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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 170068662 - Employee Cuts Limb That Anchored Him And Falls 25 Feet

Accident: 170068662 -- Report ID: 0352420 -- Event Date: 01/10/1994
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
10843074502/02/19940783Asplundh Tree Expert Co
A crew was performing a variety of jobs in clearing out a section of trees and ground growth at Liberty Reservoir. After lunch Employee #1 climbed a tree that had been designated to be completely taken down. While climbing, he had cut off some lower and smaller limbs with a handsaw. When he reached the top of the tree he tied in, picking the proper lead branch from the main part of the tree. He pulled the chain saw up from the ground with his rope. Before starting the main cuts, Employee #1 had discussed with his foreman what each crew member was going to be doing. The foreman was going to be working about 40 yards up the roadway. A coworker was going to be in another tree and another coworker was doing ground work in the area. Employee #1 had pictured in his mind how he was going to cut each limb but, after talking to his foreman and the other two employees, he said he lost his train of thought. He made cuts on the first branch and dropped it where he wanted it to go. He then repostioned himself in the tree to continue cutting the other branches. He checked the next branch to see which way it would fall. Employee #1 failed to realize that the next branch that he intended to cut was the branch that he was tied off to. He made an undercut on that next branch, checked the top of the lead branch, and then made his overcut. As the branch cracked he realized he had done something wrong. As the branch was falling, he threw the chain saw away from himself and tried to unsnap himself. He was not able to do so in time and the falling branch pulled him out of the tree. Employee #1 fell approximately 25 feet, striking something on the way down, and landed on his back on the ground. The other coworkers came to his aid. Employee #1 was taken to shock trauma where he stayed for 5 days. He suffered a dislocated left elbow and a cracked L-1 vertebra.
Keywords: tree limb, agriculture, chain saw, saw, tree, fall, fall protection, elbow, vertebra, inattention
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 108430745 Hospitalized injury Dislocation Forestry workers, except logging

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