On March 5, 2004, a 57-year-old male laborer died when a 19 inch wide x 31 inch long log rolled down a mountain hitting him in his head and chest. The laborer had been employed for three days by a landscaping company contracted to clear the tree canopy over a gas line right-of-way. At approximately 2:20 pm, the company owner and five laborers were felling trees and bucking downed trees with chain saws and pole saws to remove the trees and limbs hanging over and growing in the gas line right-of-way. Two of the laborers were working topside at the left edge of the hilltop right-of-way; the decedent an d another laborer were working the right edge in the middle of the hill, while the owner and another laborer were on the left edge of the right-of-way at the bottom. The topside crew felled a walnut tree in to the right-of-way. After felling the walnut tree, one of the topside workers sawed the felled tree into approximately 30 inch lengths. One of these 30-inch logs bounced and rolled down the hillside for 200 to 300 feet, and hit the decedent in the chest and head. The company owner called emergency services who arrived at the scene and contacted the coroner. When the coroner arrived, he declared the victim dead at the scene due to multiple trauma to his head and chest.
To prevent future occurrences of similar incidents, the following recommendations have been made:
Recommendation No. 1: Business owners/managers need to follow all Occupational Safety and Health regulations pertaining to the work they are actually performing, not only those restricted to the type of work the business is licensed for.
Recommendation No. 2: Before new job tasks are performed, safety practices should be reviewed and workers should be instructed to follow all applicable safety practices.
Recommendation No. 3: Links to “Voluntary Compliance Services” and the “Division of Compliance Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Programs” on the Kentucky business license website (http://www.sos.ky.gov/ONESTOP/PROGRAM /onestop.asp) should include an introduction to the Kentucky OSH program that explains the need for developing a safety program using applicable standards for the specific type of work to be performed by the new company.
Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, "Landscaping Laborer Dies when Struck by Bouncing Log" (2005). Fatality Case Reports--Tractors/Logging. 1.