A landscaper who was killed when he fell into a wood chipper on Oct. 8 has finally been identified by police as Nicholas M. Reardon, 72, owner of Landscape Unlimited in Stonington, Connecticut.
Reardon was working on some farm property when he was apparently sucked into the wood chipper.
Police and other first-responders made it to the scene about 3 p.m. The body was partially pulled from the wood chipper and the victim was pronounced dead.
According to Mystic River Press, Stonington Police Capt. Todd Olson said authorities believe the the death was simply a “terrible accident,” but the investigation is continuing.
Reardon was a known commercial tree service technician and eyewitnesses said that the machine was running all day. Police believe that he was working alone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from 1992-2002, 31 deaths were caused by mobile wood chippers and 68 percent of these deaths were a result of being caught or compressed in the wood chipper.
It is advised to never work alone with a wood chipper. One person should be loading the material while another is stationed by the emergency shut-off device.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has 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 (that is, two tree or log lengths) between chipper operations and other work/workers.
- When servicing and/or maintaining chipping equipment (for example, “unjamming”) use a lockout system to ensure the equipment is de-energized.