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Fatal injury in tree felling and related activities, Victoria, Australia 1992–2007
  1. Lisa Ruth Brodie,
  2. Joseph Elias Ibrahim
  1. Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Ms Lisa Ruth Brodie, 57–83 Kavanagh Street, Southbank, Victoria 3006, Australia; lisa.brodie{at}coronerscourt.vic.gov.au

Abstract

This study aims to examine fatalities resulting from tree felling and related activities in Victoria, Australia, involving work and do-it-yourself (DIY) activities, 1992–2007. Case identification was undertaken using coronial databases. A manual review of coroners' findings of closed cases was performed. Data collected and examined comprised demographics, occupation, incident location, activity, equipment used, injury mechanism and cause of death. Sixty-two cases were identified during the 16-year period; over 50% comprised DIY deaths (n=33). All but one victim was male. The median age for paid workers was less than for DIY (43 years vs 59 years). One-third of work activities were performed by persons outside professional tree-felling industries. While commercial forestry and logging industries experience a high fatality rate in Australia, non-professionals are also vulnerable to tree-felling injury. Study findings identified in excess of 70% of fatal incidents involved persons not employed within a relevant industry. Prevention efforts must focus on safety beyond workplaces and certain industries alone to reduce these deaths.

  • Coroner
  • do-it-yourself
  • occupational injury
  • tree felling

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Footnotes

  • Funding The research was undertaken by the work-related liaison service located at the coronial services centre, funded by Worksafe Victoria.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine Human Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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