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Man dies after tree he's cutting down falls the wrong way

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A Minnesota man died after a tree he was cutting down fell on him.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner says Randal Mitchell, a 39-year-old Northfield man, suffered "multiple blunt force injuries" after a a tree fell on him around 2:45 p.m. Saturday.

The Dakota County Sheriff's Office says he was cutting down a tree and, despite attaching a safety, the tree fell the wrong way and pinned Mitchell underneath, KAAL reports.

Mitchell, according to Northfield News, was a well-known wood carver. In 2012, the city's Allina Medical Clinic put some of his works on display, a first for the burgeoning artist who held a day job in construction management.

Dangers of cutting trees

Statistics for citizens cutting down trees (referred to as felling) ... for personal reasons aren't widely available. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration keeps a tally of workplace deaths related to felling trees.

In the past 20 years, a total of 23 people died while on the job attempting to fell a tree, OSHA statistics say.

Some of those involved a tree or branch falling on a worker; others involved someone falling from a tree.

In 2013, the Toronto Star did a story on the dangers of tree-cutting professions, and listed some of the risks:

  • Falling
  • Electrocution by power lines
  • Falling limbs and branches
  • Cutting themselves with tools, such as a chainsaw

OSHA also has a list of hazards, along with ways to prevent the accidents from happening.

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