A tree worker with 10 years' experience with a Holliston, Massachusetts landscaping company was killed in a horrific work-related accident Tuesday morning. Authorities say that the 26-year-old Norfolk man was cutting branches while working in a bucket lift. Authorities say that the worker accidently touched an energized power line while cutting, leading to the worksite accident.
The man first suffered an electrical injury, but a fire also erupted. Authorities say that the young man suffered serious burns as he and the bucket truck caught fire. When firefighters arrived at the workplace accident scene, emergency responders did not know if the bucket truck was still energized as there was still contact with the power line. A worker used heavy equipment to move the bucket truck away from the source of power before emergency responders could place the accident victim on a helicopter for transport to a Boston hospital.
The man was not conscious when emergency responders had arrived at the worksite on Shaw Farm Road in Holliston. The man reportedly died at Massachusetts General, according to MetroWest Daily News.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate the fatal worksite accident.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that roughly 14 percent of fatal accidents in the tree care industry involve electrocutions. The most common form of fatal injury related to tree trimming involves a worker being hit by a falling object—often a branch or other part of the tree.
In the construction industry, electrocutions is listed as the second most common form of fatal accident among what OSHA calls the “Fatal Four” in the construction industry. The leading cause of death in construction involve fall accidents, followed by electrocution, a worker being struck by a falling object and accidents where a worker is caught between to objects, including being pinned by a vehicle against a stable object.
Source: The MetroWest Daily News, “UPDATED: Worker in Holliston dies after shock, severe burns,” Norman Miller, Aug. 20, 2013