OSHA investigating after tree trimmer killed in Jacksonville neighborhood

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A tree trimmer, who Jacksonville police said was between the ages of 35 and 45, got trapped beneath a stump grinder and died Wednesday from his injuries, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.

On the day of the accident, a Shaw’s Tree Service truck was spotted at the scene, and employees were later seen driving away with the stump grinder.

News4Jax I-Team records show than in June 2019, the company was involved in an incident in Northwest Jacksonville, where a tree trimmer was seriously injured in a fall. OSHA records don’t reveal any violations of fines related to the incident.

In 2017, a Shaw’s Tree Service employee was shocked while driving a bucket truck, when the arm holding the bucket came in contact with an electrical line.

The employee who was in the bucket saw a fire that started and jumped out. But the worker driving the truck had just stepped out to get a drink, and because he was touching the truck, he was shocked and burned.

OSHA records show Shaw’s was cited for two violations related to working around powerlines. It was originally fined $10,140, but an informal settlement resulted in the fine being reduced to $6,084.

The I-TEAM searched OSHA records going back 20 years and also found a 2011 inspection that resulted in violations. Two of the violations involved the use or operation of an aerial lift and the other involved eye or face protection. The company was fined $5,610, but following a settlement, the penalty was reduced to $3,366.

News4Jax on Thursday visited Shaw’s Tree Service’s location on Beaver Street. The company declined to comment about the Wednesday accident involving a stump grinder.

Shaw’s Tree Service is a locally owned and operated company, which according to its website employs certified arborists, professional climbers and experienced tree professionals.

OSHA is working to create new standards for tree care operations to protect workers who prune, repair, maintain or remove trees because of the high rates of injuries and deaths among workers in the industry.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.