Second Tree Worker Killed on the Job

June 29, 2018

Press Statement
Jeff Newton, Communications Director
(617) 825-7233 x14
Second Tree Worker Killed on the Job
BOSTON          The death of a David Bova, 34, of Salem, NH, in Rowley, MA yesterday is a tragic reminder that working at heights remains a very dangerous job and that it is essential that employers take the time to carefully implement OSHA-required safety measures, said the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health (MassCOSH) in a statement released today.

According to Essex District Attorney’s Office, Bova fell almost 50 feet while preparing to remove a branch. 
38-year-old Athol native, Lewis P. Umbenhower III was killed on June 11 when he fell 30 feet out of a tree he was cutting. Since January 2018 there have been 28 work deaths in Massachusetts, eight of which were falls.  In 2017, out of a total of 74 workers who lost their lives on the clock, 18 were lost from falling injuries.
Employers should ensure that when employees are located within a tree, they use a minimum of two means of being tied in the tree at all times. The practice of having ‘two means of being secured’ provides the arborist the ability to be tied in at all times.  Once in the work position and before the work begins, the arborist must be tied in and remain tied in until the work has been completed and they have returned to the ground.  When the climbing line needs to be repositioned, it should be ensured that the arborist is secured by the positioning lanyard. 
Tree hazards will continue to be an increasing problem, with extreme weather causing the need for tree repair work to grow. Besides falls from heights, tree repair presents other hazards since trees in need of work tend to be unstable and power lines around them are often damaged, creating electrical hazards.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of David,” said MassCOSH’s Executive Director Jodi Sugerman-Brozan. “Over the years, we have seen too many tree workers die needlessly on the job, including Lewis just days ago, and we demand employers in this field use every safety precaution to keep their workers safe.”

About MassCOSH
MassCOSH strives to ensure that all workers earn their living and return home alive and well. MassCOSH unites workers, unions and community groups with environmental and health activists, to end dangerous work conditions, to organize for safe, secure jobs, and to advocate for healthy communities. Through training, technical assistance and building community/labor alliances, MassCOSH mobilizes its members and develops leaders in the movement to end unsafe work conditions.