A 59-year-old male was killed when he was struck by a tree while logging on a mountainside. The victim was working with two other men doing contract work for a local lumber company. All three men were full-time loggers and had many years of experience. On the morning of the incident, the men were working on a steep mountainside. One logger was working at the top of the hill operating a skidder that he owned to pull the cut trees up the hill. At the time of the incident, the victim was working about 30-35 feet from the top of the hill. After cutting down the trees, he would secure them with chains to be pulled up by the skidder. The other logger was working several yards farther down the hill and did not witness the fatal incident. The victim had put the choker on a large log that was 12 inches in diameter and about 50 feet long. When the skidder began to pull the attached log, it dislodged a smaller log that was lying nearby. The dislodged log was pulled toward the victim, hitting him in the legs and knocking him to the ground. Due to the steep angle of the hillside, the skidder operator could not see that the logger had fallen to the ground. As the skidder continued to pull the larger log uphill, it struck the victim in the head. The logger suffered massive skull fractures and died within seconds. In order to prevent similar incidents from occurring, the FACE investigator recommends:
- All workers should be clear of the skidding area before moving the logs
- A system of communication between workers should be maintained at all times
- Skid trails should be cleared of brush and trees before being used
- Loggers should attend the Master Logger Program for education regarding OSHA logging standards and safety procedures
Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, "Logger Killed When Struck by Tree" (1997). Fatality Case Reports--Tractors/Logging. 33.