Top 5 States With Most Tree Trimming Injuries, Deaths

Tree care is the fourth most dangerous job in the country, according to a new report.

Tree Triage
Tree Triage

According to a report released by Tree Triage, a national tree-trimming service, there are several states that fare worse than others when it comes to the job of tree care. 

And while articles with top five and top 10 lists are interesting to read, what's really important is staying safe. For best practices to stay safe in the tree trimming industry, read OSHA's Tree Trimming Safety handbook

To compile its report, the company analyzed 20 years of OSHA reports related to tree care. Any incident noted between Sept. 23, 2001 and Sept. 23, 2021 was analyzed for severity and cause. To control for population differences, the company compared the data from OSHA with population data from 2020 and weighed overall danger based on incidents per 100,000 people. hat they found was pretty interesting. 

Tree TriageTree Triage

Most Dangerous States

In the tree care industry, where workers are pruning, removing stumps and branches, cabling and bracing, fertilizing and more, there are many potential risks. According to OSHA, some of the most common hazards are suffocation, getting caught in equipment, electrocution, falling and being struck by tree branches and falling trees. 

For the purposes of the report, Tree Triage defined injuries as physical harm ranging from minor abrasions to broken bones to paralysis and death. The more severe the injury, the more weight it was given when tabulating results. 

The following states have the most tree-trimming incidents:

1. California

2. West Virginia

3. Florida

4. Maryland

5. Oregon

Tree TriageTree Triage

The following states have the least incidents:

1. Alabama

2. Colorado

3. Indiana

4. Minnesota

5. Mississippi

6. South Carolina

7. Tennessee

According to the report, California has the most tree care industry injuries, at 296 for the 20 year period, or roughly 15 per year. It also had the most injuries per capita, with 0.75 injuries per 100,000 people. Tree trimming injuries are more than 20 times more likely to occur in California than in any other state. Maryland and Oregon are far less populated than California, with about a sixth of the population. However, there are only 0.23 and 0.33 injuries, respectively, per 100,000 people in these states. An injury per 100,000 residents is more than three times as likely to occur in California, the report says. 

Interestingly, the following states have had no reported tree trimming injuries during the past 20 years:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Wyoming

Tree Trimming FatalitiesTree Triage

Tree-trimming Industry Fatalities

When it comes to deaths in the industry, California once again is reporting the highest numbers. West Virginia has the highest number of deaths per capita. The states with the highest fatality rate are (unranked):

  • California
  • West Virginia
  • Connecticut
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Florida
  • Maryland 

Only seven states reported no fatalities over the past 20 years: Alaska, Montana, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, according to the report.

Vermont and Washington D.C. were in a close second, with only one reported fatality over the 20-year span. Exactly half of all states reported five or fewer deaths related to tree trimming, meaning there are one or fewer every four years.

Read the rest of the report here