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Sawmill worker crushed during debarker maintenance.

Oregon Department of Human 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 04OR003, 2004 Aug; :1-4
On February 7, 2004, a 24-year-old sawmill employee, working as a millwright, was killed in a routine maintenance operation, while grinding the teeth of the feed rolls inside a log debarking machine. The millwright shut down electrical power to the debarker before entering the intake area, but he did not block the press roll, held aloft by compressed air, with pins available on the frame of the machine for this purpose. While he was inside the debarker, another employee in a different area of the mill shut off the compressed-air system in a separate maintenance operation, which allowed air pressure to drop throughout the plant. As the line pressure dropped, the 6000 lbs. press roll, suspended above him, unexpectedly descended and crushed the millwright. A coworker found the victim when he heard the air-pressure release and went to check the younger man at the debarker. Emergency first responders from the local fire station declared the victim dead at the scene. Recommendations: 1. Prior to performing maintenance operations, de-energize, isolate, and block all forms of hazardous energy. This includes blocking machine parts against motion. 2. Identify tasks that may expose workers to the inadvertent release of hazardous energy and coordinate work activities to eliminate the exposure. 3. Employers should develop and implement hazardous energy control programs.
Region-10; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Sawmill-workers; Maintenance-workers; Lumber-industry; Lumber-industry-workers
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-04OR003; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-021204; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008324
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Oregon Department of Human Services
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division