GASTONIA, N.C. – A teen has died in North Carolina after he was pulled into a wood chipper on his first day on the job.
Mason Cox, 19, was putting tree limbs into the wood chipper outside a job site in Kings Mountain when business owner, Jon Crawford and other workers heard the machine get bogged down.
Authorities say Cox was attempting to kick a tree branch that got jammed in the machine when he was pulled in.
Crawford hit the kill switch and put the machine in reverse, but it was already too late. Cox was pulled into the machine, sending his co-workers and boss into a tailspin of emotion.
His colleagues started running around in shock, ripping off their gloves and their hats. Crawford, meanwhile, suffered a heart attack at the scene and had to be rushed to the hospital.
Cox had just started working for Crawford’s Tree and Stump Grinding Service on Saturday.
OSHA is investigating the accident. Police ruled the incident as accidental, and no foul play is suspected.
In its science blog, The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) says the hazards of working with wood chippers are well known and practical methods exist for preventing fatalities. Employers need to have safety and health programs that ensure workers are appropriately trained and supervised before they work with hazardous equipment, such as wood chippers.