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Logger killed while freeing maple log with chainsaw during skidding operation.

Michigan State University
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 01MI039, 2002 Jan; :1-9
A 21-year old male laborer was fatally injured after being struck in the throat with a chain saw on a logging site. The victim was working with 2 other loggers, one was driving the cable skidder and the other was felling trees. The cable skidder had one main line with four chokers, and was removing the felled logs from the logging site. While moving the logs, a 7-inch diameter, 6-foot tall maple log became caught in the cables. The cable skidder operator stopped the skidder and, without lowering the logs to the ground, directed the victim to cut the maple caught in the cables. Using a XP371 Huskavarna chainsaw with a 20" bar, the victim made a straight cut through the maple. This was an unwitnessed event. Most likely, due to the pattern of injury, the chainsaw kicked back and struck the victim in the throat or the tree may have moved unexpectedly, pushing the saw into the victim's neck which fatally injuring the victim. The cause of the kickback is unknown. The victim dropped the chain saw between the choked logs and ran to a nearby car. The skidder operator called to the feller and the feller attempted to use a cell phone to call for an ambulance. No signal could be reached, and the feller drove out of the logging site to a nearby store and called for an ambulance. Emergency personnel and the police arrived shortly thereafter. The victim was declared dead at the scene. Recommendations: 1. Employers should establish a daily maintenance inspection to ensure the chain saw is kept in proper working order. 2, Employers should ensure that chain saw users receive training on the safe use of, hazards associated with, and proper maintenance of the chain saw. 3. Employers should implement and enforce a written safety program, which includes but is not limited to development of safe work procedures and worker training in hazard identification, avoidance and abatement. 4. Employers must provide and enforce the use of personal protective equipment. 5. Employers must provide first aid equipment at jobsites and have at least one employee who is trained in Red Cross first aid or equivalent. 6. Employees must follow General Industry Safety Standard, Part 51, Logging, Rule 5116 that describes employee responsibilities under Part 51. 7. Employers should provide a means for emergency communication in case of injury.
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Traumatic-injuries; Region-5; Logging-workers; Forestry-workers; Occupational-accidents; Lumber-industry-workers; Lumber-industry; 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-01MI039; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-521205
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Michigan State University
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division