OSHA plans to convene for possible Tree Care Operation Standard

OSHA is planning to convene a Small Business Advocacy Review panel in early 2020 on a possible tree care operations safety standard.

The panel will consist of members from the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration, OSHA, and the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, will listen to and report on what Small Entity Representatives that would potentially be affected by the draft rule have to say.

According to a press release on Dec. 17th from the Small Business Administration, the potential standard would likely cover “employees who perform tree care operations, such as pruning, maintaining, repairing or removing trees, as well as establish safe work practices for such operations.” The regulation would apply to municipalities along with employers who “occasionally perform tree care and removal as part of their primary operations (examples include, residential and commercial construction and remodeling, landscaping, golf course maintenance, power and pipeline clearing, certain agricultural operations, etc.).”

 This potential standard would be a new standard in 29 CFR Part 1910: Tree Care Operations.

The Small Business Administration is seeking volunteers to assist the panel, namely from small businesses, small nonprofit organizations and small governmental jurisdictions. Employers potentially affected by the proposed rule are asked to contact Bruce Lundegren, assistant chief counsel at SBA, at bruce.lundegren@sba.gov or (202) 205-6144.

According to the Fall 2019 Unified Regulatory Agenda published on Nov. 20th, OSHA uses a patchwork of standards to address hazards in the tree care industry, which petitioned the agency for rulemaking more than a decade ago. OSHA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in September 2008.