Dropping a maple today, took lots of weight pff the backside with the bucket from the drive over the house. Very questionable structure with a big well decayed dead center coming right out at the main crotch with one live lead right and one left... Set two pull lines , one on each side, both tied to the skid loader in the neighbor's yard. New guy with 25+ years experience asks me if I want to throw a line over the neighbor's service lines and pull them back for some extra clearance... I think about it a minute then reassess the height and say no its not needed... Just getting the back cut near finished and look up into the DZ for a second only to see the new guy and another groundie standing INSIDE the wires... (the same wires he just asked me to pull back cause he thought they might be in the DZ).. Plenty of deadwood high in this tree and they are standing at 12:30 to the lay, with very small chance (still a chance though) that some dead stick will fly out at them from the crash.... so I stop what I AM doing, try to waive them out of there, then when they don't move, put the saw down and point both index fingers at them, one with each hand, and then try again to waive them away, at which point they still haven't taken a step, and the skid op takes off and the tree lands perfectly , just clearing the fence on the near side.

In lieu of a safety meeting I lost my cool, walking up and screaming at them to stay out of the DZ..... (my bad for loosing it) Though just telling the story gets me hot again! Turned out to be a 3-4" hinge that really looked pretty good... I didn't realize I was that close, though maybe I stopped to tell the skid op to pull a little more to see if he had it (backcut starting to open).. I really don;t remember much detail of where I was with the back cut, before I looked up and saw them..

So the new guy tries to explain that they were well out of the way, WHICH THEY WEREN'T, but even so, that's not the point. there was absolutely NO REASON for them to be standing there, and they created a distraction, by making me have to consider whether they were safe or not . That point can't be emphasized enough.. FOCUS keeps us alive through 30+ years of dangerous work... When a groundie is too close to the DZ, not close enough to get hurt, but close enough to make the faller/climber/bucket op have to think about it, even for a second, that's one more decision that he has to make and a needless distraction.

When I lose my focus because I have to deal with some mistake made by the groundies, bad things can happen.. Which in this case, was a miscommunication with the skid steer op. Though I don't fault him for puling early and actually have to own up to my responsibility because I was asked if he should wear a radio com hard hat, which I declined, thinking it wasn't needed on such a simple drop. Now the problem with him pulling early is it could have killed me. If that hinge wasn't weak enough to let go when he pulled, he almost certainly would have had enough pull to break the top out of that tree, which certainly would have put me in danger.

The to top it off those two still don;t think they did anything wrong... one guy saying how the drop went so well... We will need to have a safety meeting on the matter before work tomorrow or Monday actually as I'll be OOT...

Moral of the story is don't make assumptions about new co-workers based on what they say, their level of experience. Treat everyone like a rookie until you are sure they understand the safety rules...

And of all you groundies out there who get yelled at by climbers for messing up on the ground, realize that they get pissed as self defense mechanism. On some level they get that you are putting their life at risk and that anger comes up naturally.. (some more than others of course) ... My mentor simply didn't care.. he never looked down before he bombed, your safety was not his concern. The groundies were on their own. That created a lot of stress (just not his stress), but it did keep you on your toes. Not my style. If you were standing in the DZ and he was falling the tree, he wouldn't have stopped. Call it tough love!