A 52-year-old male was killed on a logging site when a tree limb struck him in the back of the head. He had no previous logging experience and had been working with his friend who was a full-time logger for six days when the fatal incident occurred. The two men were working alone on the logging site and it was about 5:30 pm when they chained a load of three logs to the bulldozer to be dragged downhill to be loaded on a truck. A branch that was about 8 feet long and 4-5 inches in diameter stuck out of one of the logs at approximately a 45 degree angle. When the logger started the bulldozer, he noticed that his friend was a safe distance away and began to pull the logs. As he did this, the branch sticking out became lodged behind a standing tree. Apparently the victim walked over near the load and was attempting to start his chainsaw when the branch that was caught behind the standing tree suddenly gave way and hit the victim in the back of the head. When the logger driving the bulldozer turned around to check on the load, he saw his friend lying face down on the ground beside the load of logs; the chainsaw lying nearby was still running. The logger drove his bulldozer down the hill to a convenience store to call for help. Rescue personnel were dispatched at 6:11 pm and arrived on the scene at 6:27 pm. The victim showed vital signs upon EMS arrival and a life flight helicopter was called to the scene. He was transported to a trauma center, but died several hours later. In order to prevent similar incidents from occurring, FACE investigators recommend that:
- Loggers should wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) while working
- Employers should provide proper training to new employees
- 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 When Struck by Tree Limb during Hauling" (1997). Fatality Case Reports--Tractors/Logging. 21.