With TCIA’s record of helping companies create and maintain a safety culture, Louise Levy, owner and operator of Levy Tree Care, LLC, an 11-year TCIA member company based in Duluth, Minnesota, knew earning her Certified Treecare Safety Professional (CTSP) credential was the way to go.
“My company started small and will likely stay small,” she says. Her company serves northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. “I really value collegiality and cross pollination with colleagues and others in the profession. I was looking for ways to interact more with other companies around the area. I had a close working relationship with another company.
“I said, ‘Hey, if you contribute to helping me get this credential, I will, in turn, help you and your company reach some safety goals. Let’s bring some new ideas into your long-established business.’ So that was the initial motivation.”
TCIA’s CTSP credentialing program trains tree workers in a variety of skills useful in teaching other workers, with the goal of them helping create and promote a culture of safety at their workplaces.
As a small, owner-operated company with a few employees and subcontractors, the distance between the owner and the workers is almost nil, Levy notes. “So, I also saw the CTSP credential as a way to have some outside structure on how to communicate the benefits of safety to my employees.”
Paying it forward is another bonus. Levy knew there was going to be turnover of employees at her business, she says.
“I might have university or high school students or recent graduates work for me. They would eventually move on to the next chapter in their lives. I knew this could have an influence in the trajectory of their working lives. Creating a very strong culture of safety in my company imprints on them what that working environment is like, and they would take that with them to whatever they would pursue.”
Levy, who earned her master’s degree in forest science from Oregon State University in 1997, has been involved in several Women’s Tree Climbing Workshops in Massachusetts and Minnesota, both as an attendee and as instructor support, and is the co-organizer of the Arborist Rescue for First Responders and Firefighters trainings in Bloomington and Duluth, Minn.
One thing she says she sees as a significant benefit of the CTSP credential is the requirement for arborists to keep up with continuing professional development to maintain the certification. “We all get distracted by everything going on in our lives. With the other demands on my attention, the requirement to keep up on new developments or even to be reminded of the basics keeps me engaged. It keeps safety in the forefront of my mind,” she says.
“The emphasis on the people component for the safety culture is really the key. You can practice safety actions, but if you can’t get your people on board or if you yourself don’t model a culture of safety and respect for self, then it is going to be pretty hard to have your employees, contractors and colleagues buy in.”
Click here to learn more about the CTSP credential.