In what should be a reminder to all of the dangers of operating a wood chipper, a landscape contractor in Davie, Florida, was pulled completely through a chipper while feeding in branches. The landscape crew reportedly was clearing brush around a community center in a residential neighborhood when the incident occurred.
Other people in the crew did not see the accident, but immediately ran to a nearby home for help when they realized what had happened. Officers and fire rescue personnel were called to the scene, but it was obvious that the victim was already dead.
“You hear about this stuff in movies, but then suddenly it happens right outside your doorstep,” said a local resident. “All of a sudden, I heard these sirens and looked outside. It was horrifying.”
Davie Police Captain Dale Engle said he'd "never seen anything like this…it is a gruesome scene. This isn’t something you see every day. This isn’t something you can just go home and forget about.”
"It’s sad,” said another neighbor. “The guys were working really hard and he just made a mistake, I guess.”
The landscaper reportedly had many years of experience in the industry, but had only been steadily working for about a month at the company which employed him at the time of the accident. The U.S Labor Department’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration is investigating the incident, but exactly how the man got caught in the wood chipper is currently unknown.
According to OSHA, from 2000 to 2013 there were 11 wood chipper deaths in the United States. Although these incidents are rare, it highlights how a momentary lapse in concentration can have brutal consequences when dealing with heavy machinery.