Dang! Accident, no injuries

Discussion in 'Awakenings' started by Tom Dunlap, Jan 1, 2015.

  1. Tom Dunlap

    Tom Dunlap Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2001
    Messages:
    14,507
    Location:
    Moved to Minneapolis
    A week ago I had an accident that I never saw coming. At the end, what I learned is that even after doing treework for over 40 years there are always 'firsts'.

    Here's the setup. A 9/10" dbh boulevard ash. Nice head lean to the lay which was across the street with plenty of space for the canopy. The trunk had unusually large flare for such a small tree. Since I don't like putting a face in big flare I moved up about a foot. After cutting the pie I let the face piece drop on the ground. I did the cutting from the left side as I face the lay. The pie dropped on the ground by my left toe. Really small pie too. I put the back cut in leaving hinge wood so that it fell as soft as possible. When the face closed the stump broke the hinge and dropped to the ground. Right on top of the pie piece. I watched as the stump did a 'Tiddly Wink' smack down on the face shooting it off to my left. After I saw that the tree was on the ground I glanced left. Dang! The face piece had gotten shot 25' back down the street hitting the windshield of a parked car~~~it did a serious smack too! If that had hit a person they would have been off to the hospital. Maybe killed if it hit their face or even their chest.

    Right away I called my foreman. Then I took pictures and knocked on the door where the car was parked. The owner came out. He didn't flip out, which he sure had the right to! He had been rear-ended a few days before by a hit/run that turned out to not have insurance. Fortunately, the damage was only to the glass, not the body...whew!

    What could I have done differently?

    First, another crew member wanted to fell the tree but I asked if I could. No reason either. He would have done something differently.

    Make a ground level face. No trunk drop then.

    Clear the drop zone by kicking the face piece away.

    Block the car or have it moved. But, really, how much acreage do we really need?

    The result...I had a de-briefing with my foreman. The crew was all stunned! What are the chances of that happening?! In all my years I've never had this happen...it won't again!

    A few days later the crew I was on was going to fell a 20+" dbh basswood. Same setup as mine. After the face was cut the sawyer shoved it out and it landed right in 'my place' ;) The guy on the front end loader [Avant] grabbed the face then hollared at me...making motions asking where I wanted it placed! Hahahaha! The ribbing has started.

    "One in a million" is what some people have said. Yup, I agree. Now I hope that no one else makes the same mistake.
     
  2. kstreehuggerco

    kstreehuggerco Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Messages:
    295
    Location:
    Loveland. Co
    That is a pretty freak accident. I will make a mental note to keep my face cuts out of the way.
     
    Stihlmadd likes this.
  3. flyingsquirrel25

    flyingsquirrel25 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2010
    Messages:
    1,879
    Location:
    South East, PA
    Great story Tom. Glad no one was hurt and everyone was able to learn from it.
    I had a similar accident 5 years ago where I was dropping a spar (tulip poplar 36" or so). My last cut in the tree had been a bypass cut at 35 or 40 feet. As soon as the spar hit my crash pad logs all was good... Until I wathed the video of the felling. A piece of the bypass broke off and launched at the side of my truck. No damage, and didn't even know until I was watching the video. But now I clean up the top of my spars so this can not happen again. I will see if I can find the video.
     
  4. MickCPitlick

    MickCPitlick Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2013
    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    New Jersey
    40 Years?
     
  5. Kevin

    Kevin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Messages:
    2,394
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Tom;
    An open face may have prevented that.
    Never a single thing that causes an accident.
     
    Treezybreez likes this.
  6. Tom Dunlap

    Tom Dunlap Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2001
    Messages:
    14,507
    Location:
    Moved to Minneapolis
    If I recall it was open and wide. Replaying the micro-second long video in my head tells me that the canopy hit the street then jumped or rolled...it moved, anyway, causing the bit of hing wood to break and release. Agreed...lots of little things come together to cause accidents.

    Yup...I've been climbing since I was 20 and worked on the ground for sometime before that. First paying treework was when I was 12...for the neighbor who taught me.
     
    Levi.CO and Stihlmadd like this.
  7. oldoakman

    oldoakman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2007
    Messages:
    3,929
    Location:
    Alorgia
    [QUOTE="Tom Dunlap, post: 409325, mem

    Block the car or have it moved. But, really, how much acreage do we really need?

    /QUOTE]
    1 1/2 times the height of the tree?. Apparently there must be something to this ANSI stuff;).
     
  8. Tom Dunlap

    Tom Dunlap Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2001
    Messages:
    14,507
    Location:
    Moved to Minneapolis
    Here's the Z:

    8.5.3 Workers not directly involved in the removal operation shall be clear of the drop zone, where practicable, beyond the length of the tree.
    8.5.4 In manual tree felling operations, non-involved workers shall be beyond twice the height of the tree or trunk being removed.
    EXCEPTION
    This requirement does not apply in the presence of site restrictions, such as
    waterways or cliffs. Other arborists and workers shall be beyond a tree’s striking
    range and at a distance as close to twice the tree’s height as practicable.

    Note, there are several 'escape clauses' in the verbiage:

    ...where practicable [not easy to clear every car and target from every boulevard tree felling]
    ...beyond the length of the tree [single length used here]
    ...site restrictions [urban settings, cars, fences, sidewalks...all potentially damaged]
    ...as close to twice [Yes, for people/crew, I want them as far away as possible]

    I'm not trying to weasel either. I made a mistake that caused an accident and disruption to my foreman and the car's owner. I'm sooo glad no one got hurt. The car was actually sitting in the prescribed 'escape path' to the rear and side of the face. If I'd face the tree an inch to the right...nothing would have happened and I wouldn't have had this learning experience.

    After this accident I've been paying much closer attention to the whole dropzone.
     
  9. macswan

    macswan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3,140
    Location:
    Champlain Valley, VT
    Good mental note, thanks Tom.
     
  10. Stihlmadd

    Stihlmadd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Messages:
    1,724
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Tom so the roll of the trunk as it came in contact the pie spat it out under the compression load? kinda like a automatic ball launcher uses two rollers to squeeze the ball slightly as it applies the spin?
    I have been making a habit of using the pie to soften the trunk end when it hits the ground, I think I will stop doing this from now on . Having heard of people being killed twenty feet away from the tree because of freak accidents I find your scenario all too believable.
     
  11. Tom Dunlap

    Tom Dunlap Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2001
    Messages:
    14,507
    Location:
    Moved to Minneapolis
    There's too likely a chance that some part of a tree can turn into shrapnel to not pay attention to the odd pieces laying in the drop zone.

    We've all seen pieces of the tree ping pong and go flying...through a window...into the pansies...whatever. After than happened a few times I kept things under control...and stopped having those things happen.
     
    Stihlmadd likes this.
  12. Stihlmadd

    Stihlmadd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Messages:
    1,724
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    yep thats the thing about habits they can be good and bad, just because you repeat them doesn't explain their validity.
     
  13. Daniel

    Daniel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Messages:
    2,690
    Location:
    Suburban Philadelphia (Wayne)
    Some people think I AM a little too concerned about little stuff like that. It comes from experience. When you are in this biz long enough you've seen some strange stuff happen... most of it doing no damage, just strange things flying around a job site from time to time.... (once it was a possum, catapulted into the side of a house)... I'd rather be careful than sorry... When weird things like that happen, there is no one to point the finger at... just learn from it and be glad it didn't turn out worse...

    That possum ended up trapped in a window well... so we dropped a big stick in there and went to lunch!
    I still remember my buddy saying "what was that?!!!" after the thing hit the house with a big thud and then dropped like a stone....

    We blew a 60' top out of a 90' tulip recently ( I was on the ground) 4" limb took off 45 degrees from the direction of fall and speared into the house siding, about 2o' from the drop... Would have been pricey if a storm damaged tree hadn't crushed that corner of the house, so it was under construction.. cost me $100... a small price to pay for such an unfortunate flying tree part.. another piece summersaulted about 20' in the air and landed in the garden, 50' from the drop.. Last time I'll drop such a big tulip top so close to anything of value...
     
    Treetopflyer likes this.
  14. frashdog

    frashdog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,309
    Location:
    Champlain valley, adirondack coast
    For real...IMO no one can be too concerned!
    You are so right weird stuff can happened when the wood hits.

    I like to communicate what is supposed to happen... Then what could go wrong and what we are doing to prevent be prepared...then allowing any one else's input...still poop happens.

    When I'm near wood hitting the ground, I have a habit of putting one arm in front of me vertically. Elbow bent, fist on forehead. I have seen pieces of wood fly in every random directions with enough force to kill. Rather break my arm then face. I do the same thing when bending over feeding the chipper.

    I've seen chunks fly up into the power lines after hitting frozen ground from 90'.
    I saw a fire wood size chunk hit another piece already on the ground and rocket 20' horizontally into one of my open truck doors, bent it so bad we could not close it, till we beat on it.
     
    TimBr and Stihlmadd like this.
  15. scott_baker

    scott_baker Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Messages:
    161
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Back in the 70's Mark James and I stove in the door of our brand new custom built truck when we felled a fir butt log...plenty of room...but a mossy timber bench, as I recall, shot that log like a spear! One in a million happens more than we think!
     
  16. TreeCo

    TreeCo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    Messages:
    2,807
    Of course I'm no where near as old as Tom but I've had tree trunks 'cherry pit' the wood from a felling notch before. Luckily I've never had one do any damage. When felling I've seen many a limb, twig or parts of trees go in unexpected directions and further than expected. I was grinding a stump once and saw sparks and thought I was hitting metal. I stopped, saw a wire, and asked the homeowner about it. His response: "Oh I forgot about that when you asked if the area was clear". It was only about 4" deep.
     
  17. Daniel

    Daniel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Messages:
    2,690
    Location:
    Suburban Philadelphia (Wayne)
    had a lady tell me there was no stone work around her driveway, no sidewalk or curb, then didn't want to pay when I took out a few dry set cobblestones that bordered the ENTIRE drive... under a foot of snow you can't see much... As the contractor I have to rely on the client's info.... never did get paid, which I can live with.. then she gave me a bad review on line... sometimes all you can do is shake your head and move on!
     
  18. August Hunicke

    August Hunicke Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Messages:
    241
    Tom, same thing happened to me one time. Silver maple. Large, 36 inch diameter face cut laying on the ground. had to have been at least 50 pounds, probably more. Spar landed on it. Shot it backwards, to my horror, and somehow magically went past the stump and kept going 30 feet toward the house. Hit the house at about 4 feet up right at the base of a window but not into the glass. I don't think a thousand pound gorilla could have done that. That giant odd shape was gaining altitude like it was shot out of a cannon.
    I remember saying only two words,
    "No fair!"
    Boogered up the sill and siding a little. Keep in mind, I was in the backyard, I had been falling this heavy spar away from the house. A total no-brainer. I walked around the house and knocked on the front door. The lady came out, and said yes she had heard the thunder. She came around back and looked at the damage and said don't worry about it. I had a sneaking feeling that a battering ram that size would have to have done something to the inside of the house. She told me it was her bedroom on the other side of that wall. I had her lead the way back there. Sure enough, her bed and room had wall plaster all over it. Made sense. Glad the window wasn't broken.
    What was odd about the job, was my wife just happened to be across the street at a friends house having a tea party with my mom and some other ladies. It wasn't our neighborhood, but my dad was there in my customers backyard watching my little three-year-old son because boys don't like tea parties and neither do grandpas. When I fell the spar westerly away from the house, they were about the same distance away as the house but south of me. They were crouching down against the fence and watching me work the face cut and back cut. My Spidey senses were tingling and I wanted to ask them to move around to the front of the house or something but I thought there's no way in hell they'll get hit by anything.
    Facing the music on the damage to the house felt like sunshine and butterflies knowing my innocent and admiring son and father were free'd the consequences of my average intellect.
     
    New2trees, Tom Lynch, tc262 and 2 others like this.
  19. Tom Dunlap

    Tom Dunlap Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2001
    Messages:
    14,507
    Location:
    Moved to Minneapolis
    August,

    Wow...what a story!

    After seeing what the tiny face piece did to the windshield I had to wonder what it would have done to a person. Like Scott said...stove in!
     
  20. frashdog

    frashdog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,309
    Location:
    Champlain valley, adirondack coast
    Jezzum....Well there we have it guy's... No excuses now, more those notches outta the way! Expect the unexpected!
     
    TimBr likes this.

Share This Page