Is crane work safer....than?

ROYCE

Well-Known Member
I am putting this is the general discussion three because I want some input from all climbers and not just crane climbers.

Here is my situation: I have a government contract. I have done crane work for this contract in the past on three occasions. No problem at all. Well a few weeks ago their was a crane accident at another site. Far from me and had nothing to do with me or tree work. It was a lattice boom crane that was doing construction work.

Anyways, this has put a "huge" red flag on my operation. Especially now that I have purchased my own crane. Their are two safety officers and they have analyzed my whole operation. The paperwork that I have to fill out every time I bring a crane on-site is ridiculous, but I can deal with that.

What they can not wrap their head around is a climber being hoisted with the crane. They called OSHA and of course OSHA wants me to hoist my climber in a cage! (here we go again) So naturally they are going off what OSHA wants. They contacted the TCIA and talked with them in depth about the whole issue. We are now at a place where if I can prove that their is not other safe way to remove the tree, then I can use the crane and hoist the climber.

Here is my issue: It is my opinion that most all trees are safer when removed with a crane. Is this true? If you compare a tree that is un-accessible to any equipment but a crane what are your options. Perfectly healthy tree that has to be removed, can not be felled, bucket truck can not reach it, it is a large tree 90 foot in height. your options are to manually remove the tree with rope and saddle, rigging line and blocks. Or, remove with a 30 ton crane. Which way is safer?

This is so hard to determine. One, our industry is dangerous. You could be killed in either scenario. People have been. I hate it that I am put into a position to have to ask permission to do a job the safest way possible and maybe be denied by individuals who know nothing about the fine details of my job.

Personally I want to use my crane on whatever tree I can. Its faster, safer because I am eliminating all shock loading to the tree and rigging gear. The climber is not over-worked. The ground crew has the brush brought directly behind the chipper, which means less energy used compared to conventional rigging.

What are your thoughts?
 

treehumper

Well-Known Member
That's fine but the issue doesn't seem to be using a crane but how the climber accesses the tree. If in your scenario the tree is healthy then access can be done safely by climbing it. The crane is only providing a means that is more convenient or productive. However, the productivity gain may be a red herring if the climber is setting up at the same time as the crane.

OSHA

Here's a useful piece from TCIA that goes to the point.

That its faster isn't a factor where safety is concerned for all the obvious reasons.

That a client is asserting safe work practices on us is fine as long as you've calculated that into your estimate. If not then explain to them what compliance will impact on the cost. If they're serious about the safety issues then they'll be ok with it.
 

DTS

Well-Known Member
I had a customer call about a tree behind house and before she was done taking she stated no way She did not want a crane over her house I said ok and headed over. Plenty of room for a crane easy tree with one hard without no matter what I told her she has the impression burnt in her head about the bad press about cranes lately falling over and through houses. I advised most are caused by human error and they are safer and more efficient for some removals including her's she didn't want any part of it. So we are going to climb and block it out. In my opinion cranes are much safer and efficient with the proper training, and by using the upmost care prepping and using the crane the right way
 

ROYCE

Well-Known Member
I had a customer call about a tree behind house and before she was done taking she stated no way She did not want a crane over her house I said ok and headed over. Plenty of room for a crane easy tree with one hard without no matter what I told her she has the impression burnt in her head about the bad press about cranes lately falling over and through houses. I advised most are caused by human error and they are safer and more efficient for some removals including her's she didn't want any part of it. So we are going to climb and block it out. In my opinion cranes are much safer and efficient with the proper training, and by using the upmost care prepping and using the crane the right way
I agree with you. The crazy thing is you can buy a crane in NH and VT and operate it with out any license or certification. How, because of my contract I have to be certified and licenses. Which I would do anyway. I know of several crane companies around me who are self taught operators. I think that is the biggest issue. Too many un-qualified people running cranes. Now, I am sure there are many with TONS of experience that are not certified that are amazing operators. We have to walk to the pace of our slowest walkers.
 

ROYCE

Well-Known Member
That's fine but the issue doesn't seem to be using a crane but how the climber accesses the tree. If in your scenario the tree is healthy then access can be done safely by climbing it. The crane is only providing a means that is more convenient or productive. However, the productivity gain may be a red herring if the climber is setting up at the same time as the crane.

OSHA

Here's a useful piece from TCIA that goes to the point.

That its faster isn't a factor where safety is concerned for all the obvious reasons.

That a client is asserting safe work practices on us is fine as long as you've calculated that into your estimate. If not then explain to them what compliance will impact on the cost. If they're serious about the safety issues then they'll be ok with it.
Thanks for this. I had already made reference to this article when I talked with the safety guys. That three page check-list is what I need to do in my documentation.
 

flyingsquirrel25

Well-Known Member
I believe it really depends on the tree and its location. A 40 foot fir in the lawn not so much but put that 40 foot fir between the house, pool and shed with hardscape all around absolutely safer. I believe half our battle when we are look at cranes is that bad press mentioned before and the fact that many guys out there don't sell the work properly and explain the pros of the crane (not saying anyone here does this). Royce I think if you approached it from the known constants side of things you might get somewhere. By this I mean we know that a crane at "X" radius is rated to "Y" thousand pounds. The tree has no sticker, or load chart or and is even not 100% inspectable.
Also I have found with though clients (and bosses) showing the written ANSI Z133 does wonders at opening eyes as to how our industry works with cranes, SAFELY. You look at most crane accidents, I think you would be hard pressed to find one where human error did not cause or play a huge role in (as stated above as well).
 

DSMc

Well-Known Member
...... Perfectly healthy tree that has to be removed, can not be felled, bucket truck can not reach it, it is a large tree 90 foot in height. your options are to manually remove the tree with rope and saddle, rigging line and blocks. Or, remove with a 30 ton crane. Which way is safer?......
To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. You own a crane and I don't blame you for wanting to use for everything. But your question is about safety not time on the job or energy expenditures. Using a qualified rigging crew has been shown to be a very safe way to get healthy trees down.

There are many good reasons for using a crane and a guy would be crazy not to if he had one. I'm just not sure that safety is the number one sales pitch for doing so.
 

ROYCE

Well-Known Member
To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. You own a crane and I don't blame you for wanting to use for everything. But your question is about safety not time on the job or energy expenditures. Using a qualified rigging crew has been shown to be a very safe way to get healthy trees down.

There are many good reasons for using a crane and a guy would be crazy not to if he had one. I'm just not sure that safety is the number one sales pitch for doing so.
Your very good rigging crew, is that safer than a crane? It's a question that is being asked of me. Personally that is so hard to answer. Everything is dangerous.

Another thing is this contact is typically jobs that are HUGE! White pine trees that are 120 feet tall with obstacles that can't not be destroyed. This in not one or two trees, it 40 or 50 trees. Hand climb rigging these will tire out your most experience climber and take a tremendous amount of time. But, if they want it done that way, then they will have to pay for it.

I am trying to wrap my brain around this crane thing in regards to safety. How many tree companies look at a job where you have to remove 30 White Pine Trees around a house and do not think of a crane? Typically that is the first thing that comes to mind, "lets get a crane for this" Why? Because it's easier, safer, more convenient?

They are basically telling me that using a crane to hoist a climber is dangerous. More dangerous than rigging? Just climbing a tree? Why do they feel this way? Because cranes topple over? There was just a guy who was killed in NJ when his lowering line contacted his climbing line....Would that happen with a crane? No!

I am feeling like I am a professional. I have attended many classes and seminars about tree care and removals. I am a certified arborist with a degree in arboriculture. I can climb and rig trees down, I can do bucket removals, I can use a crane, I can fell. I, yes I want to make the decision as to what is the best way to get the tree down safely based on my education and experience. I just hate that I have to prove that the crane is the only way to get a tree down, and then I can use it. Just seams backwards to me.
 
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DSMc

Well-Known Member
You see what you did there? You stated many good reasons why a crane would be a better choice for the job you are discussing. Safety was one of many, not a stand-a-lone.
 

ROYCE

Well-Known Member
You see what you did there? You stated many good reasons why a crane would be a better choice for the job you are discussing. Safety was one of many, not a stand-a-lone.
Yeah, but you get me. These safety guys don't. I have to get my info together to put a case before them.
 

96coal449

Well-Known Member
I think the point is each way of rigging has it's own separate dangerous issues, and each has it's own safety advantages over the other. The hard thing, like mentioned, is getting the client to understand both are just as dangerous as the other. But when they see a lot of recent crane accidents recently on regulated media, they see shock and awe. Especially when someone's home is severed. Then it's about them. They're not even thinking one bit of anyone's personal safety.
 

Hoowasat

Well-Known Member
In the world of industrial safety, there's a key word used a lot to identify situations in which a process change can reduce physical strain ... a word I have not yet seen in this thread ... ergonomics. Hoisting a climber to the work site in a manner which allows better egress (meaning no personnel float ... or "cage") is safer. In addition to the climber exiting the float while aloft, is the float supposed to be lowered to the ground and unhooked before the hook is sent back up to the climber? A personnel float makes for a more complicated and cumbersome process, and requires additional steps, which in turn creates more opportunities for human error.

Reducing physical strain via ergonomics is commonly accomplished by mechanical aids such as a crane. If we were to use a crane to lift heavy sections of fallen wood from the ground and into a truck or trailer, would the customer still want that work accomplished manually in order to restrict a crane from being used? Or mandate another type of mechanical equipment be employed other than a crane? Increased physical activity induces fatigue which wears on a worker and can create more opportunity for human error.

At my day job, we have hundreds of cranes, some of which can lift several hundred tons. We also have some unique situations where we must have some personnel beneath a suspended load. We were successful in getting OSHA to understand why that is done. Of course, it is done on a very limited basis and only when absolutely necessary.

Royce - Do a little research on ergonomics and you may make a successful case for using a crane fro tree work. The data sheets? We have to complete a 7-page form for every lift we perform.
 

treehumper

Well-Known Member
What they can not wrap their head around is a climber being hoisted with the crane. They called OSHA and of course OSHA wants me to hoist my climber in a cage! (here we go again) So naturally they are going off what OSHA wants. They contacted the TCIA and talked with them in depth about the whole issue. We are now at a place where if I can prove that their is not other safe way to remove the tree, then I can use the crane and hoist the climber.
This is still not an issue about the general use of a crane to remove trees. Let's focus on the one and only issue; means of access. Until the industry goes through the motions of proving hoisting a climber using the industry accepted means is the SAFER method then there will be no blanket exception in the rules as there already exists for others.
1926.1431(b)(2)Exceptions: A personnel platform is not required for hoisting employees:
1926.1431(b)(2)(i)Into and out of drill shafts that are up to and including 8 feet in diameter (see paragraph (o) of this section for requirements for hoisting these employees).
1926.1431(b)(2)(ii)In pile driving operations (see paragraph ℗ of this section for requirements for hoisting these employees).
1926.1431(b)(2)(iii)Solely for transfer to or from a marine worksite in a marine-hoisted personnel transfer device (see paragraph ® of this section for requirements for hoisting these employees).
1926.1431(b)(2)(iv)In storage-tank (steel or concrete), shaft and chimney operations (see paragraph (s) of this section for requirements for hoisting these employees).

They are not looking for reasons why a crane is better, it is one thing can you, as required by the regulations, demonstrate that it is the safer means of access. It is a matter of compliance to the law and they need documentation that covers the pertinent regulations so they are covered in the event of an accident. They must think this way.


They are basically telling me that using a crane to hoist a climber is dangerous.
No, what they're saying is they need to be able to state why it is the safer method in this particular case, as required by OSHA.

I am feeling like I am a professional. I have attended many classes and seminars about tree care and removals. I am a certified arborist with a degree in arboriculture. I can climb and rig trees down, I can do bucket removals, I can use a crane, I can fell. I, yes I want to make the decision as to what is the best way to get the tree down safely based on my education and experience. I just hate that I have to prove that the crane is the only way to get a tree down, and then I can use it.
All that said, it's your job as the owner to provide the proper supporting evidence and documentation validating what you assert. They can't turn around when challenged by OSHA or anyone else and say because you say so. You are the "employer" as defined by OSHA thus this burden rests on your shoulders and the manner in which it needs to be done must comply with what is deemed defensible in a court of law.

Take the time to assess each tree from the standpoint of access. Which ones can be accessed by a bucket or climbed. Then identify which ones can only be accessed best by a crane without a personnel platform (PP). If part of the justification for accessing without a PP or climbing is ergonomic and related to fatigue during the process then describe that with some supporting evidence on the part of the impact of fatigue related to operating under the conditions that will exist at the time (i.e., hot, humid weather if that's the case).

Talk to Peter Gerstenberger at TCIA to see what they might have for you.
 

CanadianStan

Well-Known Member
Your very good rigging crew, is that safer than a crane? It's a question that is being asked of me. Personally that is so hard to answer. Everything is dangerous.

Another thing is this contact is typically jobs that are HUGE! White pine trees that are 120 feet tall with obstacles that can't not be destroyed. This in not one or two trees, it 40 or 50 trees. Hand climb rigging these will tire out your most experience climber and take a tremendous amount of time. But, if they want it done that way, then they will have to pay for it.

I am trying to wrap my brain around this crane thing in regards to safety. How many tree companies look at a job where you have to remove 30 White Pine Trees around a house and do not think of a crane? Typically that is the first thing that comes to mind, "lets get a crane for this" Why? Because it's easier, safer, more convenient?

They are basically telling me that using a crane to hoist a climber is dangerous. More dangerous than rigging? Just climbing a tree? Why do they feel this way? Because cranes topple over? There was just a guy who was killed in NJ when his lowering line contacted his climbing line....Would that happen with a crane? No!

I am feeling like I am a professional. I have attended many classes and seminars about tree care and removals. I am a certified arborist with a degree in arboriculture. I can climb and rig trees down, I can do bucket removals, I can use a crane, I can fell. I, yes I want to make the decision as to what is the best way to get the tree down safely based on my education and experience. I just hate that I have to prove that the crane is the only way to get a tree down, and then I can use it. Just seams backwards to me.
You are without a doubt an outstanding tree care professional ; You are trained, educated and experienced in what you do, moreso than anyone else deciding what is safe for you to do, in your specific circumstances with your equipment and your crew.

Try writing up a document that eloquently explains, for the various reasons of safety, ergonomics, production and risk management, why the use of cranes is more appropriate, both for you and for the contracting company.

Try to appear as objective as possible, listing the possible downsides (Crane tipping, inspection schedule) and then explain why the Pro's still outweigh the Con's, and how the possible dangers will be mitigated.

Try to include TCIA or ISA resources if all possible, as well as maybe having a few guys like Mark Chisholm's words since I know he's been a big front-runner for the "legalization" of cranes in tree care (for lack of a better expression).
 
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Magnum783

Well-Known Member
One way I have explained it. When you rig off a tree the tree is a variable we don't know its strength. Many people say trust your gear never the tree. When we use a crane we know at X point in Y radius we are good to his much weight. We can then reference a green log weight chart and leave ourselves large margin for safety. If you are good for 4500 only try to take 2200 that way if you oops you are still plenty good on top of the cranes already huge safety factor. Also like you already said no shock loading with a crane (as long as it's done Right). Just my way of looking at it
 

Bucknut

Well-Known Member
Royce, your original post reminded me of an article a few years back by Todd Kramer where he said that crane removals are "the safest, and the most dangerous" method of tree removal.

I feel your pain. Here's a question: what if the crane op just dropped his cable down the trunk to the ground, you tied in to it, then spike up the tree as he cables in slowly, keeping a tiny bit of slack as you ascend, like a 40 ton belay? Technically he would not be hoisting you, and you could skip the lanyard. It wouldn't be as fast as a true lift, but better than actually climbing every tree.
Just a thought, I'm probably not the first one to have it.

Your talk of OSHA reminded me of this:

image.png
 

evo

Well-Known Member
This is simple Royce. I'm under the impression that we can ride the ball. You say that there are 40-50 ~120' trees to be removed. If the crane is onsite and faster use it. If the climber wants to ride the ball, but you need to prove it's safer to do so than climbing the tree it seems like that is a simple argument.

Climbing 40-50 120' trees would kick anyone's ass, even if it were only 3-5 a day times x # of days until completion. How would the climber be ascending? Spurs, flip line, and climbing line as a second flipline? That's tieing in and out how many times per tree? 50? times 40 trees? Lots of potential of making a mistake getting to the top. Safer riding the ball, and tieing in once into a known rated piece of equipment while being double checked by the crew before take off. It is also easier, more practical, faster, which can equate to safer.

I am all for the client to make sure the plan is safe, but they should not be able to dictate the tools used.
 

LimbLoppa

Well-Known Member
I say that if they are going to dictate how you complete the job, then you can choose to change the bid. Completing the same job without riding the ball will significantly increase the amount of man-hours required. If they don't understand that say that it's the same as you bidding a job with using a chainsaw in mind only to find that they are going to require that you cut them all with an axe.
 

96coal449

Well-Known Member
I say that if they are going to dictate how you complete the job, then you can choose to change the bid. Completing the same job without riding the ball will significantly increase the amount of man-hours required. If they don't understand that say that it's the same as you bidding a job with using a chainsaw in mind only to find that they are going to require that you cut them all with an axe.
Some homeowners need something simpler they can visualize. Cutting a lawn with nail clippers, compared to a rider.
 

cbachmann

Active Member
What is the client's timeframe to complete the job? Perhaps there is a case for using the crane - and flying the hook - to safely and efficiently complete the work ON THEIR SCHEDULE. without these methods it will take longer and perhaps COST MORE. Let their schedule and wallet be the drivers of the decision.

Craig
 
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