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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Inspection Detail

Inspection: 305842973 - Asplundh Tree Expert Company

Inspection Information - Office: Harrisburg

Nr: 305842973Report ID: 0316700Open Date: 10/28/2004

Asplundh Tree Expert Company
995 Conestoga Boulevard
Conestoga, PA 17516
Union Status: Union
SIC: 0783/Ornamental Shrub and Tree Services
NAICS: 561730/Landscaping Services
Mailing: 941 Nixon Drive, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

Inspection Type:Accident
Scope:Partial Advanced Notice:Y
Safety/Health:Safety Close Conference:12/21/2004
Close Case:08/08/2005

Related Activity:TypeIDSafetyHealth

Violation Summary
Serious Willful Repeat Other Unclass Total
Initial Violations 1 1
Current Violations 1 1
Initial Penalty $7,000 $0 $0 $0 $0 $7,000
Current Penalty $5,000 $0 $0 $0 $0 $5,000
FTA Amount $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

Violation Items
# ID Type Standard Issuance Abate Curr$ Init$ Fta$ Contest LastEvent
  1. 01001 Serious 19100269 C 01/11/2005 02/07/2005 $5,000 $7,000 $0 02/01/2005 F - Formal Settlement

Accident Investigation Summary
Summary Nr: 200570877Event: 10/27/2004Employee Killed When Struck By Falling Tree
Between 11:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. on October 27, 2004, Employee #1, a foreman, and three other employees (two other foremen and one trimmer/climber) of Asplundh Tree Expert Company worked to fell a sycamore tree that PPL, an electric utility, had identified as a danger tree (i.e., a tree in danger of falling onto the electric utility's transmission lines). The sycamore tree was about 85 feet tall and had a diameter of about 14.25 inches. The tree stood on a piece of private property about 60 feet west of PPL transmission lines. The sycamore had a southward lean and the land on which the tree stood angled down from north to south at about 8 degrees. A second tree, a box elder, not marked by the utility for removal, stood about 30 to 40 feet south of the sycamore. Several quad paths existed on the land around the tree. Prior to felling the sycamore, another employee used a chain saw to clear some thicket from around the base of the tree. Another employee then climbed the sycamore to install a hand line in the tree and to cut off side limbs. After the climber came down from the tree, the four employees discussed how they planned to fell the sycamore. One of the employees, a foreman, wanted to fell the sycamore in a westward direction so that the tree would land perpendicular to and away from the transmission lines. Employee #1 wanted to fell the sycamore in a southward direction so that it would land beside where the box elder stood. He said that the sycamore leaned southward anyway making it easier to fell it in this direction and said that felling the sycamore southward would result in less clean up. He also said that felling the sycamore in the westward direction would require the crew to cut the tree up to clear a quad path and other parts of the private property on which the work occurred. Additionally, he said that the clean up involved in felling the sycamore southward would consist of removing just one section of the felled tree to clear one quad path and leaving the rest of the tree as it had fallen. The other two foremen and the trimmer/climber agreed with these points made by Employee #1, and the four employees decided to fell the sycamore southward as suggested by Employee #1. Employee #1 worked as the feller and the other three employees stood in a spot south and slightly east of the sycamore to pull the hand line in the sycamore. Employee #1 notched the south side of the sycamore, and the three employees pulled on the hand line as Employee #1 back cut the north side of the tree. The sycamore started to fall. Employee #1 remained standing at the base of the sycamore. The three employees on the hand line let go of the rope and began to move away. Suddenly, the sycamore stopped falling because it had contacted the top of the box elder. Then, the sycamore got stuck in a dead pegger near the top east side of the box elder. The pegger in the box elder acted as the fulcrum and the sycamore see-sawed with the top of the tree hitting the ground and the butt of the tree rising up into the air. As the butt of the sycamore came back down to the ground, it struck Employee #1 in the head. The pegger in the box elder gave way causing the rest of the sycamore to fall to the ground directly beside the east side of the box elder. A short time later, the coroner pronounced Employee #1 dead at the scene.
Keywords: fracture, head, tree felling, work rules, tree, struck by
Inspection Degree Nature Occupation
1 305842973 Fatality Fracture Timber cutting and logging occupations

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