Landscape Worker Dies After Falling into Wood Chipper

Updated Jul 17, 2014
Photo: CBS MiamiPhoto: CBS Miami

One Florida landscape worker has died after somehow falling into a wood chipper.

Authorities and representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are continuing to investigate the scene for answers, according to CBS Miami.

Joseph Horta lives at the home in front of where the accident took place.

“You hear about this stuff in the movies, but then all of the sudden it happens right outside your door step,” Horta told CBS4′s Lauren Pastrana. â€śAll the sudden I hear all these sirens and I look outside and I see some piles of blood. It was horrifying.”

Investigators wore protective suits when handling the victim’s remains and tried to recover what they could from inside the chipper. 

Chippers cause a variety of accidents, which are similar to this one that happened in Florida. Chippers can be an extremely dangerous piece of equipment to work around, so workers need to be trained when dealing with the machine.

OSHA offers a variety of materials on the subject and also offers these tips:

  • Never reach into a chipper while it is operating.
  • Do not wear loose-fitting clothing around a chipper.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and safety instructions.
  • Use earplugs, safety glasses, hard hats and gloves.
  • Workers should be trained on the safe operation of chipper machines. Always supervise new workers using a chipper to ensure that they work safely and never endanger themselves or others.
  • Protect yourself from contacting operating chipper components by guarding the infeed and discharge ports, and preventing the opening of the access covers or doors until the drum or disc completely stops.
  • Prevent detached trailer chippers from rolling or sliding on slopes by chocking the trailer wheels.
  • Maintain a safe distance (i.e., two tree or log lengths) between chipper operations and other work/workers.
  • When servicing and/or maintaining chipping equipment (i.e., “unjamming”) use a lockout system to ensure that the equipment is de-energized.
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