Like many other Boston residents, we were distressed to learn about a recent fatal accident in our state that took the life of a tree worker. The Eagle Tribune reported that the man abruptly fell about 50 feet from the tree on which he was working.
What we found most disturbing about this incident was that the same victim suffered a similar fall (which he survived) eight years earlier. We found ourselves asking three questions after learning about the death.
Are these separate incidents merely accidents? Do they indicate complacency on the part of the worker? Are they an indicator that the tree care industry is failing to protect its workforce? As attorneys invested in assisting injured employees with workers' compensation and associated legal issues, we wanted to find at least some answers to our questions.
According to Safety Health Magazine, worker fatalities within the tree care industry declined in 2017. Here are some nationwide statistics reported by the magazine.
- 129 tree worker accidents occurred in 2017
- 72 of these accidents resulted in death
- 92 fatal tree industry accidents occurred in 2016
- 81 fatal tree industry accidents occurred in 2015
- Falling was the second leading cause of death for tree workers in 2017
Reportedly, the Tree Care Industry Association speculated that a major contributing factor in these accidents was complacency rather than ignorance. Reading the article answered two of our questions.
It seems the tree care industry may be improving in its efforts to protect employees. However, complacency remains a large problem for workers. As far as the cause of the victim's fall, we cannot know what factors may have played a role at this time.
We urge all Massachusetts tree care workers to practice caution at all times when working from heights. Workers' compensation solves many problems for the state's workforce, but avoiding injury is always the best way to preserve your physical well-being.
Please visit our website for valuable information about maximizing your workers' compensation benefits in Boston.