Safety & HCM Post

Road Worker Killed When Tree Shifts

It’s hazardous to be around trees in storms, but an unusual incident in Mississippi illustrates how it can also be dangerous to be working with trees in the aftermath of a storm.

Charles Harold Coker, 48, of Yazoo City, MS, was clearing storm debris from a highway when a tree he was cutting suddenly shifted and one of its limbs fatally struck him on his head.

Bongarde Editorial

Bongarde Editorial


  1. Kirtland Stout

    Kirtland Stout, August 30, 2017


    To be meaningful to safety and risk professionals, this article needs more information. Post-storm cleanup isn’t a regular occurrence for most maintenance workers, so sometimes different methods and protocols are called for. Questions: What was the victim attempting to do to the tree? Was the victim cutting it down or just trimming broken limbs? And why was that work being done? In what way did the tree shift? I see that the tree took down a wire of some kind; what kind of wire was it? And if a wire was within the trajectory of the tree fall, it appears the victim wasn’t cutting it down, or was attempting to fell it in another direction. Why was the tree being worked on with a vehicle (now damaged) parked nearby? Was the worker working alone? If so, why?

Leave Comment

Sign up to our FREE Safety & HCM newsletter