I. Applicability and Interplay of 29 CFR 1910.269 and 29 CFR 1910.333
When tree trimming or removal is within 10 feet of electric power lines, the requirements
of either 29 CFR 1910.269 (Electric power generation, transmission
and distribution) or 1910.333 (Electrical - Selection and
use of work practices) apply in addition to other
applicable General Industry standards, including, if applicable,
§1910.266 Logging operations. Section 1910.269 applies
if the tree trimming or removal operation is performed by a "line
clearance tree trimmer" or "qualified employee," as that standard
defines those terms. See OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-038(2-1.38),
Enforcement of the Electric Power Generation, Transmission,
and Distribution Standard. Section 1910.333 applies if the
tree trimming or removal is performed by other types of employees.
II. Program Procedures.
The activities of employers who are performing tree care operations will not be
considered "logging" for two reasons: first, because these operations
mostly involve tree care or trimming, not removal; and second,
because tree removal in a tree care operation occurs only incidentally
or on a small scale. When employers are engaged solely in tree
trimming, (i.e., the removal of limbs and branches from a tree
without the removal of the tree itself or the tree trunk), they
will not be subject to compliance with the Logging operations
standard, 29 C.F.R. §1910.266. This is because, although the Logging
operations standard applies to "all types of logging, regardless
of the end use of the wood… includ[ing]… pulpwood and timber harvesting
and the logging of sawlogs…and other forest products" (§1910.266(b)(1)),
and the standard defines "logging operations" as "operations associated
with felling and moving trees from the stump to the point of delivery..,"
and "fell" as "[t]o cut down trees" (§1910.266(c)), not every
removal of a tree is a logging operation subject to the standard.
For example, the removal of a tree, or even several trees, from
a residential lot, does not constitute "logging" in ordinary language
or under the standard.
There may be situations, however, when an employer's operations go beyond those typical
of tree care operations, and it engages in a tree removal project
that is sufficiently large and complex to constitute a logging
operation within the meaning of the standard. Accordingly, citations
alleging a violation of 29 C.F.R. §1910.266 Logging operations
may be issued to an employer engaged in small-scale tree removal,
or one whose primary business is performing tree care operations,
only after prior approval from the Assistant Commissioner, or designee.
The following section provides criteria for CSHOs to consider in evaluating whether
to recommend citing an employer under the logging standard. Appendix
A: Practical Examples has been provided for further guidance.
When CSHOs are investigating whether tree removal by an employer
is a "logging" operation to which the Logging operations
standard applies, they should focus on the nature of the activity
performed. The following factors will be relevant to the CSHO's
consideration. This list, however, is not exhaustive and the CSHO
and Regional Supervisor should always consider the totality of
all conditions relevant to the particular operation, on a case-by-case
basis, in making a recommendation as to whether a particular tree
removal activity constitutes a logging operation within the meaning of the standard:
A. The Scale and Complexity of the Tree Removal Project.
- The scale and complexity of tree removal are key factors in determining
whether the Logging operations standard applies.
- The scale of Logging operations typically includes cutting
down a substantial number of trees on a large tract of land.
- In contrast, there are small-scale tree removal activities, such as when
an employer is asked to remove one or a few trees from the
yard of a private residence, that typically would not be
- Complexity of a tree removal project takes into account concepts such
as the amount of time and equipment needed to perform the
project. For example:
- Logging operations typically take days to months to complete
and involve the use of a variety of rough terrain machinery.
- In comparison, the removal of several trees from a residence may take only
a few hours to a few days and generally would not be considered
a logging operation.
- The presence of unusually hazardous conditions also may be relevant in
assessing the complexity of a tree removal project. For example,
removing a significant number of trees damaged in a major
storm (e.g., a tornado, hurricane, flood, or ice storm) may
expose employees to additional or unfamiliar hazards (e.g.,
lodged trees or spring poles) that may more closely represent
the type of hazards present in the logging industry and predictably
would require more extensive protective measures.
B. Number of Trees Removed.
- The number of trees being removed on a particular project is an example
of the concept of project scale and information that the CSHOs
shall document in determining whether the Logging operations
- Logging operations typically involve harvesting large numbers
of trees for useable wood.
- In contrast, the removal of one or several trees from a lot typically
would not be considered a logging operation.
- Projects that involve the removal of multiple trees would be expected to
present greater complexity, for example, if the trees are
very large or tall. Such projects may involve several work
areas and work crews, and require the use of particular felling
methods to ensure the trees fall in the intended direction,
and necessitate the use of heavy machinery.
C. Type of Equipment or Machines Used to Perform Tree Removal Project.
- Logging operations usually involve the use of heavy machinery to cut, move, and
load trees [59 FR 51700, 51714-20]. For example:
- Logging operations often use mechanical felling machines, such
as tree shears or feller-bunchers to cut trees off at the
base and bulldozers or tractors to push trees over. In particular,
bulldozers are often used to clear trees from land in preparation
of construction activities. Logging operations also
typically involve the use of yarding machines (e.g., skidders,
tractors, or forwarders) to carry or drag felled trees to
a landing for transport or further processing, and log loaders,
log stackers and knucklebooms to lift logs onto trucks or
into whole tree chippers. The logging standard contains
provisions designed to protect employees from hazards associated
with use of this equipment [59 FR 51698]. If a tree removal
project involves these various types of rough terrain machines,
then it is likely the Logging operations standard
- By contrast, a simple tree removal using a chain saw to cut down a tree,
and a chipper to dispose of the branches and trunk pieces
would not likely fall under the Logging operations standard.
- It is important to note that the use of additional machinery (e.g., crane,
aerial lift) to facilitate the tree removal is not itself
a conclusive factor in determining if the Logging operations
standard applies to the operation. Generally, overhead and
gantry cranes, crawlers, locomotive cranes and truck cranes
are either not used, or infrequently used in logging operations
covered by the Logging operations standard [59 FR 51715].
D. The Location of the Tree Removal Project.
operations take place in rural or remote areas, on undeveloped
land, or on land that is to be developed. Performing tree removal
in rural or remote locations can add to the project complexity.
For example, in such locations hospitals and other medical services
may not be available or able to reach the worksite quickly enough
to ensure effective intervention. The first aid provisions of
the Logging operations standard are designed with these
circumstances in mind. If a number of trees are being removed
in a remote or rural location, it is likely that the Logging
operations standard applies [59 FR 51704-5]. However, the
location of the tree removal project, by itself, does not determine
whether the Logging operations standard applies. For
example, clearing a number of trees from a tract of land in
preparation for construction activities generally would be a
logging operation wherever it is performed (e.g., undeveloped
parcel in urban or suburban area) [59 FR 51699]. See Appendix
A, Example 1.
E. Size of Land/Lot Where Tree Removal Project is Performed.
Typically, logging operations are performed on large tracts of land where there
is space to cut trees down at once at the stump [59 FR 51706-8].
By contrast, on smaller lots, it may not be possible to remove
a tree simply by cutting it at the stump.
F. Factors that Do Not Apply.
The following factors should not affect the CSHO's determination about whether
the Logging operations standard applies to a particular
tree removal project:
- Whether the activity is done by a tree care employer or an outside contractor;
- Whether the activity is a regular part of the employee's work;
- Whether the activity is done by an employee, contracted on a temporary
employment basis, such as a day laborer;
- Whether the tree removal project is performed on private or public property;
- Whether the removed tree(s) has/have commercial value; and
- Size of trees removed.
G. Tree Removal Operations Using Mechanical Equipment.
In some instances, instead of removing a tree or trees by cutting them at the base
or piecing them out, employers remove them using equipment and
machines. This process, called mechanical felling, involves
using equipment such as bulldozers to knock or push down standing
trees. Mechanical felling often is used to clear land for construction.
This type of mechanical felling operations will generally be
subject to the requirements of the Logging operations
standard, regardless of the employer's industry sector or the
reason the trees are being removed.
H. National Office Clearance.
Prior to issuing any citations to employers engaged in small-scale tree removal,
or one whose primary business is performing tree care operations,
that is, the trimming, pruning, repairing, and maintaining of
trees, under the Logging operations standard, 29 CFR
1910.266, the Regional Supervisor will, through its Regional
Office, notify the Assistant Commissioner, or designee, who
will review the inspection findings to determine whether it
is appropriate to issue citations under the Logging operations standard.
III. General Inspection Procedures.
This section describes current OSHA standards that apply to tree removal operations,
regardless of whether they are within the scope of the Logging
operations standard. CSHOs shall evaluate compliance with
the following General Industry standards for all tree removal
operations. This section does not limit enforcement of any
other applicable OSHA standard or the General Duty Clause, Section
5-104(a) of the MOSH Act, but rather addresses some of the typical
hazards associated with tree care and tree removal operations.
Standards promulgated by OSHA after the issuance of this Instruction
may also apply. The following are examples of OSHA's current General
Industry standards that are generally applicable to tree removal operations:
A. Occupational Noise Exposure (29 CFR 1910.95).
Chain saws, chippers and other power tools emit high noise levels when in use. Employees
exposed above 90 dBA as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA)
must wear hearing protection. All employees exposed above 85
dB TWA must be included in a hearing conservation program. This
program must include noise monitoring, provision of adequate
hearing protection at no cost to the employee, baseline and
annual audiometric testing, and training in the hazards of noise
and the use of hearing protection. Employers shall be cited
under the relevant provisions of the noise standard if employees
are not provided with appropriate protective measures.
B. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart I).
CSHOs shall assess the employer's compliance with OSHA's PPE requirements at 29
CFR Part 1910 Subpart I, which mandates that for most types
of PPE, employers shall provide the equipment at no cost to
employees (29 CFR 1910.132(h) (72 FR 64342 (11/15/2007)). Note
that §1910.132(h) has certain exceptions from those requirements.
For example, §1910.132(h) does not require that employers pay
for "non-specialty safety toe protective footwear," provided
the employer permits such items to be worn away from work, or
for logging boots required by the Logging operations
standard. Also, the standard does not require that employers
pay for replacement PPE in cases where the employee has lost
or intentionally damaged the PPE.
CSHOs shall determine if employees are required to wear cut-resistant leg protection
while operating chain saws pursuant to §1910.132(a). However,
just as outlined in the Logging operations standard in
the note to §1910.266(d)(1)(iv), if an employer can show that
wearing cut-resistant leg protection creates a greater hazard
under the same circumstances, that requirement would also not
apply to tree care or tree removal operations. Employers shall
be cited under the relevant provisions of the personal protective
equipment standard(s) if employees are not provided with appropriate
C. Material Handling and Storage (29 CFR Part 1910. Subpart N).
CSHOs shall assess the employer's compliance with OSHA's material handling and
storage standards at 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart N, including
whether the employer has ensured that truck-mounted cranes are
operated and maintained in compliance with the Crawler locomotive
and truck cranes standard (29 CFR 1910.180). Among other
requirements, the standard prohibits hoisting an individual
on the crane load or hook (§1910.180(h)(3)(v)). This requirement
applies even though the American National Standard for Arboricultural
Operations, ANSI Z133.1-2006, §5.7.9, allows the hoisting of
personnel into position with a crane. An employer's reliance
on the ANSI is therefore not a defense to a violation of §1910.180(h)(3)(v).
An employer may, however, assert that compliance with the OSHA
standard is either impossible/infeasible or presents a greater
hazard to the employee. As with other affirmative defenses,
the employer bears the burden of proving these affirmative defenses.
- In accordance with the MOSH Field Operations Manual (FOM), Chapter V,
impossibility/infeasibility is established when compliance is:
- Functionally impossible or would prevent performance of the required work; and
- There are no alternative means of employee protection.
- A greater hazard defense exists when compliance with the standard:
- Results in greater hazards to the employee than noncompliance;
- There are no alternative means of employee protection; and
- An application of a variance would be inappropriate.
- 3. If there is reason to believe that either defense may be asserted by
an employer using a crane to position an employee, CSHOs shall
consider whether the following (non-exclusive) alternative
methods could have been used:
- Can an aerial lift position employees? Aerial lifts (e.g., bucket trucks
or cherrypickers) are available in many configurations,
some with booms of up to 46 meters. Aerial lifts with material
handlers are also available, though generally not with the
longest booms. Cranes may be used in addition to aerial
lifts if heavy limbs must be handled. Aerial devices used
in compliance with 29 CFR 1910.67 Vehicle-mounted elevating
and rotating work platforms are considered a safe method
of positioning employees.
- Is the tree safe to climb? Climbing decayed or damaged trees could be
hazardous. For instance, damage to tree bark from insect
infestation, or missing tree bark caused by fire, may make
climbing infeasible or more hazardous than using a crane.
If the tree is not damaged or decayed to the extent that
climbing would be unsafe, then climbing is normally considered
safe using the appropriate climbing equipment and practices.
- If it is impossible to use an aerial device and if climbing is unsafe, can a
personnel platform be suspended from a crane? Personnel
platforms meeting §1926.550(g)(2) are available in several
designs and, when used, will be treated as de minimis violations
of §1910.180(h)(3)(v). These platforms are required to be
designed to minimize tipping caused by personnel movement
through the use of an appropriate suspension system.
D. Protective Structures.
In some cases, certain machines (e.g., tractors, mechanical felling devices,
feller-bunchers) used in the removal of trees must be equipped
with falling object protective structures (FOPS) and/or rollover
protective structures (ROPS) that meet Society of Automotive
Engineers SAE J1040, April 1988, "Performance Criteria
for Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS) for Construction,
Earthmoving, Forestry, and Mining Machines" or J231,
January 1981, "Minimum Performance Criteria for Falling
Object Protective Structures (FOPS)." CSHOs shall assess
whether these types of equipment, if used, meet applicable OSHA
General Industry standards. In the event that there are no standards
addressing the specific hazard, CSHOs should consult with national
consensus standards such as, but not limited to, SAE J1040-1988
and J231-1981 in evaluating hazard recognition and feasible
abatement methods under Section 5(a)(1).
E. Hand and Portable Powered Tools and Other Hand-Held Equipment (29 CFR Part 1910,
CSHOs shall assess the employer's compliance with OSHA's General Industry standards
on the condition, use, and maintenance of hand and portable
powered tools (e.g., 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart P) where such
tools and equipment are being used. For example, chain saw equipment
specifications require that all chain saws be equipped with
devices to reduce the hazard of kickback. CSHOs shall determine
if there is a violation of 29 CFR 1910.242(a) when a chain saw
is not equipped with such devices. Although Section 1910.242
does not currently contain requirements for safe chain saw work
practice, recognition of the hazard of failing to follow safe
chain saw work practices is evidenced by requirements in Section
6.3 of ANSI Z133.1-2006. Therefore, unsafe chain saw work practices,
such as, but not limited to, not requiring that chains be started
on the ground or where firmly supported (i.e., no drop starting),
may be subject to citation under Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH
Act. Employers shall be cited under the relevant provisions
of Subpart P if employees are not provided with appropriate
F. Machinery and Machine Guarding (29 CFR Part 1910 Subpart O).
CSHOs shall assess whether the employer is complying with applicable General Industry
standards on machinery and machine guarding (29 CFR Part 1910
Subpart O). Employers shall be cited under the relevant provisions
of Subpart O if employees are not provided with appropriate
protective measures. In addition to Subpart O requirements,
if line clearance tree trimmers or qualified employees, as defined
in §1910.269, are within 10 feet of an electric power line,
the chipper requirements in §1910.269 would also apply (See
§1910.269(r)(2)). If employees conducting removal operations
are not qualified employees, this activity would be prohibited
by 29 CFR 1910, Subpart S.
G. First-Aid Providers and First-Aid Kits (29 CFR 1910.151).
CSHOs shall assess whether the employer is complying with OSHA's Medical services
and first aid standard (29 CFR 1910.151) for tree removal
operations not subject to the logging standard. The general
industry first aid standard requires that, if a hospital or
infirmary is not "in near proximity to the workplace," a person
or persons trained to render first aid must be designated (1910.151(b)).
For tree removal operations that are subject to the Logging
operations standard, 29 CFR 1910.266 has additional first-aid requirements.
The purpose of the first-aid provisions in §1910.151 is to ensure that adequate
first aid is available in the critical minutes between the occurrence
of injury and the availability of a physician or hospital care
for the injured employee. An employer who contemplates relying
on assistance from outside emergency responders instead of providing
on-site first-aid providers must take a number of factors into
account (e.g., nature of the hazards at the workplace, distance
to the nearest hospital/infirmary). In addition, CSHOs should
assess whether the employer has taken appropriate proactive
steps (such as making arrangements with emergency responders)
to ensure that emergency assistance will be readily available
if an injury occurs.
CSHOs shall assess whether the employer is complying with the first-aid supply
requirements in OSHA's Medical services and first aid standard
(§1910.151). Section 1910.151(b) requires employers to provide
first-aid supplies that are readily available at the job site
(§1910.151(b)). Appendix A (non-mandatory) to that standard
references ANSI Z308.1-1998 "Minimum Requirements for
Workplace First-aid Kits" as an example of minimal
contents of a generic first-aid kit that OSHA would consider
adequate for small worksites. Employers are also permitted to
provide first-aid supplies specific to the needs of their workplace.
H. Fire Extinguishers (29 CFR 1910.157).
Although the requirements in 29 CFR 1910.157 Portable Fire Extinguishers do not
apply to extinguishers provided for employee outdoor use, CSHOs
shall assess whether suitable fire control devices, such as
portable fire extinguishers, are available at locations where
flammable or combustible liquids are stored (29 CFR 1910.106(d)(7)).
I. Flammable and Combustible Liquids (29 CFR Part 1910 Subpart H).
Flammable and combustible liquids must be stored, handled, transported, and
used in accordance with the requirements of 29 CFR Part 1910
Subpart H. Subpart H contains specific requirements for, among
other things, the storage of flammable and combustible liquids
in portable containers. Employers shall be cited under the relevant
provisions of Subpart H if employees are not provided with appropriate
APPENDIX A: Practical Examples
Example 1: Logging in preparation for construction. The felling of trees in preparation
for construction activities, such as the building of roads, is
considered a logging operation. To the extent that an employer
is performing such an operation in preparation for construction
activities, it is performing general industry work, and the requirements
of the Logging operations standard as well as other applicable
sections of part 1910 apply [59 FR 51699].
Example 2: Logging in preparation for agricultural activities. As with activities
related to construction, the same reasoning applies to felling
of trees in preparation for agricultural activities (e.g., felling
trees to prepare land for crops). Felling of such trees is general
industry work and the requirements of the Logging operations
standard as well as other applicable sections of part 1910 apply.
29 CFR Part 1928 specifically references the applicability of
the Logging operations standard to felling of trees in
preparation of agricultural activities [59 FR 51699].
Example 3: Cable yarding. When the terrain is extremely rugged, and felled trees
and logs are otherwise inaccessible, logging operations may require
the use of cable yarding systems. Cable yarding, as defined in
the Logging operations standard, is the movement of felled
trees or logs from the area where they are felled to the landing
on a system composed of a cable suspended from spars and/or towers.
The trees or logs may be either dragged across the ground on the
cable or carried while suspended from the cable; a practice that
is prevalent in western States. Although the Logging operations
standard does not address construction or use of cable yarding
systems, the standard applies to all other logging activities
where cable yarding is used [59 FR 51698].
Example 4: Marking operations. The definition of "logging operations" in the Logging
operations standard includes "marking danger trees and trees/logs
to be cut to length" (29 CFR 1910.266(c)). OSHA intended that
marking include operations conducted attendant to, and at the
same time as, felling, cutting and moving trees in a particular
logging work site. Such marking operations include marking danger
trees, and sizing and marking felled trees to be cut to length.
These particular marking operations inform loggers working in
the area whether and how to cut trees. OSHA did not intend marking
operations to include those operations that are done independently,
or in advance of, cutting trees at a particular logging site.
These preparatory operations include marking of tracts of land
to determine the order in which tracts will be logged, and marking
and designating boundaries of tracts of land that will be bid
upon for harvesting. Harvesting of trees usually does not take
place on the tracts while these marking operations are being done
and such preparatory operations do not involve the typical hazards
of logging covered by the Logging operations standard [60 FR 47028].
Example 5: Limited Residential Removal. A homeowner hires a tree care company to
remove two diseased trees from a residential lot in a suburban
area. The size of the lot allows one tree to be felled at its
base but the other tree must be removed in sections. This tree
removal operation would not fall under the Logging operations
standard since the number of trees is small, the type of equipment
needed is limited, and the location of the project is not remote.
Example 6: Tree Trimming. A large retail establishment hires a tree care company
to thin branches from approximately 75 trees surrounding its parking
lot and access road. Limbs and branches are to be removed from
the trees without the removal of the trees themselves or the trunks.
Although the number of trees is large, the removal of trees does
not take place. Therefore, this activity would not fall under the Logging operations standard.
Example 7: Limited Weather Removal. A tree has partially fallen on a public road
or highway due to a passing thunderstorm. After the storm, the
local government hires a tree care company to remove the tree.
The tree care company is able to fully fell the tree without any
additional hazards being present. This tree removal operation
would not fall under the Logging operations standard.
Appendix B: References
A. 29 CFR 1910.266, Logging operations.
B. 29 CFR Part 1910 Subpart H.
C. 29 CFR Part 1910 Subpart I.
D. 29 CFR Part 1910 Subpart L.
E. 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart N.
F. 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart O.
G. 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart P.
H. 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart S.
I. 29 CFR 1910.269, Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution.
J. 29 CFR 1910.333, Selection and use of work practices.
K. 29 CFR 1910.180, Crawler, locomotive, and truck cranes.
L. 29 CFR 1910.151, Medical services and first aid.
M. 29 CFR 1910.106, Flammable and combustible liquids.
N. 29 CFR 1910.95, Occupational Noise Exposure.
O. Section 5-104(a)of the MOSH Act.
OSHA Instruction 02-01-019 (CPL 2-1.19), Logging operations,
Inspection Procedures and Interpretive Guidance, March 17, 1995.
OSHA Instruction 02-01-022 (CPL 2-1.22), Logging operations,
Inspection Procedures and Interpretive Guidance Including Twelve
Previously Stayed Provisions, September 27, 1996.
OSHA Instruction 02-01-038 (CPL 2-1.38) (PDF
Adobe Acrobat for free), Enforcement of the Electric
Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Standard, June 18, 2003.
S. American National Standard for Arboricultural Operations, ANSI Z133.1-2006,
Arboricultural Operations - Safety Requirements.
T. American National Standard for Power Tools, ANSI B175.1-2000, Gasoline-Powered
Chain Saws - Safety Requirements.