Close Call: Confirm eye contact with equipment operator

Sonora Island, Coast Forest Region
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Strategic Forest Management Inc.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The engineering crew was driving out of the woods in two pickup trucks en route to camp after it had snowed all day and came up behind a Cat that was plowing the road for the logging contractor. The lead pickup driver was following a safe distance behind the Cat and the crew tried twice to contact the Cat operator on the radio, with no response. When the Cat pulled into a pull-out, the pickup driver slowly moved closer, looking to possibly pass the Cat but still not knowing if the Cat operator knew the pickups were behind him.

As the pickup slowly advanced, the Cat operator reversed into the road towards the pickup. The pickup driver honked but the Cat operator continued to reverse. The lead pickup continued backing up until directly in front of the second pickup and could no longer reverse. The Cat operator reversed until approximately 5 metres in front of the lead pickup and then continued to plow the road ahead.

After another five minutes, the Cat operator stopped his machine and got out to change the blade angle. A member of the crew from the lead pickup got out of the truck and threw a snowball over the head of the Cat operator to try and get his attention. The Cat operator was unaware of the engineering crews' presence until he was tapped on the shoulder. It was noted at the time that the Cat operator was wearing ear plugs.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Never attempt to pass mobile equipment unless you make eye contact and receive a signal to pass from the operator of the equipment.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Tom Porsborg, RPF

Safety Coordinator

Strategic Forest Management Inc.

250-287-2246, extension 233

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