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Hey guys, Had a small accident in a spruce tree on Wednesday. 25 foot up the main trunk during a take down, stripping the lateral branches with the silky, cut a branch on my right side from the topside until it swung down and hung on its last fibers. Grabbed to hold the branch with my left from the underside and proceeded to finish the cut off with my right hand from the topside again. The final cut went through far easier than expected and the final destination of the blade ended up hitting the topside of my wrist/forearm with some pull motion. Took a quick look as soon as it happened with blood squirting from the cut, got myself down from the tree asap and got my lad to get the first aid kit and the customer rushed me to A&E. The result of this silly mistake ended in 4 internal stitches. It had cut to muscle and cut a superficial vein and I have 9 external stitches. Thankfully no tendon damage and I should be back to work in a few weeks. Keep safe guys!
So I was thinking about my experiences in the trades and maintenance over the years, risks I've taken and close shaves. Came up with a little graphic to analise the likelihood of an accident happening. Very amateurish stuff, I grant - but here it is anyway. Experience / \ / \ / \ Time --- --- --- Equipment This applies to any practical trade, but we'll play with arb... If a worker, a one-man-band, undertakes a job, there is a risk of accident. The risk is a percentage chance. The job is dismantling a tree. If the worker has no experience, no time (ie. a deadline, working to beat the weather, daylight etc) and minimal equipment (ladder, blunt handsaw) then the percentage chance of accident would be high. Lets say 99% The guy will feature on Youtube. But - if the worker has one of the corners of the triangle, the % chance goes down. But it will still be unacceptably high, maybe 33% Experience - but no time or equipment. An experienced, competent guy could do it, even with a ladder and rusty handsaw, and working under pressure. At gunpoint, let's say (hypothetically). Yes, he could do it, but it would be crazy proposition. Time - an amateur with aforementioned crappy equipment and no training could do it, given time. If he had unlimited time, only worked on dry calm days, plenty of rest breaks to walk around the tree and think and plan his cuts and ladder position...yes, it coulf be done...but still a crazy proposition. Equipment - the homeowner, no experience, and no time, hires a massively overspecced MEWP, buys a pro saw, loads of brand new chains (because he doesn't know about filing) and all the PPE including the jacket. And does the job before nightfall. Yes, could happen, still a crazy proposition. Ok, still crazy, but accident chance is down to 33% in these three scenarios. So lets say the worker has two points of the tripod. Experience + Time (but no suitable equipment) - in this scenario we have a resourceful pro with loads of time to plan and carry out the work. He could compensate for the lack of equipment by using his other two tripod points to make his own harness out of ropes, and other clever tricks. Press into service equipment from other trades and modify it to do the job. Work with extreme caution and only under ideal weather conditions...Not the ideal situation, but doable. The accident chance goes down two 3% Time + Equipment (but no Experience) - so the homeowner with all the gear again - big MEWP etc. And unlimited time. Again, doable, 3%. Equipment + Experience (but limited Time) - This is where most of the pro Arbtalker's find themselves on a regular basis, I would think. No further explanation needed. Ok...So if we have all three points of the triangle, we're golden. Safe as can be. In reality though, it would be rare for any job event to have all three in high measure. Obviously, there are scales of Experience, Time and Equipment, so its more complex than my outline. My point being, that each triangle point can be increased, and if one is lacking, it should be increased. The three should be enriched equally and in balance. Its better to have all three levelled up to 2 then to have two levelled up to 3. On the other hand, having strong suits in two corners can kind of compensate for weakness in the third corner. In my final analysis, I propose that Time is the most crucial corner. With Time, the other two corners can be levelled up. Time to practice in a safe way to gain experience, study and research etc. Time to acquire gear cheaply by shopping for bargains, swaps, e-bay whatever. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts