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Tree trimmer killed by flying debris in freak accident in Richfield

It happened just before 3 p.m. in the south metro suburb.

A 51-year-old man died Wednesday when a metal piece from a wood chipper broke off and hit him, according to multiple reports. 

Family members confirmed to reporters on the scene at James Avenue South and West 70th Street, in Richfield, that the man who died is father-of-six Bill Pipes. 

KSTP reports that something got struck in the wood chipper and while Pipes was attempting to dislodge it, a metal piece flew off and hit him.

A co-worker than tried to provide medical assistance while neighbors called 911. 

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The metal piece is believed to have hit Pipes in the back of the head, according to FOX 9.

A woman identifying herself as Pipes' sister on Facebook said she is heartbroken and that her brother "didn't deserve to leave his children and grandchildren this way."

As the incident is classed as a workplace death, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.

This story will be updated as more details become available.

Wood chipper dangers

OSHA has previously identified wood chippers as one of the most dangerous machines used in the tree service injuries.

Since 2011, there has been a six-fold increase in the number of amputations related to their use.

From 1996 through 2005, 39 workers died in wood chipper accidents, of which 78 percent saw workers caught in the chipper, and most of the rest happened because of "struck-by" accidents.

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