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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200534063 - Falling Tree Crushes And Kills Tree Feller

Accident: 200534063 -- Report ID: 0751910 -- Event Date: 02/03/2011
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
31527623802/04/20110782Kaufman Enterprises, Inc.
At approximately 1:00 p.m. on February 3, 2011, Employee #1 and two coworkers were employed by Kaufman Enterprises of Rosemount, Minnesota. The firm provided landscaping and horticultural services. On this day, Employee #1 and his coworkers were felling and grinding trees to clear obstructions from the right-of-way for a buried pipeline. The pipeline was controlled by ONEOK of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was the contractor for this project. At approximately 12:30 p.m., Employee #1 was having a conversation with his coworkers. One coworker was operating a Balta T190 tractor, and the other coworker was operating a Terex PT100 skid loader. Each machine was equipped with a Fecon grinder attachment. The two coworkers were at the western end of the ONEOK pipeline right of way. Employee #1 was informing the driver of the Balta tractor that he (Employee #1) would be proceeding to the eastern right-of-way, which was approximately 300 yards (274 meters) due east of the western right-of-way and located over the crest of a large hill. He was going to fell trees that had been previously marked by a representative of ONOEK who was onsite that day. According to a later interview with the driver of the tractor, Employee #1 said that he had not seen the eastern right-of-way location prior to the time of accident. At approximately 1:00 p.m., the two coworkers noticed the representative of ONEOK waving to them from the crest of the hill between the two rights-of-way. They assumed he was signaling them that the eastern right-of-way was ready for them to proceed with the grinding operations. When the two employees reached the crest of the hill several minutes later, they saw Employee #1 lying pinned to the ground by the trunk of a large tree. The coworker who was driving the skid loader ran to get the skid loader to move the tree a short distance from Employee #1's body. Employee #1 was unresponsive. He had been killed when a 36 inch (0.91 meter) diameter tree he was manually felling with a Jonsered Model 2152C chain saw with an 18 inch (0.46 meter) bar crushed him as it fell to the ground. Emergency medical technicians and law enforcement personnel arrived approximately one hour after the time of the accident. With the help of local farmers, they were able to extract Employee #1's body from the scene and transport it to a local medical facility. Emergency medical technicians and law enforcement personnel arrival times were complicated greatly by the rough terrain, which was chiseled farm ground covered with snow, and the remote location of the accident site. The owner of Kaufman Enterprises arrived at the scene of the accident on the morning of February 4, 2011. The owner told OSHA compliance and safety officers that Employee #1 had owned a tree service company for eight years, up to the time that his company was bought by Kaufman Enterprises four years before the accident. The driver of the skid loader had worked for Employee #1 and had become an employee of Kaufman Enterprises when Employee #1's business was purchased. The two coworkers said that all training for equipment usage was on-the-job. Normally (90 percent of the time), Employee #1 worked as a manual feller, and his two coworkers operated the machines. No undercuts were observed on trees at the eastern right-of-way felled by Employee #1 prior to and at the time of the accident.
Keywords: tree felling, emergency response, chain saw, crushed, tree, pipeline, skidder, tractor, falling object
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 315276238 Fatality Other Occupation not reported

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