Tree-care Worker is Crushed by Cut Tree Section During Storm Damage Cleanup

New Jersey Case Report: 12NJ078
Release Date: August 26, 2014

The following report is the product of our Cooperative State partner and is presented here in its original unedited form from the state. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the individual Cooperative State partner and do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


A 59-year-old tree-care worker was killed after a section of a tree he was cutting fell on top of him. The incident occurred on a residential property in a heavily-wooded area in northern NJ. On the day of the incident, the victim and two other workers were conducting storm-damage cleanup on several trees, some still standing, some down. The victim was working on a large white oak tree that had fallen down during a hurricane. He was bucking the tree (cutting it into sections), and had already made five cuts starting from the canopy. He was standing on a slight downhill slope when he made his final cut; the cut section fell towards him and landed on his chest, pinning him down. His coworkers and several other tree-care workers, who were working in an adjacent lot, heard the crash and came running to the site. The victim was freed from the section, but died shortly afterwards at the hospital.

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Page last reviewed: November 18, 2015