As California palm trees grow, the older fronds are typically removed when they turn brown. This is a dangerous task, and many palm tree trimmers have suffered severe injuries while working at heights often exceeding 25 feet. When the dead fronds are cut or pulled off, other fronds could collapse onto the worker. The excessive weight of those fronds could trap the worker and cause suffocation.
On a recent Wednesday morning, Firefighters in Fresno rushed to the aid of a palm tree trimmer who was facing suffocation if they could not get to him in time. Reportedly, a homeowner who arranged for landscapers to trim the palm tree in her front yard called 9-1-1 after hearing the tree trimmer's calls for help. The worker was working in the tree at a height of at least 25 feet. The first firefighters to arrive say their 24-foot ladder was too short, and they had to call for additional help.
Firefighters started to remove fronds from the man, but they were careful not to cut his safety rope, which they could not see among the palm fronds. When the mass of fronds that trapped the worker collapsed, rescuers could provide oxygen and other emergency treatment to the worker. Firefighters say that the mass of fronds was comparable to the size of a small car. Reportedly, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health arrived at the scene to investigate the incident.
The homeowner says she went to see the palm tree trimmer in the hospital, and although the extent and severity of his workplace injury are not known, it is clear that he was fortunate to have been saved in time. He might be eligible for workers' compensation benefits to cover his medical expenses and lost wages. He would also be free to utilize the skills of an experienced California workers' compensation attorney to assist throughout the benefits claims process.