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Workplace accidents: Veteran logger killed while cutting tree

The California Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is reportedly busy with an investigation into a logging accident that recently occurred near Healdsburg in Sonoma County on a recent Wednesday. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says 19 California workers lost their lives in workplace accidents in the farming, fishing and forestry industries in 2014. A 61-year-old man, who had been cutting trees and working with chainsaws for 30 years, lost his life in this tragic accident and will now be part of the statistics.

It was reported that the deceased logger was a licensed forester who had been in the employ of the logging company for approximately 15 years. According to his employer, it is customary for timber cutters to work on their own in order to avoid another worker being hit by a felled tree. When co-workers noticed his absence, they went looking for him and found him pinned under a log on a steep hillside approximately 50 feet lower than the logging road.

It is suspected that he was in the process of cutting a felled tree when he was struck and thrown back with the log landing on top of his chest. It is not known whether the deceased worker wore protective equipment, but his employer said even if he had, the equipment would have been safety goggles and a hard hat that would have provided no protection. It was reported that the worker had no dependents other than his elderly father for whom he cared.

Workers are typically covered by the workers' compensation insurance system, and in cases of fatal workplace accidents, covered dependents are usually entitled to pursue death benefit claims to cover end-of-life expenses. Under California workers' compensation law, death benefits may be claimed by those who are dependent or partially dependent on a worker who died after an on-the-job injury. Depending on the dependent's status, compensation for lost wages may also be awarded.

Source: pressdemocrat.com, "Man killed in logging accident west of Healdsburg", Guy Kovner, Nov. 5, 2015

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