Authorities have corrected earlier reports that said a worker on a team clearing debris in Nevada City, CA, had been killed in a wood chipper. The machine was involved in the fatality, but the worker was not pulled into it.
The victim, Martin Lara, 50, was operating an industrial-size chipper that was capable of processing full-size trees.
The local coroner’s office says Lara became tangled in something, possibly a piece of rope, that was caught in the wood chipper, which then got caught around his neck and decapitated him.
Other crew members heard Lara scream for help. By the time they ran to assist him, it was too late. Lara was pronounced dead at the scene.
Earlier reports said Lara had been pulled into the machine, but that wasn’t the case.
Fatalities in which workers are pulled into wood chippers are not all that rare. An average of four workers are killed using wood chippers each year, with 78% of the incidents occurring because the worker was pulled into the machine. Most of the remaining fatalities are incidents in which the worker is struck by something.
Click here for more information about working safely with wood chippers.