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Owner of logging company crushed by rootwad of windfall tree during bucking operation - Alaska.

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
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 93AK004, 1993 Mar; :1-6
A 32-year-old male tree faller/bucker (the victim) was killed while bucking an uprooted hemlock windfall (a tree blown down by the wind) approximately 115 feet long and 26 inches in diameter at the base. The windfall's root system (rootwad) was about 3 feet deep, and had a diameter of about 15 feet. The windfall was located on a mountain where the average slope was between 60 and 70%. The victim first cut 30 feet off the tree top and then tried to cut the rootwad off near the tree base, but was unable to do so because the chain saw bar bound up in each of 4 cuts made approximately 80% of the way through the tree. The victim then moved downslope of the tree and began driving a wedge into his last cut using a sledge hammer. Within seconds the rootwad broke loose from the tree and rolled and slid about 25 feet downslope, completely engulfing and fatally crushing the victim. NIOSH researchers concluded that, to prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. ensure that fallers and buckers properly evaluate felled trees and the area around the trees, so that potential hazards can be avoided during bucking; 2. ensure that all logging workers receive adequate training in safe work procedures; and, 3. designate a competent person to conduct inspections to ensure that workers follow established safe falling and bucking procedures.
Region-10; Accident-analysis; Safety-practices; Logging-workers; Lumber-industry-workers; Lumberjacks; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries
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-93AK004; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-007089
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division