Inspect heli-pads regularly and thoroughly to ensure their strength

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
near Powell River, BC (Third Lake Main, heli-block ST-223A)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Adept Vegetation Management Inc.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A manual brushing crew was completing a one day treatment with helicopter access and over the course of the day, the company had a total of three trips into the block. While the second crew was unloading their gear from the helicopter, the heli-pad's right rear stringer broke.

The helicopter was under full power and so was able to readjust its position. Two of the workers were clear of the pad and the third worker was standing on the stringer when it broke, forcing him to jump clear of the heli-pad.

This particular heli-pad was built in 2002. Seven years later, in 2009, the pad was inspected and declared suitable only for toe-ins, as the stringers were getting weak. No injuries or damage was reported.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Inspections and/or maintenance of heli-pads to be conducted on an annual basis
  • A more thorough inspection process to check the extent of wood rot in the stringers
  • There should have been a full inspection of the heli-pad done by the first group on-site, with the information relayed to the pilot and other crews flying into the block
  • Inspect the heli-pad after each use to ensure no changes have occurred to the structure prior to flying in the next crew
  • Have good communications between the helicopter pilot and crew after each flight
  • After the stringer broke, the pilot should've shut down at the staging area and review the upset condition with the crew. After the inspection of the pad by the crew, the conditions and worksite plans would be reviewed and documented to ensure all crew members are fully aware of the situation


For more information on this submitted alert: 

Randy Moore, Adept Vegetation Management Inc. 250-722-2849

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