19-year-old Mason Cox was killed after being pulled into a wood chipper in Kings Mountain, North Carolina.
Reports say Cox was trying to kick a tree branch that he was loading into the chipper when his leg got caught in the tree branch.
Cox had just recently been hired by Crawford’s Tree and Stump Grinding Service and the accident occurred on his first day on the job.
OSHA is investigating the situation.
On their website, OSHA has an entire Safety and Health Information Bulletin regarding the dangers of wood chippers. The website page contains a break down of the mechanics of wood chippers, proper training guidelines, and even highly suggested work practices that employers should enforce strictly in order to prevent accidents similar to Cox’s.
One of the practices involves having two workers minimum stationed at a chipper so that one can stand watch as the other feeds wood into the chipper.
Other practices include keeping hands and feet out of the immediate in-feed chute area while the chipper is running, pushing material into feed rollers with a wooden tool or a long branch, and feed branches into the chipper butt-end first.
OSHA also offers tips employees can take in regard to self-protection. For example, workers are encouraged to wear helmets, gloves with no cuffs and close-fitting clothing that is tucked in, free of stray strands or other loose ends that could get caught in the chipper as they work. These are all ways to minimize workplace injuries.