2009-01-30 Worker dies when struck by board

Safety Alert Type: 
Wood Products Manufacturing
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A worker at a wood-processing plant was feeding rough lumber into a stripsaw. The boards were 2 inches thick, 8 inches wide, and 5 feet long. The employer had instructed workers to feed the lumber into the stripsaw from the side. The employer's written job safety analysis also requires workers to load lumber from the side. However, to push the boards into the machine with enough force, the worker stood at the end of the infeed table. A board kicked back out of the stripsaw, breaking into 3 pieces. One of these pieces struck another board on the infeed table. That board shot back down the table, striking the worker and causing fatal injuries.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Perform a risk assessment for each machine and reduce the risk of injury through safeguarding. The hierarchy of safeguarding, from most effective to least effective, is as follows:

  • Elimination or substitution (e.g., eliminate human interaction)
  • Engineering controls (e.g., effective kickback fingers, barrier guards, two-hand controls, presence-sensing devices)
  • Awareness (e.g., warning signs and labels, computer warnings)
  • Training and procedures (e.g., safe work procedures, lockout)
  • Personal protective equipment (e.g., safety eyeware, hearing protection)

Always start at the top of the hierarchy and choose a less effective safeguard only when the more effective solution is impracticable. However, the type of safeguarding chosen must always be appropriate for the level of risk. 

Provide workers with the supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety when operating machines.

Instruct workers to report any unsafe acts or conditions. Take corrective action without delay.

Follow the employer's established safe work procedures


For more information on this submitted alert: 


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2009-01-30 Worker dies when struck by board.pdf
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