A 48-year-old male tree trimmer (the victim) died from a fall while trimming a tree from a bucket truck. The victim was the owner/operator of a tree trimming service. He operated the business for about 23 years, employing various part time helpers. On the day of the incident, two sons-in-law were operating chain saws at the scene when they heard a loud "pop." As they looked up, the witnesses saw the bucket carrying the victim slam against the truck. The sons-in-law removed the victim from the bucket. He was not breathing. The rescue squad was called and arrived at the scene about 15 minutes later. They reported no pulse or respiration. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene by the county coroner. The victim was wearing a safety belt. A cable on the bucket truck had apparently failed. Investigators concluded that, in order to prevent future incidents of this type, owners/users of bucket trucks should:

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive inspection procedure to evaluate conditions of all elements of the bucket truck.
  • Establish routine preventive maintenance procedures to systematically test and replace worn parts.
  • Train employees in first aid procedures

Additionally, owners should be provided with material from the manufacturers on a periodic basis through mail to prompt them to inspect equipment and replace worn parts.

Document Type


Release Date


Incident Number

94KY029; 94KY02901