On December 12, 1997, a 33-year-old self-employed male crawler bulldozer operator/logger (the victim) died of injuries sustained when he was struck by a tree while operating a bulldozer. The bulldozer was not equipped with rollover protective structures (ROPS), falling object protective structures (FOPS), or seat belts. Prior to the incident, the victim had connected a steel winch-cable between the bulldozer and a small standing tree located approximately 20 feet above on the sloped (50-60% slope) hillside. The standing tree, which had been used as an anchor on the steep hillside, uprooted and fell, hitting the victim in the back of the head. Immediately following the incident, three men working at the site ran to the victim, cut the tree in two with a chain saw, and removed it from the victim. They attempted CPR without success and called the local fire department and emergency medical services (EMS) from a business located approximately one-eighth mile downhill of the incident scene. The fire department and EMS arrived within five minutes and found the victim unresponsive with crush injuries to the skull that had been immediately fatal. The sheriff's department directed the EMS to transport the victim to the funeral home where he was officially pronounced dead by a medical examiner. The WV FACE Investigator concluded that to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, employers, including the self-employed, should: 1. Follow all required state licensing, certification, notification, and best management practices when performing logging operations in West Virginia; 2. Equip all crawler bulldozers used for logging operations with roll-over protective structures (ROPS), falling object protection structures (FOPS), and seat belts; 3. Develop, implement, and enforce a written safety program which includes, but is not limited to, training in hazard identification, avoidance, and abatement. 4. Ensure that those employees engaged in logging operations use appropriate personal protective equipment for the work being performed.
Region-3; 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; Training; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Logging-workers; Forestry; Forestry-workers