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A tree trimmer is electrocuted when a tree branch falls onto energized electric power lines.

Public Health Institute
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 11CA003, 2012 Mar; :1-7
A tree trimmer was electrocuted while trimming tree branches in a residential front yard. The victim was hired by a homeowner to trim the branches of a tree growing into utility lines in his front yard. The victim was wearing a full-body harness for fall protection, and had a climbing rope, flip line, drop line, and climbing spurs on his feet. He used a chain saw to cut away the branches of the tree. A branch that was cut did not fully detach from the tree and struck the energized electric power lines. The electric current flowed through the cut branch and into the victim who was attached to the tree with his climbing spurs. Contributing factors identified in this investigation were improper work practices in line-clearance tree trimming, and working in close proximity to energized utility lines. The CA/FACE investigator determined that in order to prevent future incidents, tree trimmers who perform line-clearance tree trimming should ensure that: 1. The electric utility company is notified whenever tree trimming is closer than ten feet to energized high-voltage lines; and, 2. They have received training and certification in line-clearance tree trimming operations by qualified instructors. In addition, homeowners who need trees trimmed or removed that are in close proximity to high voltage lines should: 1. Contact the electric utility company and request they trim the trees; or, 2. Hire only qualified line-clearance tree trimmers or contractors who are trained and certified by organizations such as the ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) or the TCIA (Tree Care Industry Association).
Region-9; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Construction; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Electrical-hazards; Electrocutions; Training; Work-areas; Work-practices; 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-11CA003; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008468; B06202012
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Public Health Institute
Page last reviewed: November 12, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division