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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 202469623 - Employee Is Paralyzed In Fall From Tree

Accident: 202469623 -- Report ID: 0950643 -- Event Date: 08/24/2010
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
31482216409/14/20100783The Davey Tree Surgery Company
On August 24, 2010, Employee #1 was working as a lead person of a two-man crew that was assigned to trim trees around overhead power lines. Employee #1 was equipped with and wearing a saddle with spikes, safety straps, and a 130-foot climbing rope, before he started his climb on a Chinese Elm tree. He threw the climbing rope into the tree and used the pole pruner to fasten it around the first joint or crotch of the trunk. He then started to climb, using the rope and his spikes. He reached the crotch in the tree and then asked his coworker to hand him the pole pruner, so he could throw the climbing rope higher and continue his climb. The coworker on the ground gave Employee #1 the pole pruner, and Employee #1 moved approximately five feet up the tree. The coworker on the ground indicated that he could only see Employee #1's legs standing on a branch. At this point, Employee #1 started cutting the branch with the pole pruner and told the coworker on the ground to watch for the falling branches. The coworker on the ground carried the branches to the front and piled them by the chipper. After doing this approximately four times, Employee #1 told the coworker that he would have to climb the other tree in the yard because he could see it needed trimming. He told the coworker to put on his climbing gear and the coworker did. Employee #1 was still in the tree at this time. After the coworker had started his climb and had reached the first crotch on the trunk of the other tree, he heard a loud cracking sound, like a branch breaking. The coworker heard the branch hitting other branches as it fell. He called Employee #1's name three times, but he did not respond. The coworker climbed down from his tree, and he saw Employee #1 lying on the ground, on his back. The coworker ran to Employee #1, as he was trying to get up. Employee #1 said he couldn't feel his legs and kept asking the coworker what happened. The coworker told Employee #1 to stay down and not move, while he called emergency medical services and then the supervisor. Employee #1 was taken by ambulance to Northridge Hospital in Northridge, CA. The fall caused Employee #1 to be paralyzed from the waist down, and he was hospitalized for almost five months. No serious accident-related violation was determined to have occurred.
Keywords: paralysis, tree limb, spine, tree, unstable surface, fall, tree trimming
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 314822164 Hospitalized injury Other Laborers, except construction

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