Training for anyone is important - a proper training program, in any sport discipline, can make us fitter, stronger, faster and generally more effective.
Arboriculture is an interesting profession in that, for the most part, the training you receive is put immediately to the test, and the training often is utilized day-in day-out. This is quite different that, say, a fireman, who may (or may not) in their entire career storm a burning building. In fact, as industrial athletes, I feel our professions most resembles Mountain Guides- although, unlike them, we do not actually have an intensive, comprehensive, and required system of training. To put it bluntly, we have very highly trained guys, and we have Uncle Charlie with Pickup and Chainsaw, often bidding on the same jobs.
Nonetheless, as an arborist, each day we are working at height, running chainsaw in trees, felling trees or rigging out large heavy pieces, and generally utilising all of our skills to get trees (or tree parts) safely to the ground.
The fatality rates for arborists are sobering - every 1.5 days, in the United States and Canada, a person is killed doing tree work or logging. There is, however, something of a silver lining to this statistic - many of these are 'part-timers', or even exuberant homeowners. Nonetheless, even the most skilled and well-trained can make mistakes.
To this day, annually, I read Accidents in North American Mountaineering. It is a compilation and analysis of most critical sport, trad, ice and alpine accidents, and is an invaluable resources to climbers. Wouldn't it be great if we had such a formalized resource? Wouldn't it be wonderful if, like the ACMG (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides) or IMGA (International Mountain Guides Association) we had a formalized, structured and comprehensive training, licensing and insuring body for doing tree work.
Certainly, that is something to strive for- until then (and while I don't normally like to spread hillbilly-jerry springer-type-video)... we'll keep seeing this.