Latest Safety and Health Information Bulletins Focus on Wood Chippers

Operating wood chippers can be dangerous for operators and others working
nearby. When employees feed tree limbs and branches into chippers they are at
risk of getting caught in the machine and being pulled into the fast-turning
chipper knives.

A Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB), published by the U. S.
Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, discusses
ways to reduce or eliminate "caught-in" and "struck-by" chipper-related
accidents. It discusses training and proper work practices and identifies
controls that manufacturers have installed to reduce the risk of serious

Employees must be protected from contacting operating chipper components such
as knives, feed rollers and chip discharge spouts. General industry machine
guarding standard requires that all machines be equipped with one or more
methods of guarding to protect the operator and other employees in the work
area from hazards such as those created by rotating parts and flying chips.

Employers should closely supervise newly-hired employees to ensure that they
are safely operating the chipper and should reinforce training through regular
safety talks and unannounced site visits. When an employee engages in unsafe
work practices, or disables existing safety devices, immediate corrective
action, including refresher instruction and/or disciplinary measures, should be

The following are recommended safe chipper work practices to reduce "caught-in"
and "struck-by" hazards:

  • Designate one or more employees as a safety watch to be stationed near
    emergency shut-off devices while other employees feed material into the chipper.

  • Stand to the side of the infeed chute when feeding material into the chipper.
    This reduces the "caught-in" hazard and allows quick access to emergency stop

  • Keep hands and feet out of the immediate infeed chute area while the chipper
    is running.

  • Push material into feed rollers with a wooden tool or a long branch.

  • Feed branches into the chipper butt-end first.

  • Place shorter branches on top of longer branches being fed into the chipper.

  • Place small debris into trash cans instead of feeding it into the chipper.

  • Never stand, sit or climb onto any part of the chipper while it is running.

  • Shut down the chipper and remove the ignition key when it is unattended.

  • Before starting a chipper, ensure that the chipper's disc hood is completely
    closed and latched, and that there are no foreign objects in the infeed area.

  • Ensure that the discharge chute is positioned to prevent chips from hitting

  • Do not stand in front of the feed table when the chipper is running.

  • Check material to be fed to ensure that it is free of metal and other foreign

  • Use proper locking pins to immobilize the disc cutting wheel when attempting
    to clear a clogged chipper chute or changing chipper blades.

More info

AplusA-online.de - Source: U. S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration