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Handyman died when tree he was felling split vertically and struck him.

Michigan State University
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 12MI033, 2013 Oct; :1-5
In winter 2012 a male handyman in his late 50s died when a 3-4 foot diameter box elder tree growing at a 45-degree angle "barber-chaired", and the vertically split section broke away from the tree and struck him. The decedent had been hired by a farmer to cut down the tree because it was growing over and into the field. Using a chainsaw to fell the tree, the decedent made a horizontal 6-inch cut approximately 3 feet up from the ground. The tree split vertically at the location of the cut to the top part of the tree. The split piece came away from the tree, striking the decedent. The remainder of the tree was still standing. The farmer, who was working in the field at the time of the incident, came to investigate when he saw the tree move unexpectedly. The farmer found the decedent in a sitting position, pinned face first to the ground with the split piece of wood on his back and called for emergency response. The decedent was declared dead at the scene. Factors which may have contributed to this fatal incident include: 1. The amount of lean of the tree 2. Improper felling technique.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Agriculture; Forestry; Forestry-workers; Logging-workers; Author Keywords: Logging; Tree Felling; Leaning Tree; Box Elder; Agriculture
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-12MI033; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008466
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Michigan State University
Page last reviewed: December 17, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division