Tree Removal

Often necessary on construction and other work sites, tree removal can pose several serious hazards:

  • Falling trees and limbs can kill or injure the cutter or persons working nearby
  • Operating powerful cutting and trimming equipment such as chain saws and brush saws can cause severe injuries
  • Working near live electrical utility lines and equipment can cause electrocution or serious injuries
  • Possibility of severe injuries from a fall when working at height
  • Fuels for powered equipment can ignite and cause serious burns

As an employer, you must ensure that:

  • Employees doing tree removal are competent and are provided with the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), including foot and leg protection , protection for eyes , head and hearing .
  • Employees doing tree removal must have successfully completed a course from a recognized training agency that includes instructions on:
    • Holding the saw in both hands while operating it.
    • Not operating the saw above shoulder height.
    • Except in arboricultural operations, standing on a solid base when operating the saw.
    • Not climbing on or working under a felled tree.
    • Proper notching and back-cutting the tree as illustrated in the diagram within section 354(2)(a).
    • Using a felling lever or wedge as required.
    • Completing the felling once it has been started.
    • Moving a safe distance away from the tree at a 45° angle from the direction in which the tree is intended to fall to prevent injury from kickback.
    • Chain saws meet CSA standard Z62.1 and Z62.3 and are maintained and operated according to the standards ; other cutting equipment such as brush saws and clearing saws must also be used and maintained according to manufacturer specifications.
  • Employees do not work alone and that first aid and emergency supplies are readily available.
  • A fire extinguisher is kept nearby during work.
  • Fuel is stored away from the immediate work area and away from sources of ignition.
  • Equipment is started at least 3 metres from the place where it was refuelled.
  • Trees are felled safely.
  • Employees follow safe procedures and distance requirements for tree removal near powerlines.
  • Persons working near felling operations are protected.
  • When working more than 3 metres above a safe level, ensure employees use fall arresting equipment, or use a safety belt, a tree-trimming saddle belt or a saddle formed by a double bowline on a bight with a life line (rope designed for use in tree maintenance operation). Employees must inspect the equipment before each use, ensure it is properly knotted when in use and stored in a separate protective container.
  • If aerial devices, personnel carrying devices or elevating platforms are used ensure they are maintained and used in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations and/or applicable CSA standards. Only authorized and qualified employees are to be allowed to use the equipment.

As an employee doing tree removal, you must:

  • Wear the PPE provided by your employer to protect your feet, legs, hands , face , and head .
  • Use hearing protection when using chain saws, brush saws and clearing saws.
  • When working more than 3 metres above a safe level, use a fall arresting system or use a safety belt, a tree-trimming saddle belt or a saddle formed by a double bowline on a bight with a life line (rope designed for use in tree maintenance operation). Employee shall inspect the equipment before each use, ensure it is properly knotted when in use and stored in a separate protective container.
  • Follow safe procedures when working near live powerlines.
  • Wear the proper equipment, rubber gloves, shields, insulated objects or other necessary protective equipment, when working closer to an energized electrical utility line or utility line equipment.
  • Not work alone.
  • Turn off your equipment before refuelling and refuel away from the work area.

General Regulation - Occupational Health and Safety Act
N.B. Reg. 91-191

Part XIX ELECTRICAL SAFETY

Section 289 Utility Lines and Utility Line Equipment

289. (1) An employer shall ensure that an employee who is not a qualified person does not carry out any work, and no such employee shall carry out any work, that is liable to bring any person or object closer to an energized electrical utility line or utility line equipment than the distances specified in the following table:

Table

Phase to Phase Voltage of Energized Electrical Utility Line or Utility Line Equipment Distance
Up to 750 v 900 mm
750 v - 100,000 v 3.6 m
100,001 v - 250,000 v 5.2 m
250,001 v - 345,000 v 6.1 m

(2) Where an employee who is not a qualified person is about to commence work that is liable to bring any person or object closer to an energized electrical utility line or utility line equipment than a distance specified in subsection (1), an employer shall contact the authority owning or operating the energized electrical utility line or utility line equipment and shall ensure that the utility line or utility line equipment

(a) is de-energized, or

(b) is adequately insulated or guarded

before permitting the employee to commence the work.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 100]

Part V NOISE AND VIBRATION

Section 32

32. Where necessary, an employer shall provide, and an employee shall use, adequate hearing protective equipment so that the exposure of an employee to noise is kept within the limits prescribed by section 30.

Part XXI LOGGING AND SILVICULTURE OPERATIONS

Section 348 Chain Saws, Brush Saws and Clearing Saws

348. (1) An owner of a chain saw shall ensure that the chain saw meets the applicable requirements of CSA standard Z62.1-95, "Chain Saws" and CSA standard Z62.3-96 "Chain Saw Kickback".

(2) An owner of a chain saw shall ensure that the chain saw

(a) is used only with a safety chain that is filed according to the manufacturer's specifications,

(b) is equipped with an adequate chain brake, and

(c) is fitted only with component parts specified by the manufacturer.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 115]

Section 349

349. An employee who operates a chain saw shall

(a) stop the motor before carrying the saw from one location to another,

(b) stop the motor before adjusting the chain,

(c) adjust the saw according to the manufacturer's specifications so that the chain is stopped while the motor is idling,

(d) immediately remove a defective saw from use until repaired,

(e) start the saw when it is cold by holding it against a solid object below waist level,

(f) not start the saw by pulling on the cord while the other hand engages the throttle mechanism,

(g) hold the saw in both hands while operating it,

(h) not operate the saw above shoulder height,

(i) stand on a solid base when operating the saw, and

(j) not climb on or work under a felled tree.

Section 350

350. An employee who operates a brush saw or a clearing saw shall

(a) operate and maintain the saw in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications,

(b) ensure that the saw is equipped with an adequate blade guard,

(c) maintain a minimum 10 m distance from any other person while operating the saw,

(d) regularly inspect the blade and file it when necessary,

(e) replace the blade at the first sign of cracks or fractures,

(f) fit the saw only with blades and component parts as specified by the manufacturer,

(g) use a harness suitable for use with the saw,

(h) ensure that the harness is well maintained and properly adjusted and that the emergency release on the harness functions properly,

(i) stop the engine before any manual adjustment, cleaning, clearing of debris or other work is carried out on the blade or blade guard, and

(j) not start the saw while it is attached to the harness.

Section 351

351. (1) An employer shall ensure that an employee who operates a chain saw, brush saw or clearing saw does not work alone.

(2) An employer shall ensure that an employee who operates a chain saw, brush saw or clearing saw has

(a) a suitable fire extinguisher or a round point shovel readily available,

(b) suitable first aid supplies readily available, and

(c) a pressure bandage.

Section 352

352. An employee who operates a chain saw, brush saw or clearing saw shall

(a) not work alone,

(b) not girdle trees,

(c) not refuel the saw while the engine is operating,

(d) move the saw at least 3 m from where it was refuelled before starting the engine,

(e) refuel only from a non-glass container with spout or funnel,

(f) not refuel the saw near any source of ignition, and

(g) carry or keep close at hand the pressure bandage provided by the employer.

Section 353 Felling Procedures

353.(1) Before starting to fell a tree, an employee shall ensure that

(a) all standing dead trees and other potential hazards are removed from the work area,

(b) there is a clear path of retreat to safety, and

(c) all other persons have moved at least 40 m from the felling area.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1)(c), in a trail-cut operation, an employee shall ensure that any person assisting the employee has moved a safe distance away from the tree at a 45 degree angle from the direction in which the tree is intended to fall.

Section 354

354. (1) In this section

"lodged tree" means a tree that has not fallen to the ground or a bed after being displaced from its natural position;

"spring pole" means a section of tree or bush which is, by virtue of its arrangement in relation to other materials, under compression.

(2) When felling a tree, an employee shall

(a) properly notch and back-cut the tree as illustrated below:

Diagram

(b) use a felling lever or wedge as required;

(c) complete the felling once it has been started; and

(d) move a safe distance away from the tree at a 45 degree angle from the direction in which the tree is intended to fall.

(3) Where an employee fells a tree and the tree becomes lodged, the employee shall

(a) stay in the area until the lodged tree is removed or if it is necessary to leave the area to obtain help to remove the tree, clearly mark the area as hazardous, and

(b) ensure that the lodged tree is removed as soon as possible without being climbed by any person, having another tree felled on it or having the supporting tree cut.

(4) An employee shall not cut a spring pole in a manner that will endanger any person.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 116]

Part XXII ARBORICULTURAL OPERATIONS

Section 367

367. An employer who provides tree removal or tree maintenance services shall ensure that an employee who removes a tree or provides tree maintenance services is competent and has adequate equipment for the work that is being done.

Section 369

369. Where tree removal or tree maintenance makes it necessary for an employee or for any object to approach closer to an energized electrical utility line or utility line equipment than the distances specified in subsection 289(1), an employee may undertake the tree removal or tree maintenance only if the employee has participated in and successfully completed a course in arboricultural electrical safety offered by the NB Safety Council Inc. or a course offered by another organization that is equivalent in content.

[N.B. Reg. 2005-20, s. 1]

Section 374

374. An employer shall ensure that an employee working more than 3 m above the nearest safe level uses a fall-arresting system or

(a) wears a safety belt, a tree-trimming saddle belt or a saddle formed by a double bowline on a bight, and

(b) uses as a life line, a rope designed for use in tree maintenance operations that is

(i) inspected by the employee before each use,

(ii) properly knotted when in use, and

(iii) stored in a separate protective container.

[N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 45]

Part VII PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

Section 39

39. Where an employee is exposed to a hazard that may irritate or injure the eyes, face, ears or front of the neck, the employee shall use protective equipment that is appropriate to the hazard and that conforms to CSA standard CAN/CSA-Z94.3-92, "Industrial Eye and Face Protectors" or a standard offering equivalent protection.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 16]

Section 40

40. (1) On a project site, an employee shall use Class E, Type 1 headwear that conforms to ANSI standard ANSI Z89.1-1997, "American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection" or a standard offering equivalent or better protection.

(2) At a place of employment, other than a project site, where an employee is exposed to a hazard that may injure the employee's head, the employee shall use protective equipment that is appropriate to the hazard and that conforms to ANSI standard ANSI Z89.1-1997, "American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection" or a standard offering equivalent or better protection.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 17]

Section 42

42. Where an employee is exposed to a hazard that may injure the skin, the employee shall use, as necessary,

(a) adequate protective gloves,

(b) adequate protective boots or wooden clogs,

(c) adequate body covering,

(d) adequate eye protection,

(e) a barrier cream or oil to prevent irritation to exposed parts of the body, or

(f) other protective equipment sufficient to provide protection from the hazard.

Part IX TOOLS

Section 86

86. (1) An employee who uses a chain saw, brush saw or clearing saw other than in a logging operation, silviculture operation or arboricultural operation shall comply with the requirements of sections 347, 349, 350 and 352.

(1.1) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a firefighter engaged in structural fire-fighting or rescue is exempt from the requirements of section 347 and paragraphs 349(a), (e), (h) and (i).

(2) Where an employee uses a chain saw, brush saw or clearing saw other than in a logging operation, silviculture operation or arboricultural operation, the employer shall comply with the requirements of sections 346 and 351.

(2.1) Notwithstanding subsection (2), where a firefighter is engaged in structural fire-fighting or rescue, the employer is exempt from the requirements of section 346.

(3) An owner of a chain saw used other than in a logging operation, silviculture operation or arboricultural operation shall comply with the requirements of section 348.

[N.B. Reg. 97-121, s. 17]