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The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has cited a tree-trimming company $23,200 for serious workplace safety violations following an investigation of an accident that killed a 24-year-old worker in Napa nearly six months ago, Cal/OSHA announced Monday.
On Aug. 15, 2017, the Gorilla Tree Service employee was working on the ground as part of a two-person crew removing limbs from a liquidambar tree when a rope used to lower limbs from an aerial bucket was caught and pulled into the chipper, strangling him, according to a press release.
Cal/OSHA’s investigation found that the Napa-based company was unable to certify it had properly trained the worker, who had been employed at the company for about six months, according to the release.
“Tree work is a high-risk industry, and safety requirements are in place to protect workers from known hazards,” Cal/OSHA chief Juliann Sum said in the press statement. “Employers must ensure that workers are effectively trained to use brush chippers and other dangerous machinery safely.”
Over the past six years, brush-chipper-related incidents in California have resulted in one fatality and four serious injuries, according to Cal/OSHA.
Management at Gorilla Tree Service did not return calls for comment.
California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited six employers a total $241,950 in penalties for workplace safety and health violations after reports that workers contracted valley fever on a solar project construction site in Monterey County.