Spring Tree-Trimming Results in Injury

Photograph is from NIOSH report F2012-04 Date Released: August 20, 2012

John R. Yannaccone, PE, Senior Mechanical Engineer ::::
Case Synopsis: A homeowner rented a towable boom lift to assist with the removal of branches that overhung his house. After beginning removal of the limbs, the homeowner realized that as he cut the branches from the tree, they were dropping onto his roof and rain gutters. In order to prevent damage to his roof and gutters, he decided to tie the branches to the platform rails prior to cutting them from the tree. This was effective for a short period of time in preventing limbs from falling onto his house. After cutting a number of branches, which were all tied to the platform railing, the homeowner cut another branch and the lift began to tip over and came to rest against the side of the house. The homeowner fell to the ground and sustained serious injuries.
Expert Analysis: At the time of renting the boom lift, the homeowner was instructed he was not to have more than two people on the platform at one time and he was to operate the lift only on level ground. Other than those warnings, and some basic instructions on the use of the boom lift controls, he received no other safety instructions for the lift. He was able to use the lift safely for a period of time until the branches continued to increase the load on the platform. When the additional weight of the branches exceeded the tipping point the lift, it proceeded to tip over. The subject lift was equipped with a tilt alarm warning system, which appeared to be operational. Reports of responders following the fall indicated hearing a buzzer and seeing the tip over warning lamp lit on the lift. Continue reading “Spring Tree-Trimming Results in Injury”