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West Virginia dozer operator dies after being struck-by a tree which was pushed over by the worker he was training.

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 02WV009, 2002 Jul; :1-5
On March 13, 2002, a 34-year-old male heavy equipment operator (victim) died of injuries sustained when he was struck-by a tree which was pushed over on him by the timber cutter he was training to operate his dozer. The victim, who had traded jobs with the worker, was felling trees. He had just felled the last in a series of 7-8 trees and was waiting for the trainee to back down the punch-road in order to hook-up the cable and stabilize the tree from rolling as he removed the last limb. As the dozer approached the dead-end of the punch-road, the winch on the rear of the dozer caught a piece of a tree which was buried in the dirt pile. The movement of the buried tree segment made contact with the root-wad of a standing 73' foot tall, 5" diameter poplar. The undetected contact caused the poplar to fall and strike the victim who was waiting approximately 35' downhill from the dirt pile. Realizing what had happened, the trainee used a CB radio to contact the loader operator who was working at the job's landing site. The loader operator in turn contacted the owner via a two-way radio. The owner then called 911. After radioing for help, the trainee cut the tree off of the victim and checked for vital signs. Finding none, he assumed he was dead. EMS arrived within 10 minutes. The victim was transported to a medical facility and pronounced dead. The WV FACE investigator concluded that to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, employers should ensure that workers are spaced adequately and their duties organized so that their actions will not create a hazard for other workers. Dozer operators should: 1. Ensure that machines are operated at a distance from other workers so that operation will not create a hazard. Additionally, timber cutters should: 2. Wait for approaching equipment to be in a position which is at least two tree lengths away from the equipment's path and final destination.
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; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability; Forestry; Forestry-workers
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
FACE-02WV009; 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