Broken tie-rod end causes pickup truck to enter ditch

Location: 
Holberg Forest Operation (northern Vancouver Island)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2011-07-04
Company Name: 
Western Forest Products Inc.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A worker was driving to his job when the driver's side tie-rod end pulled apart due to wear, causing the driver to lose steering control as he approached a logging road bridge. The brow log on the right side of the bridge kept the vehicle on the road as it skidded along it but when it came to the end of the brow log (end of the bridge), the vehicle was forced into the ditch as the steering was turned hard over to the right.

The truck came to rest when it hit the bottom of the ditch. The driver was operating at a safe speed which allowed the vehicle to leave the road surface and enter the ditch at a slow speed where it came to a stop. There were no injuries and only minor damage to the pickup truck.

Vehicle service records show minimal mileage on this particular tie-rod end. Horizontal play in the tie-rod end was not detected during the service inspection, which was conducted two months prior to the incident. Immediately after the incident, all pickup trucks were inspected, revealing a similar issue with one other vehicle. The company has decided to increase the frequency of steering component inspections by training pickup truck drivers to conduct them bi-weekly.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Remind all employees that although rare, immediate steering, suspension and tire failures occur. It is critical that the driver is operating at a safe speed to be able to react to the situation and avoid serious injury.
  • Steering 'input' while a vehicle is completely stopped increases wear on critical steering components. Minimize this practice wherever conditions allow.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Clint Cadwallader 250-288-3362 extension 301 or Mark Haupt 250-203-7184

(See attached pdf for images of tie-rod end damage)

File attachments
Broken tie-rod end causes pickup truck to enter ditch.pdf
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