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Tree feller dies after being struck by limb of tree being felled 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 99WV005, 1999 Jul; :1-6
On December 1, 1998, a 25-year-old male tree feller (the victim) died of injuries sustained when he was struck on the head by a limb which had snapped off of the tree he was felling as the tree impacted the ground. The victim was felling trees on terrain with an average 35% slope. He was in the process of felling a yellow poplar. The poplar was approximately 24 inches in diameter at breast height and 90 feet tall. The tree was non-typical in that it had a large, 65-foot-long limb which was 18 feet above the ground. The limb was approximately 6 inches in diameter at the point of attachment and was oriented 90 degrees to the tree's trunk. The limb was pointing directly downhill, which was also the direction of the felling. After making the final cut, the victim retreated approximately 21 feet from the stump at an angle close to 45 degrees uphill from the cutting side. The victim was hit on the back of the head with the tapered end of the limb as it flipped back uphill towards the logger. A dozer operator discovered the victim shortly after the incident and notified the owner. The owner administered first aid and CPR. Another worker ran to a local residence and contacted EMS. The victim was life-flighted to the local trauma center and died the next day. The WV FACE Investigator concluded that, to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Ensure that tree fellers properly evaluate the timber and the area around the timber to be felled so that potential hazards can be identified and appropriate control measures implemented. 2. Develop, implement, and enforce a written safety program which includes, but is not limited to, training in hazard identification, avoidance, and abatement. 3. Designate a competent person to conduct frequent and regular site safety inspections.
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; Safety-programs; Training; Safety-personnel; Logging-workers; 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-99WV005; 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