Know Your Crew

Importance of Knowing Your Crew

If one of your employees acted dizzy, shaky, and confused, would you just assume they had a few too many the night before and tell them to work it off?

However, if you knew this employee is diabetic and knew that these are symptoms of low blood sugar, you’d be much more concerned and would take appropriate action.

This is just one example of the importance of knowing your crew when it comes to serious health concerns.

Although most non-fatal tree worker incidents are due to trauma, there are also incidents related to illnesses and medical conditions. It’s important that you and your crew members are not only aware of any serious medical conditions fellow workers have, but also know how to properly respond to emergencies that may arise as a result.

Two common chronic medical conditions are diabetes and allergies. Both conditions can require prescription medications, so it’s important to know about the condition and make sure they carry the medication with them.

A person with diabetes may exhibit symptoms of high blood sugar or low blood sugar. Since low blood sugar occurs when the person doesn’t eat enough food for the energy they are exerting, this is likely to be what happens with tree workers. Symptoms of low blood sugar include shakiness, confusion, dizziness, headache, excess sweating, excess hunger, irritability, and pale skin.

Diabetics should always carry with them sugary food and/or drinks in case they experience low blood sugar. They may even carry glucose tablets that are made specifically for treating this condition. Co-workers should know where these are in case the person needs help getting them. If the person becomes unconscious, call 911 immediately and do not force food or drink.

Someone with severe allergies can experience anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock, when exposed to an allergen such as certain foods, insect stings, or plants like poison ivy. Anaphylaxis includes swelling of the airway and a sudden drop in blood pressure, both which are life threatening. Always make sure anyone who has been prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector has it with them, that crew members are aware of the allergy(ies), and that crew members know where the auto-injector is kept and how to use it.

Because of the critical nature of anaphylactic shock and because a second reaction called biphasic reaction can occur as long as 12 hours after the initial reaction, you should call 911 and get to the nearest emergency facility even if epinephrine has been administered and the person seems “fine.”

These and other conditions and how to respond to them are covered in your first aid/CPR training that is required by ANSI Z133 – 2017 Safety Requirements, section 3.2.5. Keep current with your training and “Know Your Crew!”

Written by: Margaret Hebert

Why Insurance is NOT Risk Management

Why Insurance is Not

Risk Management

Written by Eric Petersen, CIC

Video by Mick Kelly

“I practice risk management. I buy insurance.”

It’s staggering how many times I hear that phrase and unfortunately it is equivalent to “crown raising is a great structural pruning method.”

Simply put, insurance is NOT risk management. Insurance is a part of a successful risk management program, but should never be considered to be your entire source of risk management. Just like crown raising may be a part of the structural pruning, it is by far not the only aspect to properly pruning a tree.

There are five steps to the risk management process and, as an arborist, you subconsciously use these steps every day in the field. Sadly, because many tree care company owners are not programmed to consciously think about these five steps, they miss some of these steps when looking at their own business. This article is meant to help you apply the risk management process to your business so you are not left relying solely on insurance to protect all of the hard work you’ve put into your business.


1. Risk Identification – It starts with understanding the potential risks: what could possibly go wrong? The identification of potential risks can be done a number of ways; a few examples are by using checklists, surveys, or interviews with employees and other industry professionals.

As an Arborist – The visual inspection of a tree and surrounding property to determine what equipment you need for the job and what potential problems you may incur when working on that tree.

As a Business Owner – Think about your physical property, liability concerns to other people, your internal team and the business’ income to identify where the exposures are in your business.

2. Risk Analysis – For each risk that was identified, what is the likelihood of it actually happening and how severe of a situation will it cause? The frequency and severity of your risks will help you understand where to spend your time and money in preventing these risks.

As an Arborist – Based on the particulars of the job, you begin to set up the jobsite in your mind. How will you minimize damage to the lawn and set up the work site? Which tree needs to be worked on first to have the project go smoothly?

As a Business Owner – For each of the risks that you have identified, ask yourself, if this happened, how much would it impact my business? Making a Risk Map, where you put Severity on the top and Frequency on the side, will help you focus on the risks that will disrupt your business the most.

3. Risk Control – Once you know the likelihood and potential severity of your exposures, you need to create a plan to control those risks. Each risk can be addressed either by avoiding it all together, retaining the exposure or assuming the loss yourself, reducing the loss by trying to prevent it from happening, or lowering the impact by being prepared before it happens and transferring the risk to someone else. Spoiler Alert: Insurance doesn’t come into the picture until you want to transfer your risk to someone else!

As an Arborist – Before you start your job, conduct a job briefing with your crew, discussing all of the particulars of the job. That briefing is the risk control method of preventing an accident from happening by talking everything through before you start the work. It also serves as a way to reduce the impact of an accident by being prepared before something happens. If weather conditions change you can stop the job and avoid an injury or accident from happening. These are all examples of Risk Control techniques that you use every day.

As a Business Owner – Your goal is to minimize the risks to your company at the optimal cost. Installing or strengthening your safety program is a great risk control method. Creating a hiring and recruiting plan to employ the very best employees can limit the potential for employee issues or lawsuits. Understanding your company’s financial strength and where you can self-insure or retain the small things that come up everyday is critical in this step.

4. Risk Financing – We finally get to the point in the process where we talk about insurance! The decision as to how the risk will be paid for is made. Do you want to assume the risk and control it some way or do you want to buy insurance?

As an Arborist – You either decide what extra equipment or labor is needed to get the job done safely, or you decide to assume the risk of something happening with less crew members and/or not the right equipment. Your decision can be influenced by the availability of your insurance coverage and deductibles, however, whichever way you decide to perform the job is an example of risk financing.

As a Business Owner – When looking at your Risk Map, most tree care owners are willing to self insure or assume the financial risk of the low severity incidents. Anything that is in green in the above chart typically is self insured. The yellow and red items are things that pose a greater risk to your business’ overall financial health. Insurance is purchased for these risks.

5. Risk Administration – The last step in the risk management process happens after all of the planning and decisions have been made and when the plan is implemented. Part of this step is also to assess the effectiveness of your actions to improve upon your overall plan in the future.

As an Arborist – You perform the job and take mental or physical notes on how to do the job better in the future. These personal experiences are crucial for minimizing your risk on similar jobs in the future.

As a Business Owner – You begin to implement the plan by focusing on the largest impact risks first and what to do with them. Then move to lesser exposures that your business faces. All the while you want to assess how you are doing in each area in case you need to make adjustments.


Focusing on true risk management within your business will give you the ability to confidently plan and budget for the uncertainty as well as become more profitable because you have reduced the cost of accidents and injuries. Insurance should be part of this process, but should NOT be relied on as the only method of risk management.

Because working with tree care companies is all that we do, contact ArboRisk to have one of our team members help you create a solid risk management plan. Also, check out our New Heights Thrive Risk Management Package – this structured program can help grow your business and take your company to new heights!

Your Role Before the Paramedics Get There!

Your Role Before the Paramedics Get There!

The accident happens, the victim is rescued and down from the tree.  Now, you are waiting for the ambulance to arrive; you have already gone to the truck to get the First Aid kit.  Upon opening the First Aid kit you discover there is nothing in there to help your victim.

We, as an industry, need to re-think how the First Aid kit is stocked. This article is meant to help guide you when setting up your First Aid kit to ensure you have the right pieces to save a life before the paramedics get to the scene.

In addition to the traditional bandages, gauze and medical tape, your First Aid kit should also contain:

  • At least two tourniquets
  • Israeli Bandages
  • Compressed Bandages
  • Nasal Trumpet (nasopharyngeal airway)
  • SAM Splint

All First Aid kits on the truck should have these materials, however, it is also a good idea for a climber and a ground person to carry a small personal First Aid pouch with them whether in the tree or on the ground.  The climber can carry it attached to his climbing harness with a carabiner and the ground person can carry one hooked to his belt with a Velcro strap.

The aforementioned tourniquet can be used with one hand for the climber to apply.  It will take practice, but when you sever an artery, you will be glad you learned how to use it.  With a severed artery, you have less than four minutes to survive.  You know it is going to take longer for a rescuer to climb up the tree to retrieve you and descend with you than four minutes. Carrying a tourniquet as a climber could possibly save your life!

For the ground person, saving a crew member, having the tourniquet on your person rather than running back to the truck to retrieve the first aid kit saves time and possibly a life.

The Israeli Bandage and compression bandages are another great item to have in your First Aid kit on the ground person’s kit. They can be used as a tourniquet or compressed bandages for the head, chest, arms and legs.  Compressed bandages can be used to help stop bleeding for gaping wounds.

The nasal trumpet can be used to create ease of breathing. All you must do is cut the tube of the nasal trumpet to the person’s nose length and then firmly insert.

The SAM splint is used to treat broken bones and possibly create a neck brace to lessen mobility so the rescuer can bring the victim down.

Personalizing your own First Aid kit to include anything that you think might be an advantage for saving your crew member’s life is an important part of taking safety seriously. Remember you are the first responder and if you are well prepared it might save your or your crew member’s life.

Because training is required for most of these life-saving methods, we would encourage you to contact our ArboRisk Thrive Consultants, Dawn Thierbach or Margaret Spencer, to sign up for one of their upcoming Trauma Classes.

Written by: Dawn Thierbach

How to Get Your Tree Service Found on Google

How to Get Your Tree Service Found On Google

I often find myself questioning how people knew where to eat or the answer to obscure questions before Google was created. Google has simplified the lives of individuals in more ways than one, but if you were to ask a digital marketer what they think about the platform, their answer might shock you.

In today’s digital marketing world, Google is king, and conquering it is no easy task. With ever changing algorithms, showing up is not a one and done project that can be finished in an afternoon. Tackling your search appearance is a process that takes time and specific knowledge.

So, how do you get your tree service to show up when a prospective customer is searching? Here are three steps to help your business be found on Google:

Tell Google your website exists: Did you know Google has a host of free marketing programs that help with your search appearance? One of them being Google Search Console. This program gives you detailed information to help optimize your website to ensure that you are showing up. Before you can gather and analyze that information, you need to say “hey Google, my business has a website”. Without submitting your website, the elusive Google Search bots would eventually crawl there, but by giving Google a heads up that your site exists, it speeds up the process dramatically. To do this, send a site map over on Google Search Console. If you’re like many, you’re probably sitting thinking, “What in the world is a site map?. Head over to this blog here to learn how to pull a site-map from your website and submit for indexing.

Discover what keywords you want for your business: Picture your ideal client surfing the web for a tree care company, what services do you want your business to show up for when searched? The 3-5 word phrase that came to mind is a keyword. Good keywords are vital because there’s a correspondence between what words are being typed in the search field and the words you’ve written on your website. So being an insurance agency for the tree care industry, we want to be seen when tree services are in the market for insurance. The keywords we incorporate into our website are, “tree service insurance”. Based on these keywords we create specific content around that phrase so we are likely to appear when that is searched.

PRO TIP 1: Do a search in an incognito Google Chrome browser with your desired keyword and see what type of content is coming up. Google evaluates a website’s content and displays what they believe is related to that search. This way, you can add content to your website based on what Google believe is relevant to your desired keywords.

Rule the local search: If you run a tree service in Southeastern Wisconsin, you don’t want to show up on Google when someone is searching for a tree service in Washington state. The answer to this is local search. Most people take to Google when searching for local businesses, instead of driving through their hometown. In order to ensure your website is being found in your desired location, you have to prove that you are local. Google My Business is an online directory of local businesses. This allows you to be found in your local area more easily because it’s just another hint to Google that your business is relevant to what users are searching. To get started, claim your business on Google My Business and create your profile. List all relevant business information such as address, website and contact information.

PRO TIP 2: Create a review generation campaign for customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business profile. This helps further solidify the legitimacy of your business in Google’s eyes. Added bonus if they include the type of job that was done and in what geographical area.

The key to being found on Google is to be on Google! By utilizing the marketing platforms they’ve created, you can analyze and submit data to help improve your search rank. Becoming the #1 business on Google doesn’t happen overnight, but using these three steps can help your business begin to show up more!

Written by: Amanda Eicher

4 “Knows” to a Yes!

4 “Knows” To a Yes!

“Sales Training? Ha! We don’t have time for that, we just do on-the-job sales training.”

Have you caught yourself saying that before? If not, I’m sure you’ve heard other tree care companies say that. Whether you use an outside sales training program or not, this article will give you four simple points to discuss with your team to help close more sales.

We all know the most common mistake that every sales person makes is that they talk too much and don’t spend enough time listening to the prospective customer. So at ArboRisk, we’ve come up with the 4 “Knows” to a Yes, which is a series of questions designed to help us understand our prospects better and close more sales. I personally believe, these should be taught to everyone of your team members, not only the sales people to maximize the impact on your organization.

Here are the 4 Knows that should be part of your sales training:


Know the Why – Why did the prospective customer call? Not what did they call about, but WHY. You have to dig deeper to learn the reason they want the tree work done. This can be accomplished by simply asking them “what is your vision for your yard?”. If you uncover the underlying reason for the call, your sale has just become immensely easier. Here is a full article that I wrote on this topic (The Most Important Question to Ask Your Customer).


Know your prospective customer – Was it the decision maker that called or is there another one you need to know about (spouse, business partner, village board)? Have they had professional tree work done in the past? Knowing who the prospective customer is as well as learning if they can afford your services goes a long way in determining whether or not they are a good fit for your company. Each decision maker may have a little different reason for wanting the work done, so understanding how the decision will be made is also important part of this process.


Know how you can help this customer – Knowing the strengths of your company is vital for all employees in your company to understand. When anyone from your team communicates with a prospective customer, they have the chance to continue to move the buyer along the customer journey towards a sale. They don’t have to know all of the scientific reasons and exact methods that could be used on the tree, but they should know of past examples of how your company has helped similar situations before.


Know how to say “no” – If you’ve figured out the first 3 Knows, this one should be easy. Being able to politely and professionally walk away from a job that isn’t within your scope is a skill that needs to be practiced and taught, but once mastered this skill helps eliminate wasteful bids and unprofitable or perhaps unsafe jobs. Having a few referral partners within your area that will gladly accept work that is outside your specialty is necessary for a successful walk away. I recently wrote an entire article on walking away from a job that you can read here (The Power of Walking Away).


At your next sales meeting talk about these four “Knows” and how each of your team members can begin incorporating these into their daily conversations with prospective customers. If you need additional help with your sales training, check out ArboRisk’s Sales and Marketing Package! We can help you get more of the right jobs with your ideal client immediately!