NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Timber cutter dies after being struck by a falling snag - West Virginia, December 3, 1992.
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 93-10, 1993 Apr; :1-6
The case of a 24 year old male timber cutter who died after receiving a blow on the head by a falling snag was described. The man was employed by a logging company that had 17 employees, and logged mainly for saw timber. There was no written safety program nor safety policy. However, the foreman did provide safety talks and impromptu safety inspections. The task was to selectively cut a variety of timber on a 300 acre tract of land in a mountainous region of West Virginia. After returning from lunch, the victim felled a 80 to 90 foot tall, 18 inch diameter poplar tree using a 24 inch bar chain saw. As the poplar fell, it apparently struck a snag about 10 feet away. The snag was about 35 feet tall and 6 inches in diameter. It broke off about 4 feet above the ground, falling toward the victim, striking him on the back of the head, fracturing the first vertebra in his neck. It is recommended that workers properly evaluate the area around timber to be felled so that potential hazards can be identified and control measures implemented. Employers should develop, implement, and enforce a written safety program which includes worker training in recognizing, avoiding, and abating hazards. Employers should designate a competent person to conduct regular safety inspections.
NIOSH-Author; Region-3; FACE-93-10; Forestry; Forestry-workers; Accident-analysis; Safety-research; Lumberjacks; Logging-workers; Traumatic-injuries; Lumber-industry
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division