Working alone?

Raven

Well-Known Member
I'm having trouble finding any standards prohibiting someone from working solo. Let's say someone is out in the woods felling trees all by themselves - he has a cell phone and a truck parked out on the road but no other workers are nearby. Aside from being foolhardy is there a standard specifically saying he can't do it?
 

JD3000

Most well-known member
Ive done it and don't care for it.
Curious to hear responses.
 
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theatertech87

Well-Known Member
Not sure where exactly, but there is a standard for line clearance that your supposed to have someone else line clearance qualified within unaided voice contact any time you're with in 10 feet of the lines
 

Brocky

Well-Known Member
As outdated as my state’s osha rules are, they require someone within hearing if a climber is aloft in excess of 15 ft. No mention of ability to rescue.
 

Raven

Well-Known Member
Yep line clearance climbers need a rescue climber on site per ANSI Z133 4.3.9. Nothing about ground cutting with a chainsaw anywhere? @Brocky what state is that? I know loggers and farmers do it all the time but it don't feel quite right. Asking for a county worker who has been assigned to cut brush and small trees along side rural roads - alone.
This seems like a case where corporate policy should go above and beyond OSHA to ensure worker safety. At the very least I think it violates the general duty clause - "provide employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards"
 

oldoakman

Well-Known Member
Municipal workers are no th specifically covered under OSHA. OSHA can stop and inspect but muni's aren't fined. We had a crew dunked for only having a body belt instead of full harness.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Whoever wrote that line in the General Duty Clause deserves our thanks and respect.

Using 'free from recognized dangers' is succinct and broad reaching.

In this case it would be hard to argue that running a chainsaw isn't a recognized hazard. Then add the layer of working alone?! I'd ask an attorney how they would defend a company or government facing those words.

Government entities may be able to side-step facing an OSHA fine in court. Until it gets to civil court. The rules are different in civil court. An attorney could hold up the General Duty Clause and be forced to defend themselves from negligence.
 

colb

Well-Known Member
Whoever wrote that line in the General Duty Clause deserves our thanks and respect.

Using 'free from recognized dangers' is succinct and broad reaching.

In this case it would be hard to argue that running a chainsaw isn't a recognized hazard. Then add the layer of working alone?!
If a chainsaw were a hazard then its use would be banned.

I would focus on the training of the worker to use a chainsaw. Even there, there isn't always a standard in the states like in Australia... It seems excessive that this guy has to work alone with a chainsaw if he doesn't want to.
 

Mowerr

Well-Known Member
Yep line clearance climbers need a rescue climber on site per ANSI Z133 4.3.9. Nothing about ground cutting with a chainsaw anywhere? @Brocky what state is that? I know loggers and farmers do it all the time but it don't feel quite right. Asking for a county worker who has been assigned to cut brush and small trees along side rural roads - alone.
This seems like a case where corporate policy should go above and beyond OSHA to ensure worker safety. At the very least I think it violates the general duty clause - "provide employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards"
How long has your friend been working for his town? And has he expressed the way he feels to anyone above his position? Blows my mind because here upstate NY they over staff the shit out of any kind of operation for the town, county and state. Whether their digging a hole or cutting there's always at least 1-2 guys standing around watching. Usually crews of 4-5 guys, 2 or 3 of them are young and the old guys watch the young switch out
 

oldoakman

Well-Known Member
When I first started for the city up north I worked alone for some time before a second position was approved. I did get part time summer help for 10 weeks in summer and some street department help in winter for removals when they could spare them from snow removal operations.
 
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evo

Well-Known Member
I actually feel safer working alone most of the time. The quality of the labor pool here is so subpar I’d be better off. Our local FD doesn’t even have a ladder truck, so my guess is that the closest is 25-40 minuets out after the situation is assessed. Most areas I work I’d expect 5-15 for the initial response. A ladder truck would only be able to get to me 5% of the jobs I get. Forget a FD areal rescue. I keep a list in the truck of all the climbers I know of in the truck with business and personal cell numbers. I tell folks if anything happens of course call 911, but immediately hit that list up to get at least 2-3 responses.
It’s not my preference, I’d much rather have a experienced climber on the crew. I still need to eat and pay the bills, so I have no choice, wish it were different.
 

deevo

Well-Known Member
You and @theXman they ought to talk to each other. Think you're feeling the same feels. David was working on that remote choker release...

I'm looking into getting a remote installed on my mini skid.
David did a pod cast with @Muggs and was very interesting hearing what he had to say and his new vision of going solo.
 

Mowerr

Well-Known Member
Its one thing if you got the experience, knowledge and confidence to geterdone alone but i think its very bad for guys with little experience that obviously feel safer having other guys around...

Veneers of competence
 

Raven

Well-Known Member
Wow great replies here thank you guys. So it seems working alone is not illegal nor inherently evil, and it won't increase risk of injury and actually eliminates the risk of being hurt by a coworker. The problem then becomes one of emergency preparedness, of whatcha gonna do AFTER something bad happens.

I think the employer can go a long way to enhance that preparedness AND cover their butts by having documented safety training, provide all appropriate PPE(documented), emergency response protocols in place, and have a system of employee tracking - check in at every break with current location and status, routine site visits by supervisors, vital signs monitors like in the movies - too much?

For you business owner climbers and solo crane removal guys - more power to ya. You made that choice on your own and have no supervisors to hold accountable. I admire that spirit and I sometimes wear that hat myself but I wish we all could have at least one minor employee or apprentice on site to assist/respond.
 

Chaplain242

Well-Known Member
Be wary - although in some areas it might be non-illegal to climb alone, try claiming insurance, or resist being sued, when most documented safe protocols says you should have a rescue climber available. Could get tricky.

Most people I know the solo climber or worker on a job is also the business owner. Not just for random accidents - there is always a chance that a solo worker can orchestrate an injury, or recklessly obtain an injury, and what protection has the employer or supervisor got then (depending on local laws and practices) It depends on the character of the worker and how much he can be trusted to work safely. Then there is the random events...
 

evo

Well-Known Member
For myself it’s not always tree rescue, I sometimes rappel down 2-300’ bluffs which are nearly vertical in some spots. A rescue from this situation would be incredibly complicated and likely involve the water crew on the beach for a boat ride.
I’d like to think that there is a certain skill level involved, with the highest level being that unless entirely incompassitated or unconscious one could self rescue.
There is a line between rescue and recovery, I’d like to see detailed stats of how often what type of response is needed in which situation.
Take the poor bloke with the saw lanyard around his neck inverted. A good chance the reason why it took so long to get him down was that there wasn’t a rush.

A ole timer I worked for on some felling jobs didn’t really need my help, he just called me a paid witness.
 
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