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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200340578 - Employee Is Killed When Sawmill Wood Chipper Part Detaches

Accident: 200340578 -- Report ID: 0523900 -- Event Date: 07/22/2005
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30703983407/23/20052421Big Timber Sawmill, Llc
Sometime during the period from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on July 22, 2005, Employee #1 was running a Morbark, Inc., wood chipper at the Big Timber Sawmill, LLC. He had worked there for seven years; before then, he had owned the sawmill. He was familiar with the operation and maintenance of the chipper as well as all other equipment in use at the sawmill. Employee #1 was killed by blunt force trauma to the head as a result of being struck by a large metal guard covering the chipper disk on the chipper. There were no witnesses to the accident, but the circumstances of the accident have been reconstructed. The chipper was equipped with a guard that covered the chipper disk. Two large pins approximately 0.5 inches in diameter that secured the top of the guard to the chipper had been removed by Employee #1 before the accident. One of the knives on the chipper disk struck the inside of the chipper guard, causing it to be thrown clear of the chipper. The guard struck Employee #1's forehead, killing him through blunt force trauma to the head. The guard was found approximately 28 feet away from the chipper. A lower hinge, which attaches the bottom of the guard to the chipper, was broken off at its welded attachment point. The chipper disk takes some fifteen minutes to stop turning once the chipper is shut off. It is not possible to say with certainty what Employee #1's activities were prior to the accident or to give an exact time during the two-hour span when the accident occurred. The company owner found Employee #1 at approximately 6:00 pm. The company did have a lockout procedure for the chipper, but it did not address any controls related to the time it takes for the chipper disk to slow to a stop.
Keywords: knife, unsecured, guard, work rules, lockout, chipper, sawmill, struck by, flying object, unguarded
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 307039834 Fatality Other Occupation not reported

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