A 54-year-old logger (the victim) was killed after being struck on the head by a falling snag (dead standing tree). The victim was cutting the last tree to make up a load (3 trees) for the skidder. The driver was about 10-15 feet away, waiting for the last tree. He did not witness the incident. When the victim felled the tree, a nearby dead tree broke at a point approximately 12 feet up. The dead tree fell directly on the victim, striking him on the crown of the head. He was not wearing any type of head protection at the time of the incident. The victim was removed by emergency medical services (EMS) personnel to the highway, a distance of more than three miles, where he was transferred to a helicopter to be taken to a trauma center. He died after reaching the hospital. The KY FACE investigator concluded that, to prevent similar occurrences, the following precautions should be taken:
- Ensure that tree fellers properly evaluate the area around timber to be felled so that potential hazards can be identified and appropriate control measures implemented
- Provide and enforce the use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Ensure that emergency messages can be transmitted quickly
- Designate a qualified person to conduct regular safety inspections
- Loggers should attend the Master Logger Program for education regarding logging standards and safety practices
Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, "Logger Killed by Falling Snag [96KY089]" (1996). Fatality Case Reports--Tractors/Logging. 32.