During 2005, 8 workers died due to fatal injuries suffered during logging activities. Four of the decedents were struck by a limb or the trunk, three decedents were run over by a dozer or skidder, and 1 logger was shot in a property dispute.
Following are case descriptions for four Kentucky logging- related fatality cases:
Case 1: A 44-year-old male self-employed timber cutter died when the tree he was felling hit another tree. The felled tree swung back and struck the victim.
Case 2: A 34-year-old male self-employed logger was cutting and removing timber when he was struck in the head by a falling limb. The victim was transported to the local hospital where he died from blunt force trauma to the head. The victim had a blood alcohol level of 0.088.
Case 3: A 38-year-old male independent logger was cutting timber when the tree he was cutting kicked back and struck him between the legs. The logger was transported to the nearest hospital where he died an hour and a half later from a cut femoral artery.
Case 4: A 43-year-old male timber cutter was struck by a limb while walking under a tree. The victim was transported to the nearest hospital where he died six hours later due to a closed head injury.
Loggers should attend the Kentucky Master Logger program for training and education regarding Occupational Safety and Health Administration logging standards and safety procedures.
A “pre-job safety plan” should be developed for each job site and the plan should be reviewed prior to each day on the site.
A pre-job safety plan should be developed and contain a hazard assessment of the area to define how the logging site should be safely logged. Prior to each day on the job site, the plan should be reviewed and each logger should be aware of the plan to confirm each logging team member’s area of work within the job site and to confirm the direction of logging. All potential emergency situations should be defined at this time as well and evacuation routes planned.
Proper notching and directional felling techniques should be utilized when felling trees.
The open face felling technique, using a 90 degree notch and hinge wood produce from a proper backcut should be used. The 90 degree notch and hinge wood guide the tree where you want it to fall and to prevent it from slipping or twisting and falling in an unintended direction. OSHA Regulations 1910.266(h)(2)(v) requires that an undercut be made in each tree felled and shall be of a size so the tree will not split and will fall in the intended direction. OSHA Regulation 1910.266(h)(2)(vi) states that the backcut shall leave sufficient hinge wood to hold the tree to the stump during most of its fall so that the hinge is able to guide the tree’s fall in the intended direction.
Develop a felling plan for each tree prior to felling that includes escape route, dead or hanging branches, vines, and nearby trees.
A feller can be injured from falling branches and surrounding trees. Analyze the situation above the ground and follow OSHS Regulation CFR 1910.266(e)(2)(x) stating that prior to felling any tree, the chain-saw operator shall clear away brush or other potential obstacles which might interfere with cutting the tree or using the retreat path.
For more information, contact: Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC) 333 Waller Ave., Suite 206, Lexington, KY 40504 1-800-204-3223 (toll-free) www.kiprc.uky.edu
The KY Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) and Occupational Safety and Health surveillance (KOSHS) programs are funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) (Cooperative Agreement No: 1U60OH008483-01).
Publication #: Volume 4, Issue 4| Oct 2006
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More