Tree clearing spurs safety reminder

CUC subcontractors work on trimming trees and bush around power lines in Bodden Town. - Photo: Jewel Levy

Tree trimming around power lines is currently under way in Bodden Town.

On Monday, Oct. 3, staff of UMC Landscapers, a company sub-contracted by the Caribbean Utilities Company, were busy trimming trees and clearing bush that had been posing a safety hazard in the Pease Bay area of Bodden Town.

The line-clearing contractors were also using a wood chipper to grind the tree limbs and branches into mulch.

The workers at UMC, which trims and removes trees for both residential and commercial clients, worked around the power lines quickly and efficiently.

While falling is certainly one of the risks people face when trimming trees, attempting to pare back one that has grown into or near power lines can result in serious injury or even death by electrocution.

CUC strongly recommends that people never attempt to prune or trim trees that grow within 10 feet of power lines, and that only qualified personnel approved by CUC should trim trees or branches.

According to CUC, its tree trimming program keeps more than 400 miles of transmission and distribution lines clear of trees and undergrowth by using utility-qualified professional tree-trimming contractors.

CUC communications officer Neil Murray said that, especially during hurricane season, the company does its best to clear trees which can cause power interruptions and become safety hazards.

“If you have a tree that’s growing near or into a line, we will come out to see what can be done to clear the lines. The first time CUC will clear the line for free, and you can get the tree trimmed or totally taken down. The next time it’s the owner’s responsibility to keep it away from the lines. If CUC is called back to trim again, there is a fee attached.”

For safety reasons, CUC says, careful consideration must be taken to avoid power lines, particularly during yard work, especially when using tools, ladders, poles or pruning saws. Ladders or scaffolds need to be far enough away from power lines so that the person working and the ends of the tools they are using do not come within 10 feet of power lines.

In Cayman, it is a tradition for children to climb mango, guinep, plum, coconut, naseberry and other fruit trees. CUC urges residents to be aware of these types of trees growing near power lines, and recommends parents and guardians explain the dangers involved to children.

Residents noticing branches within 10 feet of power lines should contact Duane Wood at CUC at 914-1229 or via email at [email protected] For branches over 10 feet away from power lines, contact a gardener or landscaper.