Chicago Water Management Safety Update

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Yesterday, I was faced with another questionable situation, this tree was within the 5 foot limit set by the Chicago Department of Water Management. Let me explain, Chicago Department of Management said not to dig a ditch unless a tree was removed so the tree could not fall injure or kill a worker or a Chicago Citizen if a wind storm blew the tree over. All trees within the 5 foot limit must be reported to the Forestry Division for review. I reminded my boss of the rule and called my supervisor and nothing was ever done. Maybe if a worker or two is killed, the rule will be enforced. Another million or two settlement will not make a difference to a widow and children. Photo by Patrick McDonough.

7 Replies to “Chicago Water Management Safety Update”

  1. I hope you’re not saying that you are in favor of killing a tree for the sole purpose of preventing the remote possibility of one being ‘blown’ over, because it’s roots on one side were destroyed by the very person(s) who are ‘at risk’?

    And, is this ‘risk’ really a ‘risk’, especially with a healthy tree’s strong root system?

    Or is it more a case of a ‘rule’ being excepted to, on a case by case basis, a rule that was crafted for a worst case scenario, rather than for the typical realities encountered on a day-to-day basis.

    I’m all for worker safety, but a little common sense should be used in every situation.

    Unless there is an observable lack of strength and mass in a tree’s root system, relative to it’s height, trunk size and branch balance, to say that every tree within a 5 foot radius of a working trench should be killed and removed prior to digging the trench is, to put it mildly, ‘ridiculous over-kill’.

    If your article was meant to cite the management of your department for failing to follow it’s own protocols, as in your statements “All trees within the 5 foot limit must be reported to the Forestry Division for review.” and “I reminded my boss of the rule and called my supervisor and nothing was ever done.”, all well and good, as it’s reasonable to seek expert advice from the Forestry Division, as the rules require.

    I’d hate to see the wanton removal of healthy trees, merely because of the mindless application a valid rule, by a non-expert management/labor drone(s).

  2. I thank you for your intelligent assessment. I do not want any tree removed unless deemed necessary by the Chicago Department of Forestry. What you could not see in the picture was the water service was in the very right side of the ditch. The Chicago Department of Water Management still does not enforce the trenching regulations and the rules regarding safety. However, Chicago Department of Water Management have threatened foreman with job termination when trees have fallen over. Workers could have been killed. That foreman had no political clout, by the way.

  3. Thank you for clarifying your article.

    Your reply to my comment went a long way in allowing me, and others, to understand more clearly what the issue was/is.

    I humbly suggest that when you compose an article, you are safe in assuming that many, if not most, of those who regularly read your articles are fundamentally ignorant of the important details of the issues you are raising.

    A bit more detailed explanation within your articles will do much to improve our understandings of the points and issues your raise.

    Thanks again for responding.

  4. I never heard of a tree falling over in a water parkway dig. Refresh our memories! (Response) This never happens to the Investigator crews because they do not do any digging. Ask anyone on a working crew.

  5. Just wondering since we are so concerned about safety, where the cover boards, caution tape and barricades are ? Not to safe covering a hole up with just a ladder..

  6. Responce: Never heard of a tree falling in my over 30 years in North district! (Response) Stop doing politics and get out into the field, then you will know…..

  7. It’s just basic physics, that’s why there are rules that management is supposed to follow, why the experts are required to be called in to evaluate the specifics of every job site, the condition of an individual tree, it’s height and trunk diameter, relative to it’s branch balance and span and it’s root structure, type and condition.

    Large trees are nothing to fool with, the older they are, the more likely they are to be potentially dangerous, with the loss of even 15% – 20% of their root strength on one side.

    Pat makes a valid point here, management should be adhering to safety rules, not ignoring them. (response) Tongue and cheek, are we?

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