Accident Briefs for December 2020

The first three items occurred in October and November but were missed in previous TCI Magazine Accident Briefs reports.

Homeowner injured in struck-by

A homeowner was severely injured October 1, 2020, in Edgecomb, Maine, when a large tree he was cutting down snagged the tree next to it, snapping the second tree off, which then struck him from behind.

Mike Requa, a Maine boat captain, was transported by LifeFlight to Maine Medical Center for emergency surgery. The tree burst his T6/T7 vertebrae, requiring his entire thoracic spine to be fused. The force also broke his scapula, clavicle, sternum, multiple ribs, tibia and fibula, and he suffered severe internal injuries including a collapsed lung, blood clot and perforated intestine, according to a report in the Boothbay Register.

Climber suffers serious cut

A tree trimmer was rescued from a palm November 22, 2020, in Hughson, California, after he apparently cut himself with his saw, became disoriented and slid about 30 feet down the trunk.

The man, in his late 40s or early 50s, was hired to do the tree work and was high in the tree when he suffered a cut on a forearm from his chain saw. It was unclear if he became disoriented or lost consciousness, but he then slid down the trunk until his fall was arrested by safety equipment. He was utilizing a fall strap and wearing gear on his knees and ankles.

He was able to assist in getting himself into a rescue basket with a firefighter. The victim was treated by an ambulance crew at the scene and taken to the hospital for treatment, according to a Modesto Bee report.

No injuries when cut tree strikes garage

A woman was home but uninjured after a neighbor’s tree that was being felled by a tree company struck her home’s garage November 25, 2020, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The tree service was hired to remove three trees, but one of the trees fell in an unintended direction.

Although the neighbor had assured the homeowner ahead of time that the tree service was bonded, it turned out it was not. The homeowner, who has a $1,000 deductible on her homeowner’s insurance and $13,000 in damage from the incident, is trying to get payment from the tree care company, according to a KFOR-TV report.

Tree falls on heavy equipment, killing operator

One person was killed December 9, 2020, in Jones County, Mississippi, when a tree fell on the cab of a track excavator the victim was using to clear land.

Volunteer firefighters spent three hours using chain saws and a Jaws of Life hydraulic tool trying to free the victim. The man, who was part of a crew clearing a tract of land, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a report.

Operator dies in lift bucket

An aerial-lift operator died after being found unconcious in the bucket while 40 feet in the air on a tree-trimming job December 10, 2020, in Russiaville, Indiana.

It was unclear if William Lidy, 65, of Russiaville, had some type of accident or if he suffered a medical incident. An autopsy was planned, according to a Fort Wayne’s NBC report.

Man pinned, injured by cut tree

A contractor was seriously injured after a derecho-damaged tree fell on him while he was trying to remove it December 11, 2020, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The 24-year-old man was found pinned underneath the tree, which had been damaged from the August 10 derecho. While cutting down the tree, it started to rotate and fell toward him.

Firefighters began emergency medical care, and once the tree was removed, the victim was transported to a local hospital, according to a KWWL Television report.

Homeowner pinned, killed by cut tree

A homeowner was killed December 11, 2020, in Somerset, New York, when a tree fell on him while he was cutting it down.

William Rucker, 76, of Somerset, was pinned by part of the tree’s trunk when it split and landed on him as he cut the tree with a chain saw.

Rescue workers were able to free Rucker but couldn’t revive him, according to WKBW-TV and Olean Times Herald reports.

Man killed after cut tree strikes lift

A man using a rented lift to help his son remove trees December 13, 2020, in Clermont County, Ohio, died when the top of a tree fell onto the lift platform.

Responding Felicity-Franklin Fire/EMS personnel found George Shelton, Jr., attempting to retract the lift that his father was in.

George Steven Shelton, Sr., 67, of Felicity, Ohio, had been operating the Genie manlift, cutting sections from the trees and allowing them to drop to the ground. While he was approximately 50 feet off the ground, a cut trunk section approximately 10 feet in length fell, landing on Shelton in the lift.

Fire department personnel were unable to get the lift to retract down far enough to remove Shelton from the bucket. The Bethel-Tate Fire Department responded with a tower truck and safely removed Shelton from the lift.

Despite efforts by emergency responders, the elder Shelton was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a report in The Highland County Press.

Man killed when cut tree rolls

A man cutting up a tree on the ground December 14, 2020, in Moscow Township, Michigan, was killed when the tree rolled and pinned him under it.

A large tree had blown over, and the 45-year-old man from Jerome was using a chain saw to cut the tree into sections. At some point while the man was cutting the trunk, the tree rotated back toward him, knocking him down and trapping him underneath, causing fatal injury, according to a WTVB report.

Landscaper seriously hurt in struck-by

A landscaper was seriously injured December 16, 2020, in Southold (Long Island), New York, when a large tree branch fell onto his head.

Landscapers with a local nursery were cutting down trees when the accident occurred.

First responders with the Southold Fire Department and Stony Brook First Responder unit treated the Peconic, N.Y., man, who was unable to move his legs, at the scene before the Suffolk police medevac arrived. The man was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital for treatment, according to a report in The Suffolk Times.

Man killed by cut tree

Joe Megredy, 57, of Leon, Kansas, died December 19, 2020, in Leon when a tree he was cutting down fell on him, according to a Butler County, Kansas, news report on Facebook,

OSHA inspection reports

TCI Magazine is doing something new with “Accident Briefs” starting this month, and it bears explanation. To provide a more complete picture of occupational incidents, we are including data from OSHA inspection reports for inspections conducted during the month under review. These will generally not contain any details of what happened. All we know is that the accident was serious enough that either 911 was called or the victim was hospitalized, or both.

An OSHA inspection classified as a “referral” means a first responder observed that an incident was occupational in nature and called OSHA, whereas one classified as “accident” means the victim was hospitalized and the employer notified OSHA. The date we publish is when the OSHA inspection was opened, and it may lag as much as a day or two behind when the incident actually occurred.

Tree care incidents involving civilians and tree workers, but not included in the inspection reports, will still be obtained from news stories and other sources as they always have been.

December 2, 2020 – An accident in Shaver Lake, California, resulted in a Cal/OSHA inspection.

December 2, 2020 – An electrical accident happened on Carroll White REMC electric lines between Monticello and Monon, Indiana. The official statement said it was an outside contractor’s tree-trimming crew member who was involved in the accident. Carroll White REMC officials could not say what the accident involved and what the condition was of the person or people involved.

December 4, 2020 – An accident in Walden, Colorado, resulted in an OSHA inspection.

December 7, 2020 – An accident in Palo Alto, California, resulted in a Cal/OSHA inspection.

December 7, 2020 – An accident in Amityville, New York, resulted in an OSHA inspection.

December 8, 2020 – An accident in Redding, California, resulted in a Cal/OSHA inspection.

December 10, 2020 – An accident in Fallbrook, California, resulted in a Cal/OSHA inspection.

December 11, 2020 – An accident in Santa Rosa, California, resulted in a Cal/OSHA inspection.

December 15, 2020 – An accident in Paradise, California, resulted in a Cal/OSHA inspection.

December 16, 2020 – An accident in Calistoga, California, resulted in a Cal/OSHA inspection.

December 22, 2020 – An accident in Auburn, New Hampshire, resulted in an OSHA inspection.

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