UPDATE 5/18/2016: An Occupational Safety and Health Inspection investigation found five serious violations against Crawford Tree Service and Stump Grinding Co. The OSHA report found one alleged willful serious violation and four alleged serious violations with a total penalty of $39,200.
19 year old Mason Scott Cox was killed when he was partially pulled through a wood chipper. It was Mason’s first day working for Crawford Tree Service out of Belmont, NC. He was operating a Vermeer BC 1500 chipper and attempted to kick a piece into the chipper. Somehow his leg was caught by the feed wheels and Cox was pulled into the chipper up to his rib cage. Police found him in chipper and he was pronounced dead at the scene. His mother, Debra Sisk, said the teen had very limited experience in the tree removal industry, but had worked on cell towers before. She questions whether he was being supervised when the accident happened.
Jon Crawford, owner of Crawford Tree Service, spoke to WBTV about the incident in an interview over the phone. He said Cox was working for him as a subcontractor Saturday, He said he still isn’t sure how the accident happened.
“The limb must have grabbed a piece of his clothing and took him into the chipper,” said Crawford.
The business owner said that the work site was safe and Cox wasn’t performing any tasks too difficult for a beginner.
“I’ve been in the business for 26 years. I’ve had one other accident where a person was injured. Mason Cox was working side by side with two experienced employees,” Crawford said.
He said the incident has left him filled with grief.
“I have not slept. I am sick from it,” Crawford said. “I would trade places with that child right now.”
He said his business is going to temporarily close because of the incident.
Coworkers who saw Cox’s body became emotional and started running around, ripping off their gloves and hats. Neighbors, who did not know what had happened, thought the crew was being attacked by bees. Jon Crawford, suffered a heart attack after seeing what had happened.
For more information; http://wncn.com/2015/12/07/nc-19-year-old-pulled-into-wood-chipper-killed/