NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Chain saw operator dies after being struck by excavator bucket during site clearing - North Carolina.

Higgins DN; de Guzman G
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 2004-07, 2004 Dec; :1-9
On July 27, 2004, a 46-year-old chain saw operator (victim) was cutting root balls from trees pushed over during site clearing, when he sustained fatal crushing injuries after being struck by the bucket of a track-mounted hydraulic excavator. The excavator operator was using the bucket on the excavator to push over trees, straighten downed trees for stumping, and move damaged trees to a large burn pile. When he realized he had not seen the victim for approximately 15 minutes, he moved the excavator to get a better view of the area and saw the victim on the ground. He jumped out of the excavator and ran to the victim. Unable to get a response when he called to the victim, he ran to his employer who called 911 on his cell phone. The employer drove to the main road to help emergency medical service personnel (EMS) locate the incident site. Police officers responded within minutes and the excavator operator accompanied them to the incident site. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:30 a.m. by EMS personnel. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. ensure that the phases of work are planned and executed to minimize the exposure of workers on foot to moving equipment; 2. ensure that excavator operators and workers on foot maintain visual or audible contact at all times; 3. develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive written safety program for all workers which includes training in hazard recognition and the avoidance of unsafe conditions. A written training plan should require training for all excavator operators that includes the equipment manufacturers' recommendations for safe equipment operation, and should require appropriate training for workers engaged in site clearing and logging operations; and, 4. provide workers with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure its use. Additionally, general contractors should ensure through contract language that all subcontractors have appropriate safety programs and training specific to the work to be performed.
Region-4; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Construction-industry; Construction-equipment; Construction-workers; Construction; Lumber-industry; Lumber-industry-workers; Lumberjacks; Forestry; Forestry-workers; Equipment-operators; Machine-operators; Protective-equipment; Personal-protective-equipment; Construction-Search
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Construction; Grant
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-2004-07; Grant-Number-T01-CCT-310455
NIOSH Division
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
West Virginia University, School of Medicine, Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health, Morgantown, West Virginia
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division