Protecting Your Fellow Workers: Chris Girard’s CTSP Story
Girard Tree Service is a small family run business in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. As the owner and operator, Chris Girard understands that it is his responsibility to ensure the safety of those that work for him.
When Chris started working in the tree care industry, he notes that there weren’t a lot of people around who could guide him in his pursuit to gain knowledge and work safely in the industry. “I realized that I needed to find and read as much as I could before blindly jumping up into the trees,” he says.
He contacted TCIA and began studying, reading, and asking questions. Eventually he started his own business. “Building a business in these tough economic times is very difficult,” Chris admits. “But the help of TCIA, as well as running a safe company with the proper CTSP, will enable me to succeed.”
Chris became a CTSP in 2008 and now acts as the safety “coach” for his company. This has been an important tool for Chris. “It's not just a title, but an attitude that I now take with me to the jobsite, always aware that we constantly have to be on our toes and think about the safety to those around us, as well as to ourselves.”
As CTSPs like Chris work to develop a culture of safety within their company, their efforts pay off in a variety of ways. “Being a CTSP has enabled me to be a more thorough climber and tree worker and allowed me to better plan my work programs to ensure that everyone stays safe,” says Girard.
One of the most important lessons Chris has learned since becoming a CTSP is that everyone learns at a different pace and in a different style. “CTSP allows me to better teach each person and tailor their training based on their strengths while also working on their weaknesses to make them safer, better overall workers,” he says.
“No matter how small or large your company is, what really matters is keeping those people who work for you as safe as possible. CTSP gave me the skills to be able to do this on a regular basis,” says Chris. “I would certainly encourage other companies to look into the CTSP program.”
Not Just for Tree Care Pros: Dave McQuaid’s CTSP Story
“We took a somewhat different track than most who are in the tree industry,” explains Dave McQuaid, a crew foreman at Nelson Tree in Pennsylvania.
Dave is also the head instructor at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) 1919 school for line clearance tree apprentices. Local 1919 is the only IBEW local in the US that represents just tree trimmers and was also the first to have the Line Clearance Tree Trimmers recognized as an apprentice trade through the US Department of Labor. IBEW currently had five contractors working in the Pittsburgh area – they all participate in the apprentice program together and a representative from each sits on the apprentice Board.
At the IBEW school, Dave is responsible for teaching the apprentices about tree trimming and line clearance work. He enrolled in the CTSP program to meet and establish contacts in the industry, particularly with safety-minded individuals, while also enhancing his safety knowledge. “I was impressed with the level of information shared, as well as the willingness to share it with others,” says Dave. “The CTSP instructors not only shared great info, but they did so in a way that was easily understandable... not an easy task.”
Dave uses this knowledge both while instructing apprentices at the IBEW and working with his colleagues at Nelson Tree. “As a crew leader, I have the responsibility to hands-on teach more, as well as facilitating the day to day of the crew.”
Dave’s CTSP education has been a beneficial step forward for his career, both out on the worksite and in the classroom. And no matter where he is, Dave proudly wears his CTSP stickers on his hardhat.