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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Environmental Conservation

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Arboricultural work is inherently dangerous, with more serious injuries and fatalities than most other professions. Safety standards exist in some jurisdictions, but it is unclear how many standards exist, how they compare to one another, and whether (and how many) jurisdictions share standards. To establish a baseline understanding of these issues, my objectives were to (i) develop a database of existing standards, (ii) identify the most frequently occurring safety topics and (iii) describe similarities and differences in safety topics among standards from different countries. I worked with a variety of contacts and traditional university library resources to identify, obtain, analyze, and compare arboricultural safety standards from around the world. I established a database of standards and found that various types of standards exist among countries: most countries used locally developed standards and industry standards were the most common types of standards because of industry professional’s expertise in arboricultural work safety matters. I analyzed the contents of 4 areas of arboricultural work categories in standards: General safety requirements (GSR), personal protective equipment (PPE), chainsaw (CS) and tree climbing (TC). GSR and PPE categories had the most proportion of common safety topics as compared to CS and TC. I identified most common safety topics in all 4 categories which shed light onto some of the areas of safety practices which are commonly recognized as important, while least common safety topics suggest areas of arboricultural work that may or may not be useful in future revisions of standards. There were 7 groups of countries most similar in the types of standards which they use, suggesting that countries can influence one another in adopting safety practices and that there are regional and international cooperation between countries in developing standards. My findings can be used by safety committees around the world in developing standards, as well as for the ISA’s International Safety Committee (ISC) to initiate an international safety standard. This study is novel and a stepping-stone for future research in evaluating the effectiveness of standards in reducing arboricultural work incident rates.


First Advisor

Brian Kane

Second Advisor

David Bloniarz