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#1
Old 04-10-2012, 05:34 PM
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I never knew wood chippers were this dangerous.

I'm thankful now that I didn't buy a wood chipper a few years ago. I knew they were dangerous just like a chainsaw, but not this dangerous. The main danger I knew about was it can jam and spit the branch back at you. I nasty way to get speared.

I'm still puzzled how it could drag this kid into the machine. You'd think that it would rip the branch from your hand before it would suck you in. I can't believe it jerked this kid right into the chipper. I wonder if the kid tried to feed something really short into the chipper? You don't feed a 8 inch long branch into a chipper.

Horrible accident. I'm really sad for the family.

I'll never rent or buy a wood chipper. That's for certain.
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/04/...lping-his-dad/

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-10-2012 at 05:38 PM.
#2
Old 04-10-2012, 05:40 PM
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Maybe a branch got snagged on his clothing or something. Adults typically only get hurt or killed by woodchippers when they do something stupid, such as using their leg to push a stubborn branch in, but kids haven't the strength or body mass to resist just being dragged in.

Horrible.
#3
Old 04-10-2012, 05:44 PM
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I wonder if that dad is going to be charged with negligence or manslaughter or something. I know he's suffering already by the death of his son, but I can't help but feel like he should be prosecuted for being so careless. Who lets their 6 year old anywhere near a woodchipper ??? Sounds awful to me.
#4
Old 04-10-2012, 06:01 PM
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I have a healthy respect for power tools, especially since a good friend of mine was killed while using a circular saw on a tree stump in his garden a few years ago. The thought of allowing a child to "help" with something like a wood chipper makes my blood run cold.
#5
Old 04-10-2012, 06:14 PM
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I once saw a one armed man feeding branches into a wood chipper. It's sad, and it's cruel that I can't help but grin a little thinking about it.
#6
Old 04-10-2012, 06:44 PM
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A friend reminded me that those commercial chippers are much bigger and more powerful than the ones you see at home depot. Yet another reason why kids shouldn't be anywhere near that kind of equipment.

The home depot ones are dangerous too, but they only accept a 4 inch diameter branch. You could lose an arm, but a body wouldn't fit.

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-10-2012 at 06:46 PM.
#7
Old 04-10-2012, 06:44 PM
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I thought that only happened in crazy movies like "Fargo".

That happened in "Fargo", right?
#8
Old 04-10-2012, 06:48 PM
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Jesus--my father wouldn't even let my sister and I anywhere near the lawnmower, let alone a wood chipper!

Of course, he knew damn well my sister and I were complete idiots, who could break our arms trying to turn on the garden hose . . .
#9
Old 04-10-2012, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I thought that only happened in crazy movies like "Fargo".

That happened in "Fargo", right?
I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper.

Last edited by Joey P; 04-10-2012 at 06:49 PM.
#10
Old 04-10-2012, 06:49 PM
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This real life murder (also in Connecticut) supposedly inspired the Coen brothers to write Fargo:

Helle Crafts murder
#11
Old 04-10-2012, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drewtwo99 View Post
I wonder if that dad is going to be charged with negligence or manslaughter or something. I know he's suffering already by the death of his son, but I can't help but feel like he should be prosecuted for being so careless. Who lets their 6 year old anywhere near a woodchipper ??? Sounds awful to me.
I think seeing your 6 year old being spit out of a machine in small chips is worse than what any court could do him. If his son decided to help out without his knowledge, I don't see how he could possibly be charged with anything. It's unfortunate, but sometimes people turn their back at the worst possible moment.
#12
Old 04-10-2012, 06:52 PM
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I have not lived an uneventful life, but I can't remember ever going from laughing (at the title) to deep sadness (at the content) as fast as I just did.
#13
Old 04-10-2012, 06:54 PM
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I read about a case with a municipal wood chipper, where the guy was feeding in a larger diameter branch. Apparenty he had it under his arm, and there was a protruding branch behind him. The branch hooked him from behind, and folded his spine in half as it pulled him into the chipper.
#14
Old 04-10-2012, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
I read about a case with a municipal wood chipper, where the guy was feeding in a larger diameter branch. Apparenty he had it under his arm, and there was a protruding branch behind him. The branch hooked him from behind, and folded his spine in half as it pulled him into the chipper.
I've always said those things should have some sort of panic buttons around the perimeter of the throat/mouth so that when something like that happens it's easier to shut off. They could be just outside the edge so that someone that's getting pulled in can blindly grab at them, but branches won't constantly trip them as they get pulled in.
Either that or a deadman's switch. That is, a button that has to be held down to keep it running. Nowadays, it seems like it would be trivial (even as a retrofit with a servo) to make it wireless. So you could keep a remote in your hand and engage the blades when you're feeding things into it, but if something goes wrong all you have to do is let go. (A lawnmower is a good example of a deadman's switch).

Whatever they do, ISTM there's got to be a way to shut it off from near the business end.
#15
Old 04-10-2012, 07:09 PM
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There was a horribly sad story about one a few years ago where a puppy's leash evidently got tangled in a branch or something and the dog died, AND a guy died trying to save it.
#16
Old 04-10-2012, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
I have a healthy respect for power tools, especially since a good friend of mine was killed while using a circular saw on a tree stump in his garden a few years ago. The thought of allowing a child to "help" with something like a wood chipper makes my blood run cold.
For me, it's the thought of allowing a free-roaming child anywhere within half a mile of a woodchipper, running or not. They're scary enough with just adults in the vicinity. I'm nervous enough when MR. S is out in the woods with his chain saw.
#17
Old 04-10-2012, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
I've always said those things should have some sort of panic buttons around the perimeter of the throat/mouth so that when something like that happens it's easier to shut off.
I read an article a couple of years ago about a man who developed a system to make table saws safer. But manufacturers didn't want to license it because it would add too much to the price of the lower end saws.

Sharp Edge: One Man's Quest To Improve Saw Safety by Chris Arnold
(NPR, Morning Edition, 5 July 2010)
#18
Old 04-10-2012, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
I've always said those things should have some sort of panic buttons around the perimeter of the throat/mouth so that when something like that happens it's easier to shut off. They could be just outside the edge so that someone that's getting pulled in can blindly grab at them, but branches won't constantly trip them as they get pulled in.
Either that or a deadman's switch. That is, a button that has to be held down to keep it running. Nowadays, it seems like it would be trivial (even as a retrofit with a servo) to make it wireless. So you could keep a remote in your hand and engage the blades when you're feeding things into it, but if something goes wrong all you have to do is let go. (A lawnmower is a good example of a deadman's switch).

Whatever they do, ISTM there's got to be a way to shut it off from near the business end.
Perhaps an infrared sensor that shuts the machine off if anything as hot as a living body starts to enter it. That would protect children and animals as well as the user.
#19
Old 04-10-2012, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Der Trihs View Post
Perhaps an infrared sensor that shuts the machine off if anything as hot as a living body starts to enter it. That would protect children and animals as well as the user.
That's an interesting idea, but how would it determine that on a hot 100°+ summer day?

Doesn't the wood heart to ambient air temp, which could be more than 90°, and be hotter if in the direct sunlight?



I agree with the above link talking about sawstop, it uses the inherent electrical charge of skin to immediately stop cutting.
If you hadn't seen, here's a video in action:
http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?desktop...LIzMa4Oo&gl=US
http://sawstop.com/

Last edited by eldowan; 04-10-2012 at 07:54 PM.
#20
Old 04-10-2012, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Trihs View Post
Perhaps an infrared sensor that shuts the machine off if anything as hot as a living body starts to enter it. That would protect children and animals as well as the user.
You'd have to have some sort of powerful braking system for the spinners, wouldn't you? Even if you shut off power as soon as a person entered the danger zone, the momentum would probably be enough to grind 'em.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonySinclair View Post
I have not lived an uneventful life, but I can't remember ever going from laughing (at the title) to deep sadness (at the content) as fast as I just did.
I'm sick, I'm morbid, etc., but it was the other way for me. The title drew me in, but the realization that this time a whole person was sucked in was... undeniably more intriguing. I was hoping the video would show the remnants of the scene, not just a talking cop. (Yeah, I'm a terrible person.)
#21
Old 04-10-2012, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by eldowan View Post
I agree with the above link talking about sawstop, it uses the inherent electrical charge of skin to immediately stop cutting.
If you hadn't seen, here's a video in action:
http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?desktop...LIzMa4Oo&gl=US
That youtube link didn't work for me, but this one did:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=q9OLIzMa4Oo
#22
Old 04-10-2012, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Der Trihs View Post
Perhaps an infrared sensor that shuts the machine off if anything as hot as a living body starts to enter it. That would protect children and animals as well as the user.
But the machinery presumably heats up as it's running, which would make this less useful.

I should bookmark this thread, so that I can show it to Mr. Neville if he asks why he can't have a wood chipper or a chainsaw, or if he complains about the cost of paying someone else to do stuff like this instead of doing it ourselves.

I bet that father wishes more than anything that he had paid a professional to do that job, no matter what they might have charged.
#23
Old 04-10-2012, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Arnold Winkelried View Post
That youtube link didn't work for me, but this one did:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=q9OLIzMa4Oo
Even better, he does it with his own finger:
https://youtube.com/watch?v=6X-tj3lk0E8
#24
Old 04-10-2012, 08:52 PM
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A professional brush chipper is a device I call "the ugly machine". The pro ones use a car-sized engine and turn a heavy flywheel which provides momentum to prevent the unit from stalling under load. They are super super loud, obnoxious, and one needs to be careful not to get snagged on material while feeding the unit. I hate using them. But they do get rid of branches in a hurry.

The unit in Fargo was not an industrial type but rather a "home owner" style chipper, one which you have to hang onto the piece of wood you're chipping, place pressure on the grinder; rather than the kind that yanks the material violently from hand.
#25
Old 04-10-2012, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Anne Neville View Post
I bet that father wishes more than anything that he had paid a professional to do that job, no matter what they might have charged.
Erm, he was the professional, working on site for someone else. Took his kids to work with him.
#26
Old 04-10-2012, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Anne Neville View Post
I bet that father wishes more than anything that he had paid a professional to do that job, no matter what they might have charged.
The father is a professional. From the article I read, he runs a landscaping/tree surgery business, and was on a job at a client's house when the accident happened. I don't know why his children were there too - school holidays, I presume.

Edit: beaten to it. Pretty grim for the client, too.

Last edited by Colophon; 04-10-2012 at 09:33 PM.
#27
Old 04-10-2012, 10:45 PM
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Check out this thing. It eats engines blocks like they're pieces of peanut brittle.
#28
Old 04-10-2012, 11:46 PM
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A little off topic, but safety is always worth mentioning.

If you use a chainsaw buy a pair of safety chaps with Kevlar. They are made by several manufacturers at various price points. There's demonstrations of them on youtube using a ham instead of a person's leg. The Kevlar threads offer a few milli-seconds of protection and then they get wrapped up in the chainsaw chain. Shutting it down almost instantly.

You still need to practice extreme caution with a chainsaw. But at least these safety chaps or aprons give you a chance to survive a quick glancing blow from the chain. I wouldn't even start my chainsaw without wearing my chaps.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=r5MtOWXrJBM

http://youtube.com/watch?v=pilcLXpdJK0

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-10-2012 at 11:49 PM.
#29
Old 04-10-2012, 11:57 PM
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Wood chippers are incredibly useful tools. They are also incredibly dangerous. My father-in-law, who spent 30 years as the guy giving the safety lectures in the shop, was wearing gloves while feeding manzanita branches into a chipper. A thorn caught the glove and he lost two fingers before he got his hand out.
#30
Old 04-11-2012, 12:02 AM
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"I never knew wood chippers were this dangerous."

Really? What part of a wood chipper DOESN'T suggest "this thing is so dangerous it will kill you for looking at it wrong?" Is it how they emit the screams of a thousand murdered souls as they grind wood into dust? The vicious spinning metal blades? The supporting role one played in Fargo?

After having seen and used a wood chipper, I'm amazed anyone might consider them even remotely safe.
#31
Old 04-11-2012, 12:11 AM
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OSHA makes sure the machinery sold and used in the US can be used safety. Assuming of course the right training is given and the operator follows all the recommend rules. I've used a lot of farm equipment growing up. Brush hogs are notorious for chewing up people that get knocked off tractors. I couldn't tell you how many acres I brush hogged as a sixteen year old. I used to contract with people and do their pastures & fields for them. You have to be careful with any dangerous machinery.

I knew wood chippers could be dangerous & lethal if you placed your hands or other body parts anywhere near the feed chute. I didn't know it could jerk a person off their feet and suck them into the machine. That kind of power is pretty frightening.

I had considered buying a wood chipper to make my own mulch. Not anymore. I'll buy my mulch at the nursery.

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-11-2012 at 12:14 AM.
#32
Old 04-11-2012, 12:16 AM
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A chipper *will* drag you in. It is designed to do that; it pulls the branch in as it chips it. If it didn't do that, you'd be forced to keep pushing it in.

This was indeed a terrible accident; no child that small should be working around a chipper, helping Daddy or not.

I didn't see it; I wasn't there. But I can tell you what the kid did. There was this branch, or twig, or something that had not fed in properly. So the kid made a long arm and pushed the thing in. And he pushed it a bit too far. And the machine grabbed him.

I don't know if anyone here has seen that show on Spike called 101 ways to die or some such. I was sitting in a bar one evening, and this show was on the TV that was on the back of the bar. Seems this fellow had this large chipper, and it jammed up a bit. So he climbed into the hopper (it was a big chipper) and was kicking and pushing the logs with his leg. Well, you know what happened. It grabbed his leg, and he went through the chipper.

Those machines are extremely dangerous. They WILL grab you and pull you in.
#33
Old 04-11-2012, 03:02 AM
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
I once saw a one armed man feeding branches into a wood chipper. It's sad, and it's cruel that I can't help but grin a little thinking about it.
That's just wrong.

Wanna come sit by me?

Last edited by Becky2844; 04-11-2012 at 03:03 AM.
#34
Old 04-11-2012, 03:44 AM
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Never mind. The world would despise me for it. Please allow this post to act as a placeholder for a truly abhorrent pun. And try not to think much less of me for thinking it than you already do.

Last edited by Rachellelogram; 04-11-2012 at 03:46 AM.
#35
Old 04-11-2012, 04:00 AM
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I see I should have invited Reply over, too.

Anybody's who's worked on/grown up on a farm knows that this kind of thing can happen if you're not super careful. What happened to that child is horrible. I agree that he may have been giving "an extra push" to be helpful. I agree that no punishment society could want to extract can ever be as bad as what the father is dealing with now.

In my school we watched films on how to drive a tractor correctly around hills etc. Even so, (mostly) men are still crushed underneath over-turned machinery.

My stepfather was cutting hay one day when I visited. My young son eventually wandered away from the kitchen table talk of women and went outside to play. I looked out every now and then to check on him.

Then I saw that he'd crossed the fence. (Between the yard and the field.) I went flying out of the house and tore thru the barb (bob) wire (having crosssed the two acre house-site in the blink of an eye) without noticing it. The family dog was loping ahead of me. I was running/stumbling thru dry growth that "poofed" as I pounded by, screaming all the way. I could see my son's bobbing head.

A strangled yelp cut thru the din and my stepfather killed the engine. Finally I caught up, behind my son. The dog's left hind leg had been sliced off. We all panted in the sudden silence and the heat.

We drove the dog up to the vet, who fixed him up. (Later he was fine, as if he hadn't lost a limb.)

It wasn't my son, that time.

Terrible, awful things can happen while we just pursue life. The survivors tell the next one, "...and be careful about..."

Last edited by Becky2844; 04-11-2012 at 04:04 AM.
#36
Old 04-11-2012, 04:39 AM
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Like others have stated wood chippers can be deadly. I used to spend many a summer working landscaping and the cheapest way to get rid of logs and branches is to chop than up into mulch. The reason why wood chippers are so dangerous is not just the fact they chop the wood (an possibly humans) into little bits, but because they drag the wood into the machine. IF you get caught, you can't escape. Some machines have a dead man lever which removes much of the danger, but makes one man operation impractical. Never use your arm inside the hopper, always uses a branch to push.
#37
Old 04-11-2012, 08:05 AM
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Damn. As a father of a six year old and a ten year old, I cannot imagine what witnessing your child die in such a way would be like. I feel terrible for having opened this thread. RIP little boy.
#38
Old 04-11-2012, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
The father is a professional. From the article I read, he runs a landscaping/tree surgery business, and was on a job at a client's house when the accident happened. I don't know why his children were there too - school holidays, I presume.

Edit: beaten to it. Pretty grim for the client, too.
I think the moral of this story is: Take Your Kids To Work Day is for office workers, not for people who work around dangerous machinery.
#39
Old 04-11-2012, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by rachelellogram View Post
Never mind. The world would despise me for it. Please allow this post to act as a placeholder for a truly abhorrent pun. And try not to think much less of me for thinking it than you already do.
Did it involve "chip off the old block" by any chance?
#40
Old 04-11-2012, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Scarlett67 View Post
Erm, he was the professional, working on site for someone else. Took his kids to work with him.
All the more reason he should have known better. A professional especially should realize the dangers of a wood chipper and practice appropriate safety measures. I don't want to pile on to a guy who's suffered a horrible loss, but Christ, this just never should have happened.
#41
Old 04-11-2012, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
All the more reason he should have known better. A professional especially should realize the dangers of a wood chipper and practice appropriate safety measures. I don't want to pile on to a guy who's suffered a horrible loss, but Christ, this just never should have happened.
I mean, seriously. The kid would almost certainly have been better off at home alone.

I got a bad feeling about it when we were getting estimates from a pest control company, and one of them brought their kid along. It seemed Just Not Right, somehow. And that was only to look around our yard and give us an estimate, no dangerous machinery or chemicals involved.

I'd really worry about how much attention these people were paying to safety on the job if a tree surgeon or pest control person brought their kid to work when they knew there would be dangerous machinery or chemicals involved in the work. If they're cavalier enough about safety to let their 6-year-old hang around a wood chipper, do they care if a giant branch falls on my house? Are they taking precautions so that the people and animals in my household will not get hurt by what they are doing? If they bring a 6-year-old along on what they should damn well know is a dangerous job, I'd question their judgment in other aspects of the job, too.
#42
Old 04-11-2012, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eldowan View Post
I agree with the above link talking about sawstop, it uses the inherent electrical charge of skin to immediately stop cutting.
If you hadn't seen, here's a video in action:
http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?desktop...LIzMa4Oo&gl=US
http://sawstop.com/
My impression is that the 'electrical charge' detected is really the skin's better conduction of electricity (due to moisture content). Skin carries an electrical charge way better than dry wood, so it works well for a table saw. Wood chippers, though, are working outside on freshly cut wood and possibly in wet conditions, so the same approach would have way too many false positives to be feasible. It's a good idea, but not going to work in this situation.

I like the idea of a panic button, though I wonder how one could be located where someone getting dragged in could reach it, but it wouldn't get hit by stray branches. Maybe something inside the chute, but with a cover on all sides but the one facing the grinder? A dead man switch isn't terribly practical, since you need both hands to load branches.
#43
Old 04-11-2012, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by drewtwo99 View Post
I can't help but feel like he should be prosecuted for being so careless.
Oh yes, by all means lock him up! We dont need a crazed mad man running around throwing children into chippers... society would feel be so much safer with this childless grieving father behind bars!
#44
Old 04-11-2012, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Whammo72 View Post
Oh yes, by all means lock him up! We dont need a crazed mad man running around throwing children into chippers... society would feel be so much safer with this childless grieving father behind bars!
Fans of The Wire might recall an analogous scene, when that jerky, lazy chubby detective (not a main character) redeemed himself in a display of humanity, by letting Bubbles go free after Bubbles turned himself in after accidentally contributing to his best friend's death by OD poisoning.
#45
Old 04-11-2012, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Anne Neville View Post
...
I bet that father wishes more than anything that he had paid a professional to do that job, no matter what they might have charged.
Apparently the father was the professional, hired as a contractor to work at the site. And he inexplicably brought his kid to the job with him.

Yes, IMO he deserves to be prosecuted on some kind of negligent homicide charge.
#46
Old 04-11-2012, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Anne Neville View Post
I mean, seriously. The kid would almost certainly have been better off at home alone. ....
... with a pack of matches and a can of lighter fluid.
#47
Old 04-11-2012, 02:13 PM
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According to Wikipedia,

Quote:
Thirty-three people were killed in wood-chipper accidents between 1992 and 2002 in the US, according to a 2005 report by the Journal of the American Medical Association.
A few years back, a teenager working for a landscaping company in Virginia was sucked into one of these things. And I vaguely recall an incident in Northern Virginia in which an immigrant teenager fell into the hopper of some kind of tree-grinding machine, but cannot find the details online at the moment.
#48
Old 04-11-2012, 03:54 PM
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I would be very curious about how many of the accidents with this kind of machinery happened to people who owned the machine or used it professionally, versus people who rented one for the weekend. And how many happened to the machine operator as opposed to bystanders.

There are a million ways to screw up and hurt yourself (or someone else) using farm equipment, heavy machinery, saws, chippers, and so forth. It takes more than just a few minutes of training before you turn someone loose with this kind of gear.

On the other hand, it's VERY easy to get complacent, and that's a recipe for disaster, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Becky2844 View Post
I went flying out of the house and tore thru the barb (bob) wire...
"Barbed wire"
#49
Old 04-11-2012, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
I would be very curious about how many of the accidents with this kind of machinery happened to people who owned the machine or used it professionally, versus people who rented one for the weekend. And how many happened to the machine operator as opposed to bystanders.
Just guessing, but I'd think the pros are more likely to get injured just because of the amount of time spent using the equipment. The rate of injury per hour of usage is probably higher for the amateur though.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Just guessing, but I'd think the pros are more likely to get injured just because of the amount of time spent using the equipment. The rate of injury per hour of usage is probably higher for the amateur though.
Excellent point. I was thinking about injuries per hour of usage, but you're quite right.
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