Safety Focus of the Week: Wood Chipper Operations
Despite the emergency shutdown features on a wood chipper, 39 deaths occurred from 1996 to 2005 in the workplace involving a wood chipper.
OSHA has a “Safety & Health Information Bulletin” on wood chippers: OHSA on Wood Chippers
The basic safety precautions for safe operation of a wood chipper includes:
- Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the operators manual including safe practices for feeding the chipper.
- Prior to use, inspect the chipper. Verify that the emergency shutdown systems are operational and that all guards are in place and secure.
- Wear the proper PPE, including gloves, forestry helmet, boots
- Use the manufactures lock-out procedures whenever working on the equipment
Of the fatalities referenced in the OSHA Bulletin, one occurred because the operators glove cuff got caught in the brush and another occurred while using a chipper with a winch system that got caught in the cutter drum and recoiled back at another worker.