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California worker decapitated in bizarre workplace accident

Posted on January 26, 2012 in Workers' Compensation

A worker in Northern California was killed earlier this month while on a work crew that was clearing brush. The man was decapitated by a rope that was being used to tie together brush to bring to the wood chipper that the man was operating. Somehow the rope got wound around the man’s neck and he was beheaded.

The gruesome workplace accident took place in Nevada City, California, roughly 50 miles northeast of Sacramento. The 50-year-old man, who lived nearby in Applegate, California, was working with the crew on a hillside. The other members of the crew were gathering brush and tying it together, and then the victim would feed the brush into the wood chipper.

The accident occurred when one of the ropes was sucked into the wood chipper and the victim became entangled, according to the county’s chief deputy coroner. Early reports on the accident said that the man himself was sucked into the wood chipper, but that turned out to be false, the coroner said. The accident was to be further examined by California workplace safety investigators, he said.

Regardless of the circumstances of the accident, the man leaves behind a wife and two adult children who are now faced with a new reality without him. At this point, the family may wish to consult with an attorney with experience with workers’ compensation and wrongful death claims. While their loved one cannot simply be replaced, there may be compensation available to them as a result of their loss.

Source: Reuters, “Man decapitated in wood chipper accident, coroner says,” Jan. 13, 2012