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Mill worker killed by flying chunk of wood from chipper.

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 05OR043, 2007 Dec; :1-5
On December 16, 2005, a 52 year-old mill worker at a wood-processing mill was killed when he was struck in the head by a flying chunk of wood ejected from a wood chipper. The mill worker was working to unplug a jam in a wood chipper while the machine was still running. An electrical switch installed on the chipper bypassed the manufacturer's safety interlock mechanism, and allowed the machine to continue operating when the hood was open. The mill worker stood on a catwalk next to the feed chute with the hood open, trying to clear the jam with a stick, which was ground up without effect. He then threw in a large chunk of wood. A coworker joined him on the catwalk and handed him a picaroon (a metal pike with a hook) to maneuver the chunk of wood inside the chute. Once they heard the wood start to grind, they ran and ducked. This was their routine procedure when clearing a jam. The mill worker was struck on the back of the head, apparently by the chunk of wood he had thrown into the chute, and was killed instantly. Recommendations: 1. Never attempt to remove jammed material from a wood chipper while machinery is in operation. Shut down, isolate, and block all forms of hazardous energy before performing any machine maintenance. 2. Never disable the manufacturer's safety interlocks or other safety features on a machine. 3. Employers must train all workers assigned to operate or maintain machinery on appropriate energy-control procedures for that specific piece of equipment.
Region-10; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Work-operations; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Work-practices; Equipment-operators; Logging-workers; Head-injuries; Forestry; Forestry-workers; Training
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-05OR043; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-021204; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008324; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008472
Priority Area
Services; Wholesale and Retail Trade
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