance. Clipping in on the flipline. Hear the click, look at the click, squeeze the click. Its a 3 step process. Takes a second each, one turn of the head and a squeeze of the hand thats already in contact with the snap. Over time forced thinking of repetitive movements becomes muscle memory and a subconscious action. There are a million little things I do every climb, every movement, every task. Be diligent and develop sound habits in the beginning and the won't be lost to missed steps. Climbing for me clears my mind and makes me so aware of every one of my movements and actions, the pressures of life just fade away. Second example. Prior to starting a saw anywhere. Compression button if applicable, set switch choke/on no choke, bump chain brake, pull to start. Every time without fail. Absolutely every time.
 
#3
I maintain a global mindset until the specific task calls for me to be task oriented. Habitual practices become muscle memory. For instance. Clipping in on the flipline. Hear the click, look at the click, squeeze the click. Its a 3 step process. Takes a second each, one turn of the head and a squeeze of the hand thats already in contact with the snap. Over time forced thinking of repetitive movements becomes muscle memory and a subconscious action. There are a million little things I do every climb, every movement, every task. Be diligent and develop sound habits in the beginning and the won't be lost to missed steps. Climbing for me clears my mind and makes me so aware of every one of my movements and actions, the pressures of life just fade away. Second example. Prior to starting a saw anywhere. Compression button if applicable, set switch choke/on no choke, bump chain brake, pull to start. Every time without fail. Absolutely every time.
Thanks Steve! I really appreciated the last two sentences. Good stuff.
 

TimBr

Well-Known Member
#4
Rain day at work. Kids and wife doing the homeschool thing so I had a few “quiet” minutes and thought of a question I wanted to ask at the Expo safety meetings but did not get a chance to. Here it is: What mindset do you carry in a tree that keeps you safe and incident free? When you were new how did you keep from becoming task saturated? I understand situational awareness. Do you rely on muscle memory/habits to keep you safe? Any tips on how to develop those? I have a healthy respect of the cutting tools and am not scared of heights and am comfortable working at height (never done Rico heights but would love to). Thanks for any help. I appreciate it.
Hey, B_Strange, welcome to the TreeBuzz forum, just in case I haven't already said that previously, somewhere else!

I'm not a pro, like most folks here, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I do not have anywhere near the saddle time of someone like @Steve Connally.

The one thing that I think is most likely to cause me a problem as far as safety is concerned are the times when I am about to make a change to my climbing system while I am already tied in. If I'm already tied in and in a secure and stable configuration, I can sit there all day and nothing bad is likely to happen. It is when I need to make a change to my systems that I'm more likely to endanger myself. So, I try to slow down and consider all of the pieces/parts of my systems, and the branches that are supporting them, and make sure that I am clear in my mind on what components are going to be supporting my weight, what is connected or not connected, and what possible reactions might occur when I make these changes.

Using two ropes and two climbing systems provides a constantly available safety backup, and provides big advantages with regard to work positioning, for me. I'm not a production climber, though, and I can see how people would feel pressure not to use such an approach when being pushed by a supervisor. I only climb for my own account, and the only pressure that exists is the pressure I choose to put on myself.

I use a similar thought process to try to predict what will happen with the branches I choose to cut before I make the cuts. Try to figure out the likely reactions that will occur before the cuts are made, and see how well what you imagined lines up with what actually happens.

That is about all that I have to add to this conversation, unless you come up with some other question I can try to help with. Thanks for being a member and posting on the TreeBuzz forum.

Tim
 

rope-a-dope

Well-Known Member
#6
One phrase that comes to my mind is: order of operations.
You mentioned something I havent heard before, which is task saturation, but i feel the truth behind it.
I worked with a guy for a while that would get to the biggest crotch in the tree under his anchor and just stop. Couldnt keep momentum. Which was maybe the opposite of task saturation, like task paralysis.
Work climbing requires mental discipline and developing self-check routines that run like automatic computer programs.
Climbers only have 2 hands and 1 brain, so for the most part, they can only do one thing at a time. So the midset is: each task gets a place in line, and every task is the most important. Dont distract yourself with other tasks that are ahead, until you are between tasks and give yourself the time to evaluate your order of operations.
 

TimBr

Well-Known Member
#8
@southsoundtree; That is a good point, and one that I failed to mention. Staying tied in on an established, safe system while testing that the new system will catch your weight, before disconnecting the established system. Something as simple as assuming that your climbing hitch will grab reliably could get a person killed, if they fail to test it first, before disconnecting from a secured, established system. Thanks, Sean, for bringing this up.

Tjm
 
#9
Thanks for the reply’s ya’ll! It helps quite a bit. I learned about task saturation from a friend who was in the SEAL teams. It is where you have so many tasks that are critical and must be executed perfectly that small things may escape your notice and adversely affect mission outcome.

It seems like being able to focus on safety depends on developing excellent work habits and NOT deviating from them. Ever. Muscle memory and correct execution are key to this. I really appreciated what you guys are emphasizing and will put your advice to work on the ground and in the air as I have the opportunity. I am climbing on every sunny day i am not working and practicing my hand saw cuts, throw line skills and ascent skills.
 

RopeShield

Well-Known Member
#10
Be smart
Know your stuff
Speak to yourself the Will to stay alive/sleep, diet and mental health etc
Work living to preserve life/trees is a better mindset,
Sharing your effort to preserve life be it the tree or the people who live within it is a good mindset. Plants/trees are not to be dominated, they are to be revered.

With out a net, requires knowledge, exceptional skill and love of trees.

everything is alive. trees have feelings and personalities everthing that supports that life is a living being, minerals are living beings, the wind is a living being, you are an important part of that life
Know trees will support you when you support them t7.JPG
Double or even triple check your tips and life connections. makes your comfortable and fun.
The greatest failure in our industry is relying on only two tips.
always two life supports and a third at the ready when one of the two needs to be disconnected.
One is none , two is one and three is won!
I would be dead if not for this because as you can see in the pic above I am willing to injury myself/go for a swing and get banged up a bit but I refuse to die.

You get paid to do a dangerous job, not to die, otherwise every other job would be worth millions. Why is this work important to you. Why do you do it? What is your end goal, end of life, your lifes work? Underlying mindset is the more important question.
There is much easier and better money to be made doing other things.

http://archive.cfru.ca/archive/2018... - November 26, 2018 at 18:00 - CFRU 93.3.mp3
 
#12
I developed a number of unsafe habits from getting pushed to just produce in a culture of cutting corners. Using a chain saw without a lanyard on, one handing frequently, etc. At the start of my career my mindset was the devil may care, fuck it, give her he'll see what happens, but I was 19 living in a car in the desert in Utah. Now I have a wife, 2 dogs, a business and a reputation to uphold. My mindset now is based on holding myself accoutable for my actions. Ive recently been avoiding one handing, I don't make chainsaw cuts without a lanyard. I hold myself to high standards in production, no longer in lieu of safety, as I have become a more skilled Arborist. If you want to be good you don't cut corners. Rig safe, cut safe, triple check everything.
 
#15
I look at a tree as a chess maze. How do I move around and complete my tasks with the fewest possible moves. The more movement, the more fatigued, the more exposure to the hazards of being aloft. I’m not saying take short cuts, doing things that are risky or showing off. Make a plan, focus on the plan and work the plan.
Muscle memory for everything else including double checks, triple checks, ongoing inspections (tree and gear) even setting the rope up for the next move is sometimes just done through the movements and understanding the plan.
I find that when something has me distracted it’s much more difficult to focus on the plan and things get fussed up sometimes. That’s when things slow way down, or I step out fix the distractions and go back to work. The wife doesn’t like it when I tell her to leave me alone I’m working. But understands at the end of the day when I come home!
 
#16
Nothing like going out to be hyperfocused on storm work when your partner wants to get into the "I'm worried about you" and "can't you 'just' [break your mental focus and think about things that have nothing to do with the task at hand] check-in throughout the day?".

How about letting me be a F'ing Saw-mauri with 100% focus, and watching my guys butts, not being a re-assuring partner who is distracted while doing something that requires full-focus, so I can come home at night.

If they are so worried when a storm hits, they can bring food, water, coffee, and dry clothes to the jobsite, helping the team stay safe, rather than just telling the guy in charge how worried they are, putting distraction into the mix.




That being said, I tell my people that 'significant others' should come out and watch us work for a full day. They get rain gear, but still have to sit in the sun when we work in the sun. Just sit and watch for a full-day. You'll understand me better. You'll understand the whole situation better. You won't complain about me being so dramatic about not falling to my death, or letting one of my guys get eaten by the chipper, crushed by falling stuff, or wanting them to be focused at work, on work.




If you're distracted by a phone buzzing, don't take it up the tree for pictures or whatnot.

If you're distracted by the ground crew and homeowner, tell them politely and clearly that the homeowner is preventing the groundworker for protecting me and themselves by them being focused, not just standing around waiting for a stick to drop for them to pick up.


We:
Plan the work.
Work the plan.
Ask, Did the plan work?

We:
Call.
Respond.
(my guy said to me last week, I realized it's called Call and Respond, not Call and me make some sh*t up. He is realizing more and more that I choose my words specifically and carefully, then get his attention to communicate the Plan. I'm not shooting from the hip).
If that's too much for them, to use their brain and voice, they can get the F*&K down the road.


I say I play chess, not checkers. By the time a guy want to guess what the next move will be and start asking "do you want...", I have to tell him that I'm a terrible mind-reader, and please get my attention, then be Loud, Clear, and Concise, and follow the plan. The plan is always that they come back from their designated tasks, and get my attention, so we can communicate what's accomplished and what's next. They are never going to mind-read the next 5 moves.


If I have a solid worker, I can basically forget what I've delegated from the tree. They tell me what they accomplished, and any problems (like "I added 3/4 of a quart of 5w-20 into the F350, and we're low on oil. I made you a note, and put in on the dashboard", or "blue on red, I'm clear." (blue rigging rope on red climb line).


If they just say "ok". I have to ask "Ok what?", then they say "blue on red. All clear".
Hard to keep 5 steps forward going to plan, and adjusting the plan, and communicating the plan, if groundies can't use their voices and brains.


I basically treat the tree job like a building a skyscraper. There has to be a leader, a coordinated plan, safety, communication, sequencing of events (no shingles before framing. no wiring wall outlets before framing walls), etc. This is whether it's me, solo, or with 4 groundies during a storm.


Otherwise...
Waaaay toooo muuuuch, "Well, I thought..." (aka I didn't really listen to the quarterback, and just started running downfield).


Do you know how many times machines interrupt you to ask dumb questions or say, after hurting someone or themselves, "Well, I thought..."? Zero. Machines work the plan. If my mini is ever on its side, I'd because I commanded it to, or it broke something serious, like a hydraulic cylinder weld. My machine had never called up, "Do you know where the truck keys are?" Zero. I've never had to tell my machine that the best place to look for the keys is where they should be, in the ignition, truck pointed out for an emergency, as trained.


Do not let groundies make the plan. If there is a foreman, sure, but they're not a 'groundie'.
 
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#18
It also looks like clear consistent communication between all team members is essential. Ground crew need to clearly communicate with each other and the climber and have “eyes up” and not expect anyone on the team to be mind readers. @southsoundtree I really liked your directions of being Loud, Clear, and Concise and saying exactly what the ground crew did and ending with I’m Clear. I can put that into practice right away. Am I correct in assuming good ground habits will translate into good in-tree habits?
 

evo

Well-Known Member
#19
Do not let groundies make the plan. If there is a foreman, sure, but they're not a 'groundie'.
I agree with everything but this.. sometime a good second pair of fresh eyes can be a wonderful asset. I truly miss waking up clocking in, and problem solving from ground zero. Many times reworking the plan and smoothing things out.
 
#20
One phrase that comes to my mind is: order of operations... So the midset is: each task gets a place in line, and every task is the most important. Dont distract yourself with other tasks that are ahead, until you are between tasks and give yourself the time to evaluate your order of operations.
I took these parts from your post, RAD, and put them together. This is a power-packed statement. Thanks for sharing; it’s a clear and concise challenge to keep in the forefront of our minds.
 
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