NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Logger killed when struck by top of falling tree, which was felled by an adjacent cutter, in Washington State.

Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
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 98WA076, 1999 Apr; :1-11
On April 10, 1998, a 45 year old "tree faller" died after being struck by a twenty foot tree section that had broken from a tree felled by a co-worker. The victim was working a strip of the logging site down slope from two other cutters. A co-worker (another tree faller) cutting in the adjacent area, felled a tree measuring approximately 115-125 feet in height. As the felled tree descended to the ground, it struck one or more standing trees and broke into several sections. The top section of the felled tree struck the victim as he was trying to escape. The local emergency medical rescue unit was summoned via radio and responded to the incident scene, but the victim died from the injuries sustained in the incident. To prevent future similar occurrences, the Washington Fatality Assessment & Control Evaluation (FACE) Investigative team concluded that loggers should follow these guidelines: 1. All tree cutting operations should adhere to the principle that a distance of at least two tree lengths should separate adjacent occupied work areas. 2. A "pre-job safety plan" should be in place for the cutting site and the plan should be reviewed prior to each days' cutting. 3. Training and education in logging operations should be a continuing process for skills development and for the understanding of safe methods and practices in the logging industry. 4. A timely warning should be given prior to felling each tree. 5. The felling of a cut tree should be controlled by a proper under-cut and back-cut, leaving hinge wood of sufficient thickness to guide the tree during its fall. 6. A well-defined escape path should be planned so a quick retreat can be made to a safe area "out of harms way" from a falling tree. 7. The area surrounding partially-cut trees which are still standing, should be clearly identified (or marked if possible) to warn all persons of the potential for those trees to fall in an uncontrolled manner.
Region-10; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Logging-workers; Traumatic-injuries; Safety-education; Safety-practices; Skeletal-stress; Lumber-industry; Lumber-industry-workers; Lumberjacks
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-98WA076; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-013928
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division