Company fined for death of employee hit by a tree

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration released the results of their investigation into the worksite accident that killed 22-year-old Mark Ellsworth on November 21, 2013.

Ellsworth was working for R and R Excavating at a site on the Notre Dame campus when the tree fell and killed him.

IOSHA found 5 serious violations and imposed a $3,500 penalty for each violation.

Violation 1: R and R Excavating did not provide ballistic nylon leg protection or equivalent protection to employees designated to use the chain saw.

Penalty: $3,500

Violation 2: Employees were not organized so they were prevented from entering an area where trees were being felled.

Penalty: $3,500

Violation 3: Employees were not provided with whistles, horns or radios, or other means necessary to notify an employee that another employee was entering their work zone.

Penalty: $3,500

Violation 4a: Before November 21, employees were not instructed in the regulations applicable to their work or recognizing hazards related to their work.

Penalty: $3,500

Violation 4b: Before November 22, employees doing the logging operation were not given first-aid or CPR training.

Penalty: None

Violation 5: On or before November 22, employee approached a mechanical felling operation and was not two tree lengths away from the tree being felled and approached without the operator acknowledging it was safe, resulting in the tree striking the employee causing death.

Penalty: $3,500

The company has 15 days to pay the penalties unless they contest the order.

Notre Dame declined to comment.


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