If you have to hoist a climber into a tree with a crane, we recommend that you document your reasons in writing. It's the law in Maryland and highly advisable everywhere else.
OSHA's issue with cranes focuses on the practice of hoisting a climber into a work position. This practice violates the federal OSHA standard. Both Maryland and Virginia OSHA adopted arborist rules that permit the climber to be hoisted, but only when it provides the safest or only feasible means of access. The language in both laws is consistent with ANSI Z133.
The burden of proof is on you to establish that alternative means of tree access are either infeasible or less safe. Maryland OSHA takes it one step further and requires written justification.
TCIA has a members-only publication containing forms and diagrams that may be used to justify your next crane job. The "Guidance for Crane Practices in Arboriculture" is available online here, strictly for TCIA members. (Please keep in mind that this publication is written from the perspective of compliance with federal OSHA rules, but its guidance is entirely applicable in both MD and VA.)
TCIA members with compliances questions or trouble accessing the document can contact TCIA at 603-314-5380 or via email. If you are not a TCIA member, but interested in learning more about the perks of membership, contact the Membership department at 603-314-5380 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partners Advancing Commercial Treecare
TCIA would like to thank the following crown partners whose commitment to our work is extraordinary.