Following the derecho storm that tore through Iowa, tree crews are working continuously to pick up downed branches residents have left at the curb and trim broken limbs from damage trees. Much of the work involves using a chipper machine to cut tree limbs into small chips, which can be dangerous if precautions are not taken.
Among the common hazards associated with chipper machines are tree service workers making contact with or being pulled into a chipper; face, eye and hand injuries from flying debris; and hearing loss. Being aware of the risks and taking steps to mitigate the hazards can prevent workers from being injured on the job.
Preventing Wood Chipper Injuries | Protecting Tree Trimming Workers
It is important that workers not only follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and safety instructions, but also for companies to ensure workers are trained in the safe operation of the machine, supervising new workers until they are competent.
The Safe Operation of Wood Chipper Machinery
- Do not wear loose clothing as it can get caught in the machine.
- Never reach into the chipper while it’s operating. If it is necessary to unjam the chipper or perform any other service or maintenance, it is imperative to use a lock out system to ensure the machine is de-energized.
- Making sure there are machine guards at infeed and discharge points and preventing the opening of access points until the drum comes to a complete stop protects workers from contacting moving chipper components that can result in injuries.
- Personal protective equipment is a must. Always wear earplugs. Occupational hearing loss is real and one of the most common work related illnesses in the U.S. Wearing eye protection can prevent 90 percent of all eye injuries. The use of hard hats can protect workers from falling debris or projectiles that can result in traumatic brain injuries. Well-fitting gloves and other protective clothing can limit cuts and abrasions when handling rough materials.
- Secure chippers to prevent detached trailers chippers from unexpected rolling or sliding on gradual slopes by chocking the wheels.
- Maintain a safe distance between chipper operations and other work on the site.
Contact the Tree Trimming Injury Attorneys of Stoltze & Stoltze for Help
Tree service workers using wood chippers are at risk for serious injury or death, but many injuries can be prevented through proper training, machine maintenance, and the use of PPE. If you or a family member is injured in a wood chipper accident contact the work injury personal injury lawyers of Stoltze & Stoltze PLC for immediate assistance today at 515-244-1473.