TFTC #20 Tyler Zuniga on PPE

By Daryl Stanley Feb 25th 2021

This year for the 2021 Master catalog, we got the chance to interview several leaders in the arborist community about their knowledge on different subject matters. We spoke with NATS lead instructor Tyler Zuniga to find out what he has to say about why PPE is so important.

Tyler Zuniga
  • You’re passionate about helping people better understand their PPE. What should we be thinking about when we work with our PPE?
  • There are limits to all PPE, to helmets, to harnesses, to ropes, to everything we use, and I didn't always understand that. The proper care is really important, too. I didn't always think of the acronym PPE, personal protective equipment. I don't think a lot of us take it to heart, you know? PPE is a life saving piece of equipment. So proper care is important, like where I store that equipment as well as maintenance. What do I need to do to a simple carabiner? I have to constantly clean the gate, because out here sap plays a big role on the function of that gate. Another thing, what is the useful life of PPE? For a harness it's usually 5-7 years. The proper disposal is also important, because if something is not safe for me to climb with, I shouldn't throw it away in a way that someone else could find and bring it back into service.
  • Where do you see the greatest gap of understanding regarding the function and limitation of PPE?
  • People buy PPE and create their own idea of how they want to use it, not always following the manufacturers specifications. They kind of jerry-rig stuff to work the way they want it. That’s exposure to risk. Not knowing that, can have serious consequences while working aloft.
  • Where can people go to get better educated on the equipment they are buying?
  • Sherrilltree has done a great job putting the manufacturers’ specifications on their website product pages. If you care to read about the device, those links will tell you what you need to know.
  • Gear inspection is extremely important, but not everyone knows how to inspect their gear. Where should they go to learn how?
  • If you definitely want to get to know your PPE, the best resource is going to the manufacturer directly. Teufelberger has done a great job with the Treemagineers talking about inspection criteria, maintenance and retirement. That’s awesome! Buckingham is also really good about providing that information. I feel like if you want to educate yourself about PPE the best resource you’re going to get is the manufacturer itself.
  • Where should people NOT go to learn this info?
  • Youtube. I think that Youtube is great, but you also need to know your source. The internet is great, but you need to know your source. That goes for everything. When it comes to PPE and life support systems, that is something you do not want to get wrong.

Bonus Question

  • What are your two favorite tools?
  • Rope Runner Pro, I cannot leave it at home. It is my go-to device right now.

    DMM block. I have so much trust in it. When I’m rigging, I want to make sure that I have control, and I have removed really complex trees and felt confident that I was in control. DMM blocks are where it’s at. They’re pricey, but they bring a level of comfort while working aloft.
  • Thank you for your time and support of Sherrilltree.

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