Deaf man killed after walking in the path of a falling tree

Salem, MO – 54 year old Randy Pyeatt was killed after he was struck by a falling tree. Pyeatt, who is a deaf man, walked into the path of a falling tree. He could not hear the warnings and was not seen from the stand point of where the tree was cut.

OSHA Report: At 9:30 a.m. on April 5, 2016, Employee #1 (Randy Pyeatt) was working for a logging company. He was carrying an empty 18.9-liter (5-gallon) bucket that had held hydraulic fluid away from a tree felling area. He wanted to prevent the bucket from rolling down the sloping terrain and falling into a nearby creek. He traveled down the sloping terrain and through the creek, tossing the bucket to the opposite bank of the felling area. Employee #1 was traveling back to the tree felling area after tossing the empty bucket to the opposite creek bank. As Employee #1 was crossing back through the creek to return to the felling area, a coworker was manually felling a live white oak tree higher up on the sloping terrain. The white oak tree measured approximately 432 millimeters by 330 millimeters (17 by 13 inches) in diameter at the base and 15.2 to 21.3 meters (50 to 70 feet) in height. It was notched to fall down the hill, toward the creek. As Employee #1 made his way back toward the felling area, the coworker manually felling the white oak tree had cut through the back of the tree. It was beginning to fall. The employer was nearby and saw Employee #1 walking directly under the falling tree. He began to yell for Employee #1 to watch out. It was explained later, though, that Employee #1 was looking down at the ground as he walked back towards the felling area. Employee #1 was deaf, and he could only read lips and observe hand signals. He took no evasive action. The top portion of the falling tree, approximately 127 millimeters (5 inches) in diameter, struck and killed Employee #1. Employee #1 was wearing no personal protective equipment. Investigators were waiting for a coroner’s report.

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