Wood chippers are powerful machines used to reduce tree trunks and branches into small wood chips through the action of a cutting disc.

Hazards

Operating wood chippers can be dangerous for operators and others in the vicinity of the machine.

Workers feeding tree limbs and branches into chippers are at risk of getting caught in the material and being pulled into the cutting area.

Materials ejected from chippers, such as wood, metal fragments and stones, could cause serious injuries and even death.

Damaged metal guard on a wood chipper
Damaged metal guard after the cutting blade shattered. Large fragments ejected through the solid metal guard.

Incidents may also occur if blades are:

  • loose or incorrectly fitted or adjusted
  • blunt
  • fatigued or damaged
  • over-torqued
  • not sharpened correctly.

Safety solutions

To reduce the risks of incidents and injuries occurring:

  • use wood chippers in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions
  • ensure wood chippers have the appropriate safety devices installed, such as a feed control bar, and that they are regularly tested
  • check the condition of blades prior to startup, including the securing bolts
  • ensure workers wear the appropriate personal protective equipment
  • ensure all repairs/servicing is completed by a competent person
  • establish a regular servicing, maintenance and inspection program, and repair or replace faulty parts identified from inspections
  • identify and implement a hazardous work zone to exclude members of the public and non-essential workers.
Page last updated: 27 February 2020