LIMB INJURES CHAIN SAW OPERATOR WHILE DELIMBING
BACKGROUND: A member of a three-man logging crew was manually delimbing a tree several yards from the deck on a sunny fall day in the South.
PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS: The 25-year old worker had worked for his employer approximately three months and had never received formal training on delimbing trees. His boss considered "on-the-job training" the best type of training for his employees. Although he was new to the job, the worker attempted to perform all tasks safely.
UNSAFE ACT OR CONDITION: The worker began delimbing a tree that initially appeared easy to work on, so he gave it a quick glance and positioned himself behind a branch and began cutting on the edge of the limb furthest from him. He failed to notice that the end of that limb bent forward and underneath the trunk of the tree, under considerable tension.
ACCIDENT: As he cut the limb, it snapped backwards and hit his right leg just above the knee.
INJURY: The limb broke his femur (thigh bone) and shattered his knee. He spent over ten months in therapy and eventually returned to work, although not in logging. He is limited to performing tasks that do not require long periods of standing.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CORRECTION:
- OSHA requires all logging employees to undergo thorough training on recognition and avoidance of hazards for any logging task to which they are assigned prior to beginning work.
- Trees should be closely inspected prior to delimbing, and workers should position themselves such that no limb or branch, or movement of the trunk, will cause injury.
- To release the tension in spring poles, with a chain saw carefully shave off fiber from the underside of the spring pole at the point of greatest tension, such that the limb weakens and the tension slowly releases.
Southcentral Technical Division Forester