NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Timber cutter/skidder operator killed by falling tree - West Virginia, January 28, 1994.

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 94-05, 1994 Feb; :1-7
A timber cutter/skidder operator died after being struck by a tree that had been felled by a coworker. The 23 year old male victim had been employed by a small logging company with five employees that had been operating for 21 years. No written safety policy, safety program, or established safe work procedures were in place at the time of the incident. Rain had been falling all morning. The victim was assigned the tasks of limbing and setting chockers, but he apparently decided to fell a number of trees before starting limbing. He completed an undercut on his second tree and moved to the opposite side to make a backcut. The timber cutter, working about 60 feet away, had felled one tree and moved to another tree which was 90 feet long, and 21 inches in diameter. Although the undercut was made so that the tree should have fallen away from the victim, the holding wood was cut through when the backcut was made. The tree twisted on its stump, and fell in the direction of the victim who was stooped over using a chain saw to fell a tree. He was struck on the back. His death was listed as due to crushing injuries to the back. The investigators caution that employers should ensure workers are assigned to separate work areas. A safety program was also recommended which would include worker training in proper tree felling techniques. A competent person was to be designated who would conduct regular safety inspections.
NIOSH-Author; Region-3; FACE-94-05; Accident-analysis; Forestry-workers; Traumatic-injuries; Lumber-industry; Logging-workers
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
SIC Code
Source Name
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