ASHEBORO, N.C. — Nineteen tree care professionals have died on the job this year, making tree care one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.
The tree care industry is the fourth deadliest occupation in the United States and a tree care worker dies every three days. The most common reason is by falling out of a tree.
“You have to be in the tree. That’s just part of the deal. Getting up there and pruning or dead limbing a tree, you’re going to have to be in a tree,” said Brandon Nance, of SHERRILLtree.
Nance says accidents still happen even after years of training and certifications.
“But again there’s safety protocols in place that minimize and eliminate the risk involved with the industry,” Nance said.
Nance sells climbing equipment and is an avid climber himself. He checks his gear before and after every climb.
“At a minimal, you would need ropes, connectors, saddles, helmets, safety glasses,” Nance explained.
He connected FOX8 with a former Alamance County arborist who now lives in the northeast. Some tree care professionals are shying away from two-person drills and use a dummy instead.
“We were actually causing more injuries trying to bring people out of trees too quickly than just getting there and being the eyes, the ears and sometimes the hands of fire rescue once they arrive on scene,” said Travis Vickerson, a certified arborist.
There are no regulation as to how these drills happen and the equipment that is used.
“Regardless if you’re able to rescue anybody from the tree, you need to have a rescue plan in place,” Nance said.
The Tree Care Industry Association is pushing for regulation when it comes to aerial drills.