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Twenty-seven-year-old Tree-care Worker Killed by Falling Branch

New Jersey Case Report: 12NJ019
Release Date: August 21, 2013

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 27-year-old male ground crewman at a tree care company was struck and killed by a 38-pound cut branch. On the day of the incident, the decedent and two other workers were felling an approximately 80-foot tall ash tree on a farm in northern New Jersey. One worker was cutting branches from about 60 feet up in the tree and the other two workers were on the ground using chainsaws and a wood chipper to process felled branches. The worker in the tree signaled to the two below that a branch was about to be cut (free-fall cut, not a controlled descent). Both ground crew members were standing near the chipper and had acknowledged the signal. For an unknown reason, one of the ground crew members began walking towards the drop zone and was struck and killed by the falling branch.

Twenty-seven-year-old Tree-care Worker Killed by Falling Branch [PDF 708 KB]