ARBORISTS IN LOUISIANA, U.S.: A BASELINE
ASSESSMENT OF SAFETY AND PROFESSIONALISM
Hallie Dozier and Krisanna Machtmes
Abstract: In the mostly self-regulated arboricultural industry, Louisiana, U.S., is one of a few places where arborists must possess a license to operate. Since 1993, state-licensed arborists in Louisiana have been required to attend at least one continuing education workshop each year to maintain their licenses. In 2002, the State of Louisiana assumed responsibility for providing arborist continuing education, and program planners identified increasing safety and professionalism among licensed arborists as the two primary goals for the training program. The authors collected written questionnaires from 386 licensed arborists who provided baseline data on their levels of safety and professionalism and demographic information. Analysis suggested that safety and professionalism are not separate variables among respondents, but examination of categories of questions describing different aspects of safety and professionalism is revealing. Arborists self-reported good ethical practices in dealing with customers and a perception of being safe on the job, but they did not appear to be wholly familiar with current industry standards for safety and tree care. Respondents were less inclined to engage in recommended safety practices or to promote modern cultural practices to their clients. Unfamiliarity with current industry standards may be due to low participation in professional arboricultural societies among Louisiana licensed arborists and a tendency to attend the only the minimally required number of state-mandated educational events each year.
Keywords: Arboriculture; arborist; ISA; Louisiana; professional development; professional education; professional membership; professional training; program assessment; safety education; safety training; survey; TCIA