The Advancing Arboriculture Award

The "Advancing Arboriculture Award" was created as a partner to the "Legislator of the Year Award" to provide TCIA with another avenue to recognize support for our issues beyond an award from our political action committee.

This award is given to a governmental agency, institution or green industry partner, that has worked to advance legislation, regulation or practices favorable to the tree care industry.

Nominations for the Advancing Arboriculture Award are made by the TCIA staff and the Board of Directors of the TCIA. The recipient is honored at TCIA’s annual Winter Management Conference.

Current winner

2014 Advancing Arboriculture Award

There are stories that no one wants to hear, yet they’re stories that carry important lessons that will save others from injuries and deaths. They are stories being told by Laura Styles and her co-workers in the California Occupational Health Branch’s Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program.

The FACE program tracks and investigates workplace fatalities, and makes recommendations on how to prevent similar incidents. Their recent stories have included a worker who was killed after being thrown against a brush chipper, and another who died from a fall while installing solar panels.

The traditional FACE Report consists of a written summary of a fatal accident, with suggestions for how it could have been prevented. However, California FACE has departed from convention in using video storytelling to share the tragic stories that carry life-saving lessons (view a sample below).

“We think these stories are going to resonate with viewers and prevent future deaths,” says Styles. “We want people to realize that this could happen to them, and provide the tools to prevent workplace deaths. The data charts and summary tables alone don’t show the personal devastation that these incidents cause.”

The FACE video tells the story of Antonio, a worker who was thrown against a wood chipper after a rope became tangled in the machinery. Styles’ team worked closely and thoughtfully with the victim’s employer, a former TCIA-member company that places strong emphasis on education and recognized the value in participating in the project. His co-workers reenacted what happened on the day of the fatal incident. The man’s widow didn’t want her husband’s life, or death, to be forgotten and contributed photographs of happier times.

Laura Styles and her co-workers reached out to Peter Gerstenberger, TCIA’s senior advisor for safety, compliance & standards, for review and suggested changes.

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Government outreach efforts don’t usually involve storytelling, but it’s gaining greater acceptance as an educational tool. This video is available in English and Spanish.

They are currently working on a story related to the death of a palm trimmer.

Laura Styles and her co-workers Hank Cierpich, James Rogge, Egils Kronlins and Robert Harrison represent worthy recipients of TCIA’s Advancing Arboriculture Award.

Past winners

Review our archive of past Advancing Arboriculture award winners.