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California tree trimmer suffers fatal workplace injuries

Every industry has its own unique safety risks, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict regulations related to each industry. The federal agency's quest is to prevent incidents of workplace injuries and fatalities. Unfortunately, regulations are sometimes disregarded -- often with catastrophic consequences. One such preventable workplace fatality occurred on a recent Wednesday when an employee of a California tree trimming company was killed at a work site.

The victim was a 21-year-old man from Santa Rosa. Reportedly, he was struck by a falling log with a diameter of approximately eight inches. It was reported that the owner of the tree trimming company was in a tree at a height of about 80 feet. After clearing away thinner branches, he claims to have called down to the worker on the ground to warn him that he was about to cut the top of the tree.

However, it appears he failed to check that the worker at ground level had moved away and proceeded to cut the thick trunk of the tree. As it came down, it landed on top of the young worker, causing his death. Fire fighters reportedly arrived within 10 minutes, but it was too late to save the man's life. It is unclear whether the worker wore a protective helmet.

OSHA is investigating the workplace accident to determine whether this California worker's death was caused by safety violations. The surviving family members of the deceased worker may have to face multiple immediate challenges related to end-of-life expenses and lost income. Fortunately, the workers' compensation insurance fund provides survivor benefits to assist the dependents of those who have lost their lives after suffering workplace injuries. Compensation will help with expenses related to a funeral and burial, along with a financial package to assist with living expenses.

Source: pressdemocrat.com, "Man killed in tree-trimming accident near Sebastopol identified", Mary Callahan, Aug. 19, 2015

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