An employee of a landscaping and tree-cutting company died after being struck by part of a tree.
A fellow employee was cutting a section of the tree when it fell and struck 20-year-old Romero Tirado, who was also working for Pablo’s Tree Service and was standing on the sidewalk. The accident occurred at 1:13 p.m. on Saturday in Dolton, Illinois.
According to the Lake County Coroner’s Office, Tirado was declared dead at 1:25 p.m. after being taken to Franciscan St. Margaret Health Hospital in Hammond, Indiana.
“It just appears to be a freak accident,” Dolton Police Chief Robert M. Collins Jr. told The Times of Northwest Indiana.
Pablo’s Tree Service, whose address is unknown, had been hired to cut down a homeowner’s tree. The police are now investigating whether the tree service is licensed or had the proper permits to work on the property.
According to the Tree Care Industry Association, about 580 people died in tree trimming accidents from 2009 through 2015.
In order to lessen the risk of being struck by falling objects, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers these precautions:
- Establish and mark drop zones where there is a hazard of objects falling.
- Ensure workers receive training procedures on entering a drop zone.
- Maintain that workers keep a distance of at least two times the height of the tree for tree-felling operations.
- Provide personal protective equipment, such as hard hats, to protect against injury.
There are currently no federal safety standards that apply specifically to the tree-trimming industry, but OSHA has recently renewed its efforts to develop rules specifically for arborists.
“Due to the high number of fatalities in this industry, OSHA has decided that a dedicated standard is necessary,” Amanda McClure, an agency spokeswoman, told Reveal.