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Multiple news media sources report the death of a tree trimmer who fell into a wood chipper in the Menlo Park area on Tuesday, which caused his tragic death. Menlo Park is a city of 72,000 about 35 miles south of San Francisco.

Cal/OSHA is investigating the cause of this industrial accident, but they will not immediately release their findings until the investigation is concluded. It is not known at this time if there were safety violations behind this event.

According to the press report by the Menlo Park Police Department, Menlo Park Police officers responded to the 900 block of Peggy Lane in Menlo Park of the report of a tree trimmer who fell into a chipper. When police units arrived on scene, a male subject was found deceased from injuries sustained from the incident.

Menlo Park Fire Protection District and the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office also responded. The identity of the worker has not been released. The identification of the worker is the jurisdiction of the coroner’s office pending notification of next of kin.

The man was later identified as Jesus Contreras-Benitez. He was 47 years old and resided in Redwood City, according to the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office. He was an employee of the arboricultural firm S.P. McClenahan, a division of .FA Bartlett Tree Expert Company.

Bartlett Tree Experts was founded in 1907 by Francis A. Bartlett and it claims on its website to be a “leading scientific tree and shrub care company.” It has over 100 offices worldwide.

Coworkers declined to talk about the victim.

Tree care operations include the trimming, pruning, felling, and removal of trees and bushes. They involve climbing trees, using portable ladders, working at heights while using hand and portable power tools, working near energized overhead or downed power lines, feeding chippers, and other hazardous operations.

Tree work accidents can result in severe traumatic injuries and deaths. The most commonly reported causes include falls, electrical shock, being struck by falling objects, and chain saw lacerations. Most are preventable through hazard recognition, hazard control, effective employee training, and the use of appropriate personal protective equipment.

Chippers can be very dangerous devices that have caused serious injuries, such as cuts, amputations, crushing injuries, and death. To advance safety in the workplace, employers must ensure that employees read and understand the manufacturer’s instruction manual and must provide effective training. Employees must be made aware of the hazards involved in chipping and must always follow safe work practices and procedures.

The Division of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Health publishes a Tree Work Safety Guide which dedicates several pages to safety suggestions for the operation of a wood chipper by tree trimmers.