Wood Chipper Failure to Warn Evaluation
May 19, 2022
A man who purchased and used a wood chipper alleged that the chipper kept getting clogged, causing him to bend down and pull debris from the guard to clear the clog. Reportedly, during an instance while the man was reaching down to clear debris from the clogged wood chipper, his glove got caught in the rotating blade and pulled his finger into the guard. The man stated that he would not have put his finger near the guard if there had been a warning on the guard to alert him of the potential hazard related to accessing the area behind the guard while the blades were operating. Warnings and safety information regarding the subject hazard were provided elsewhere on the product and in the product manual, materials admitted to have been read by the man.
Rimkus was retained to determine whether additional or alternate warnings were necessary and whether they would have changed the user’s behavior and prevented the incident. Specifically, the Rimkus evaluation consisted of determining whether the information regarding the subject hazard was already known to the user and whether this information affected his behavior prior to the incident.
Rimkus conducted a Human Factors’ evaluation of the case facts to assess the adequacy of the existing warnings and instructions to determine if they would have sufficiently informed the user of the potential hazard. Rimkus reviewed whether an additional or alternate warning label on the guard would have added to the awareness of the user, whether such warning would have been noticeable in the course of work, and whether it would have prevented the incident.