Worker dies in tree-trimming accident

A tree-trimming accident on July 27 led to the death of a Pennsylvania employee of the tree-trimming company. The workplace accident occurred in Bethlehem near the Minsi Trail Bridge on the Lehigh Canal towpath. The company, Asplundh Tree Expert Company, had been contracted by PPL Electric Utilities to clear tree branches in advance of the city’s upcoming 10-day music festival, Musikfest.

The 42-year-old tree trimmer struck an active power line that was carrying over 12,000 watts of electricity. The tree trimmer’s truck struck fire and he then either fell or jumped into the Lehigh River below. A spokesman for the utility company said it is common for power lines to remain active during tree trimming and that the trimmers are trained to cut around the lines.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration began an investigation shortly after the accident occurred. The agency will review the incident to see if it could have been prevented and what could be done in the future to prevent similar accidents. If either of the companies are found to be liable, they could face fines. OSHA is expected to finish their investigation and issue a report within six months.

Workplace accidents are an all too common occurrence. In addition to physical injuries, victims of workplace accidents may suffer financial hardship. Injured workers may have to miss work while recovering from injuries. They may face significant medical bills and rehabilitation costs. In serious injuries, the worker may be physically unable to return to their old job and may be forced to learn a new skill or adjust to a decreased quality of life. In fatal accidents, the victim’s family may face financial need due to the loss of their loved one’s income. An attorney with workplace accident experience could help a victim or victim’s family file damages against potentially liable parties and obtain full and fair financial compensation for the accident.

Source: The Express Times, “OSHA investigating fatal tree-trimming accident on Bethlehem’s towpath“, Sarah M. Wojcik, July 29, 2013

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