Imagine you hire a tree care company to take care of the trees on your property. They seemed like a competent group – sincere and clean-cut, although perhaps a vague on some points regarding tree care. That’s OK – its only the trees. The workers in the company seem young and energetic, they’ll do a good job. After all, it’s not rocket-science. And, the price is good.
Now imagine you get a call one day to come home from work – there’s been an accident. One of the young men working for the company has fallen out of a tree. By the time you get there, it is too late. This young man has died in your yard, with his blood still on the lawn.
A terrible thought. But, let’s take it one step further. Because the company seemed so sincere and because their price was good, you never checked to see if the company owner held an arborist license or was adequately insured as to workman’s compensation and liability. In fact, the company held no insurance. Now, the young man’s family is seeking to sue, and has set their sights on your homeowner’s insurance due to your lack of due diligence in affirming that the company you hired was properly covered.
CTPA takes a strong stance against the sort of lack of professionalism described here. CTPA is a strong defender of the Arborist Law, which requires that anyone who ‘advertises, solicits or contracts’ to practice arboriculture for hire in the State of Connecticut be licensed. This does not necessarily mean that each climber and plant health control applicator has to have passed the licensing exam, but it does mean that they should be working under the supervision of someone who has.
Studying for the license includes getting to know “the proper methods of arboriculture and the dangers involved”. This includes becoming familiar with the details of a document known most commonly as “ANSI Standard Z133 – the Safety Standard.” Reference to this standard is included as part of the testing process. As professionals, once licensed, arborists can be held accountable if they do not act in accordance with this standard.
Just as importantly, CTPA encourages all companies and all members to know what is needed and required with respect to being considered adequately insured. Yes, of course, insurance costs money. That cost, along with the cost it takes to become sufficiently knowledgeable and experienced to be able to pass the arborist exam, are among the key reasons why true professionals cost more.
However, no one really wants to come home to the nightmare scenario laid out above. CTPA believes that safety is a cultural thing and a team sport, in which everyone has a role to play. That includes the property owner, who only puts him- or herself at risk along with those doing the work when they do not insist on hiring safe, professional and credentialed tree companies.
Always ask to see the arborist license of the person with whom you are speaking. Always request a written copy of the proof of insurance.