2009-09-05 Workers slip off log results in broken leg.pdf

Safety Alert Type: 
Tom Bay, 30 km North of Bella Bella
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Mecredy Cruising and Forest Consulting Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The injured worker walked down beside a 10-15" dia. cedar log which was suspended above the ground approx. 3 feet and sloping about 30-40% He stepped with his (R) foot onto the Cw log near a 10-15’ Hw log that was supported by the cedar log and another log . His intention was to turn (L) and step up onto the hemlock and walk down that log towards the top of the Hemlock log. His (R) foot slipped off the cedar log as he put his weight on it and his (R) leg and foot twisted and were pinned in the crotch between the hemlock and cedar while his upper body fell forward towards the left. With his foot pinned between the cedar and hemlock his lower leg twisted breaking the leg near the ankle joint. The worked then fell onto the Hw log and then onto the ground brushing his assistant as he fell.

As the worker began to get up, he noticed extreme pain in his (R) ankle area. His co-worker was near him and assessed the injured worker (both workers have Level 1 first aid tickets). Initially they believed the injured worker had a bad sprain to his ankle.

With assistance from his co-worker and using several sticks, the injured worker managed to walk/crawl approx. 70m along a hoe trail to the road. They waited a short time until the helicopter was within radio contact and reported the injury. The injured worker was flown to Bella Bella hospital for treatment and then flown by charter aircraft to Port Hardy. He was driven to the Campbell River Hospital and then driven to St. Joseph’s hospital in Comox where he underwent surgery for a broken (R) fibula and torn cartilage and tendons. The break was very close to his ankle.

The injured worker had new caulk boots with good condition caulks

Contributing factors:

1. Injured worker did not anticipate his (R) foot slipping off the Cedar log when he committed to the step and put his full body weight towards the right leg.
2. The logs in the block had been cut down about 4 years prior and they become dry and brittle over time. It had rained about 1 hour prior to the incident and the ground conditions were slippery.
3. The ground conditions were "greasy" due to new greenery/moss over top of dry/brittle logs and rocks and recent rain.


Learnings and Suggestions: 


1. Avoid stepping on logs on a slope. Always step on horizontal logs that are clearly well supported
2. Need to assess risks and hazards continually throughout the workday. Anticipate what may go wrong and how they can prevent or avoid incidents. Be extra careful in older slash - pay attention to where you are stepping and the potential consequences.
3. Incorporate documented risk assessments by crews working in high risk areas (isolated and difficult terrain) prior to commencing work each day.
4. If heli company has SAT phones available, arrange to have them on site in remote work areas.
5. When working in isolated areas the Emergency Evacuation plan must be tested to ensure their effectiveness.


For more information on this submitted alert: 


Mecredy Cruising and Forest Consulting Ltd.
Ron Mecredy RFT


File attachments
2009-09-05 Workers slip off log results in broken leg.pdf
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