Health and Safety Measures for Tree Contractors While on the Job

The outbreak of COVID-19 caused drastic changes in the way tree contractors communicate with clients and provide their service. With raised health concerns, customers became more cautious about hiring service providers, which is why educating them about preventive measures is extremely important. 

To make it easy for both tree service contractors and their customers, we’ve compiled a list of the health and safety measures that professionals have to follow while on the job.

Routine Precautions and General Guidelines

Maintain a clean and hygienic workspace

As a business owner, you need to supply your team with disinfectants. These should be used to clean any surfaces that are used or touched regularly, such as:

  • Door handles
  • Power tools
  • Vehicle interiors
  • Operating controls

Promote regular personal hygiene habits 

Make sure your employees do thorough and regular handwashing before, during (whenever possible), and after the completion of a tree service. In the absence of handwashing facilities, supply the team with alcohol-based hand sanitizers (containing at least 60% alcohol).

Keep client interaction to a minimum

Whenever possible, keep the communication with your clients over the phone or via video conversations. Where applicable, encourage your clients to stay indoors while your employees are on the job site to avoid unnecessary encounters. In addition, make sure to exchange estimates, invoices, and other documents electronically wherever possible to minimize the interaction between clients and employees. Business owners should also encourage cashless transactions through online, remote, or electronic payment platforms. 

Measures Specific to the Arboriculture Industry

Employee Rotation

Your team members should stick to the same crews, worksites, and duties, to minimize the risk of infection and/or transmission. This includes keeping these teams together in the same vehicles as well.

It’s important to avoid putting people together in closed spaces unless absolutely mandatory, so if it’s possible, encourage your employees to arrive at the job site directly instead of reporting to your central location first.

In preparation for conducting a tree service, employees should properly disinfect all hard surfaces, such as vehicles, door handles, heavy machinery, workplace tools and gear, and other supplies.

Meal & Rest Breaks

Your team should not share food and water. Each person should prepare their own meal for the day. It’s important to avoid clustering your people during their breaks, especially when it comes to eating in fleet vehicles or other enclosed areas. 

During each break, people should keep a minimum distance of 6 feet.


The best approach to planning your workflow is to designate certain employees to handle certain tasks each day. This means, avoid rotating employees to do different jobs each day (unless you can’t avoid it). For example, designate one employee to load or unload tools from the truck, to drive the team to the job site, to lock and unlock the office, etc.

Make sure each assignment stays with the same person to ensure as little exposure and contact with other team members as possible. 

As the owner of the business, you should identify the “high-risk areas” before your employees return to work. These are the areas where social distancing is more challenging or where your team usually gathers. Put up signs promoting social distance (6 feet) where possible or restrict the use of these areas to one-man use only.

You need to find the “choke points” as well and impose the same measures. For the tree care industry, these points may include:

  • Lunch area
  • Truck toolboxes
  • Refueling areas
  • Chipper infeed area
  • Rigging lines 

Key Business Owner Considerations

As tree care companies have all been impacted by COVID-19 all around the world, there are several key questions that each business owner should be regularly thinking about. For example, these could be:

  • Are the procedures in my company up to date with my state’s health department guidelines?
  • Do I need to take extra precautions for a certain tree job? For example, when we operate in certain areas?
  • Are there certain jobs that are best left for after the threat of COVID-19 has passed? Is the job we have been hired to do essential?   


As an employer, you need to be very careful about disclosing the personal medical information of your employees to individuals outside the company. You need to notify state officials and all relevant personnel that may have come in close contact with a person who tested positive. If there is someone who did, you should ask them to go into self-quarantine for 14 days. 

It’s important to communicate to your team that they should self-monitor for symptoms and signs of COVID-19 and let you know as soon as they suspect possible exposure to the virus. 

To learn more about prevention of the virus, check TCIA’s guidelines as well as the World Health Organization’s Q&A section. Don’t forget to update your Google My Business listing if there have been changes in the way you do your business as a result of COVID-19. More details here.