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Workplace accidents: Wood chipper kills untrained worker

Monday, March 6, 2017

Employees of tree trimming companies face multiple hazards on a daily basis. It is not only the exposure to fall hazards when working at heights that threaten their safety, but also equipment such as chain saws and wood chippers typically used in this industry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says, of all the equipment used by tree workers, wood chippers are the most dangerous and are responsible for many workplace accidents. In fact, the reported amputations resulting from wood chipper injuries are now six times more than those recorded five years ago.

OSHA recently cited a New York tree service company for safety violations that led to a fatality in May. Reportedly, the 23-year-old worker had to feed parts of trees into a wood chipper. However, investigators determined that this man had started working for this company on that day, and he received no training in the safe operation of the dangerous machine.

Sadly, the young man’s life was cut short when the chipper somehow pulled him in. An area director of OSHA placed responsibility for this tragedy on the tree service company, stating that it should have ensured that the trimming, felling and removal of trees were done safely. The safety agency prescribes precise safety regulations to protect employees, and compliance might have prevented this fatality.

Any victims of workplace accidents in New York may pursue financial relief to assist with medical expenses and lost income. Also, the surviving family members of employees who have succumbed to workplace injuries may seek assistance. Benefits are available through the workers’ compensation insurance system. Coverage of medical expenses and/or end-of-life expenses are typically included, along with wage-replacement packages based on the average wages of the injured or deceased workers.

Source: newyorkupstate.com, “Schenectady company fined over worker killed in wood chipper during first day on job“, Rick Moriarty, Nov. 16, 2016

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