GILFORD — The tree-felling, trimming, and care business can be a dangerous industry in which to work. By several accounts, this type of employment is typically near, if not at the top, of the most hazardous professions in the United States. One local company is working hard to protect its workers against those risks.

When an arborist, logger, or tree care professional reports to work, the day consists of regular and immediate threats. Potential dangers include electrical lines, falls and falling objects, heavy equipment, and passing vehicles.

Changing conditions in the workspace from site to site also provide a unique set of challenges. In some instances, sites may be in remote locations with limited access to services. In others, sites are in neighborhoods where workers need to exhibit heightened safety awareness for both property and citizens.

One of the most dangerous tasks, however, is the work of tree-climbers or those who utilize lifts to work high in the canopy.

Confronted with these challenges, Hayden McLaughlin of Belknap Landscape said, “When we send our crews onto a client’s property to work, it’s important that everyone knows that safety is a top priority. Our team must know how to respond to emergencies. Our clients like knowing our crew members are trained properly, and our crew likes knowing they are prepared to stay safe.”

This spring, Belknap Landscape sent four technicians to Massachusetts to receive training in emergency response preparation. The full day of instruction taught proper responses to emergencies high off the ground, in a tree or on a lift.

"This type of thing can be really scary if it happens," McLaughlin said, "but having the proper training helps us prevent or respond to these situations if they ever occur. We want our crew to go home safe at the end of the day, and we dedicate time and resources to make sure that happens.”

Belknap Landscape tree care professionals Curtis Archibald, Dan Clifford, Kevin Johnson, and Certified Arborist Peter Schmidt attended the training, provided by North American Training Solutions, in Douglas, Massachusetts. Their day consisted of education in the hazards of working with an aerial lift or climbing harness as a primer for preventing emergencies. The workers also learned how to utilize self-rescue techniques or rescue others when an emergency occurs high off the ground. They practiced the techniques they learned in instructor-led scenarios.

“It’s this type of training that I think separates us from some of our competition," McLaughlin said. "It’s time-consuming and takes resources, but it’s the right thing to do, and at the end of the day, that’s who we are.”

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