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A word of CAUTION

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Bull, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. Bull

    Bull LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Posts: 308

    For anyone doing storm cleanup or any tree work in the future I wanted to remind everyone of an incident that happened some years ago. A large tree was blown over and totally uprooted as we have all seen before. The dad goes out with the chain saw and starts the delimbing process working his way back towards the root structure. Not knowing the entire time that his young son had found the uprooted area a fun place to play in the dirt. Well at a certain point he had cut enough off of the tree that the trunk and root system suddenly uprighted itself fatally crushing his son. So remember to think, work slowly and be careful in all that you do.
  2. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    Sad story. You have to feel sorry for the dad. Having that on his mind for the rest of his life

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    As a Boy Scout leader, we teach the kids to rope off an area if they are going to cut or chop wood and to make sure that area is free from people. The same thing should apply to all work being done and every effort should be put into making sure the area is clear. Kids can move fast and may have to be removed from the property so you can work safe. A few min. on safety beats a lifetime of grief.
  4. Gene $immons

    Gene $immons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,028

    Sort of a similar story ...

    A local boy here was playing in a large pile of sand that was dumped at a new home construction site. The sand was semi moist and th dug a tunnel into the pile. The tunnel caved in and he was found dead the next day.

    Please remind your kids to never do this if they see a pile of sand.
  5. CuttingCrew

    CuttingCrew LawnSite Member
    Posts: 193

    $5 worth of caution tape and some stakes truly can be priceless. Always try to stay aware of people, especially kids, approaching you work site.
  6. fcl01

    fcl01 LawnSite Member
    from OHIO
    Posts: 249

    the really sad part is that ive seen many stupid parents tell their kids to "go watch the landscaper" just to get them out of their hair. its amazing how ignorant some adults are about the dangers of a worksight. ive actually had to tell many parents that im not here to amuse your kids, im here to work, and that they need to keep their kids in the house.
    and to top it off, some have actually argued with me about letting their kids play near us while we're working! :dizzy:
  7. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    Guys / Gals
    What exactly is a "widow maker" I read and hear the term often from lumber jacks. I gather it is a dead branch in a tree that falls suddenly but I'm not exactly sure. Per the thread this to can be a safety hazard to remind our fellow colleagues about.

  8. fcl01

    fcl01 LawnSite Member
    from OHIO
    Posts: 249

    any limb that is hanging in a tree or laying across another limb and is not attached is a widowmaker. i always remove these first(if possible) before felling any tree. i try to pay very close attention to these every time i cut ever since a 3" dia.x 4' limb fell on my back, horizontally thank god, while i was cutting one time. never saw it hanging there before i cut but i sure noticed afterward
  9. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    fc101 gave a pretty good answer to this question but it is not a complete description. A widow maker can also be discribed as any unseen hazard that can indanger the chainsaw operator or any other person in the vicinity of the work zone. Ex. A branch, log, or other obstical that can interfer with the operators escape zone. A limb or other small tree that is bent under pressure of the weight of the already fallen tree. It can also be a loose or dead top of another tree that is in the direct fall path of the tree being felled. To prevent these hazards from becomeing "widow makers" a chainsaw operator should observe the tree that they are wanting to saw as well as the area around the tree, and other trees in the vicinty of the tree that is being sawed. This means looking up as well as down and around. Things to look out for are small trees and bushes that are next to the base of the tree being felled. These can present a tripping hazard incase of a hastened retreat becomes necessary by the chainsaw operator. Other obsticals such as other already felled trees, dead limbs laying close to the base of the tree, small bushes or trees that will be crushed by the larger tree being felled. These can present a danger of springing back as the weight of the felled tree is removed or cause kickback of the saw. A bent over tree will splinter and snap back violently even if only slightly tipped with the running chain of a chain saw. Watch out for other workers in the area. More than one person has been crushed because they got into the path of a tree being felled. It is the chainsaw operators responsibility to insure that no-one comes into the danger area where they are attempting to fell a tree. The operator should always stop sawing and make a visible inspection of the work area before making the final cut that will drop the tree. Trees that are cut on the side of steep hills can actually be caried by the tops or limbs of other standing trees as they fall. This means the danger zone can be extended by several feet beyond the expected distance that the top of the tree should reach when it hits the ground. On steep mountanious slopes I have seen entire trees carried two and three time there entire lenght down the side of the mountain simply because the tree they where falling into prevented the cut tree from falling cleanly onto the ground. Each one of the still standing trees would snap back and slingshot broken limbs in the direction of the base of the falling tree. I have also seen trees hit the ground and slide several feet because of the steepness of the slope. Trees that are uprooted because of storms or other trees knocking them over do have the tendency to upright themselfs as soon as the weight that is keeping them down is removed. The roots will act as springs, as well as the weight of the dirt on the root ball, pulling the "stump" back into the hole as is the case in this incident.
    My advice to anyone, that isnt familar with the dangers of sawing down or trimming trees, that it is best to leave tree removal to the experts.
  10. Geoffrey

    Geoffrey LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    fclo1 and Muddstopper,
    Thanks that really clears it up for me.


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