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Tree cutter dies after being struck by log that fell from logging truck in West Virginia.

West Virginia Department of Health & 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 98WV015, 1998 Jul; :1-5
On March 24, 1998, a 39-year-old male tree cutter (the victim) died of injuries sustained when he was struck by a log which had fallen from the top of a loaded log truck. Just prior to the incident, the victim had finished cutting for the day and returned to landing. Evidence suggests that he approached a truck which had been previously loaded and whose load had not yet been secured. The logs were stacked higher than the standards on the sides of the truck. Evidence also suggests that the victim attempted to begin securing the load himself. It is unclear as to whether or not the victim tried to access and/or manipulate the load. At approximately 4:30 p.m., the company's owner, who was operating a dozer as a skidder, had just arrived at the landing area and noticed the victim lying on the ground next to the truck with the load-securing chain. Parallel to the victim and within three feet was a 12-foot log approximately 12 inches in diameter. The victim had experienced massive blunt chest trauma as a result of being struck by the falling log. The first responder (the owner) turned the victim on his back and began administering CPR. He then yelled for help at which time other workers responded and called emergency medical services (EMS). The local EMS transported the victim to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The coroner estimated the time from injury to death to be minutes. The WV FACE Investigator concluded that to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Ensure that the height of the stacked logs does not exceed the height of the standards on the truck. 2. Ensure that stacked logs are secured immediately after the loading operation is complete. 3. Develop, implement, and enforce a written safety program which includes, but is not limited to, task specific safety procedures and worker training in hazard identification, avoidance, and control. 4. Designate a competent person to conduct frequent and regular site safety inspections. Additionally, manufacturers and employers should: 5. Consider manufacturing and/or retrofitting log trucks with retention stakes high enough to adequately secure anticipated log loads.
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; Logging-workers; Safety-personnel; Safety-programs; Forestry; Forestry-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-98WV015; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-312914
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
West Virginia Department of Health & Human Services
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division