WorkCover investigating after workers feet amputated


WorkCover NSW is investigating after an incident at Carlingford where a 29-year-old man is reported to have had his feet amputated in a wood chipper.

Reports indicate the worker was feeding wood into a wood chipper when a small piece became stuck.

The worker is then reported to have been using his feet to push the piece of wood through the chipper before they came into contact with the moving blade, amputating them at the ankle.

The man was taken Westmead Hospital.

WorkCover sent an inspector to the site and will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.

WorkCover NSW General Manager Work Health and Safety Division John Watson said the incident was a reminder of the risks of working with powered tree machinery.

“Powered machinery used in the tree industry can be very dangerous, particularly wood chippers, stump grinders and chain saws,” Mr Watson said.

“Operators should wear appropriate protective equipment such as head, eye and hearing protection.

“When using a wood chipper, operators must not allow anyone to walk in front of the discharge shoot while the disc or rotor is moving.

“Wood chippers should be fed from the side of the centre line and the operator should immediately turn away from the feed table when the brush is taken into the rotor.

“The disc or drum of a chipper can take several minutes to stop moving, so operators should keep clear.

“And most importantly, as this tragic incident highlights, never use your hands or feet to push material through the chipper or it could result in serious injury or death.”

WorkCover NSW recommends operators take the following precautions when working with powered tree machinery:

  • Have a copy of the relevant operator manual available and accessible on site
  • Ensure it has been maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications or recommendations
  • Check that all moving parts are adequately guarded and that guards are in place and secure
  • Check that any blades, cutting or grinding parts are secure and sharp
  • Check that any safety trips work

When using powered tree machinery the operator should:

  • Wear appropriate protective equipment such as head, eye and hearing protection
  • Avoid wearing anything that could catch on material being fed into the machine

Further information on working safely with powered tree machinery can be found in the Amenity Tree Industry Code of Practice on the WorkCover NSW website.

From WorkCover NSW.

Author: The Age

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