A 61-year-old male logger was killed when he was hit by the tree he was felling. On the day of the incident, he was working on a steep mountainside with his son and another logger. At approximately 10 am, the victim was felling a tree approximately 14 inches in diameter. As viewed from the bottom of the hill, a small tree about 6 inches in diameter stood about 6 feet to the right of the tree that was being felled. Lying on the ground directly behind those two vertical trees was a log 4-5 inches in diameter; it lay perpendicular to the hillside and the two vertical trees. When the victim finished cutting the tree, he stepped over by the small vertical tree and in front of the log that lay on the ground. As the tree fell, it came into contact with the side of another tree that was about 40 feet downhill and the cut end flew up and struck the victim. He was knocked to the ground and pinned underneath the tree as it landed across his abdomen. One of the loggers nearby witnessed the incident and went for help. He called 911 at the property owner's home which was about one mile from the site. Rescue personnel were dispatched at 10:30 am and arrived within 15 minutes. The coroner pronounced the victim dead at the scene.
To prevent similar incidents from occurring, FACE investigators recommend:
- A clear escape path should be planned prior to felling a tree
- A hazard analysis of the area should be performed prior to felling a tree
- Loggers should attend the Master Logger Program for education regarding Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) logging standards and safety procedures
Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, "Logger Killed during Tree Felling" (1997). Fatality Case Reports--Tractors/Logging. 17.