In forestry, the term widowmaker or fool killer describes a detached or broken limb or tree top and denotes the hazards that such features cause, being responsible for causing fatalities to forest workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration describes widowmakers as: “Broken off limbs that are hanging freely in the tree to be felled or in the trees close by.”
The object poses a risk to equipment or personnel working under or around the tree. The object can become dislodged by wind, or in the process of tree felling. Responsible for 11% of all fatal chainsaw accidents. NIOSH offers ways to eliminate risks by avoid working underneath them, knocking them down or pulling them down with a machine.
- U.S. Department of Labor photos representing the workforce - Occupational Safety & Health Administration
- Peters, P.A. “Chainsaw Felling Fatal Accidents” 1991. American Society of Agricultural Engineers. MI. Vol. 34, No. 6, pp. 2600-2608.
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