Snowshoes are an essential tool when working in snowpack

Safety Alert Type: 
Workers
Location: 
Stave River (upper Fraser Valley)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2011-03-23
Company Name: 
Hedberg & Associates Consulting Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Co-worker #1 was walking on approximately 3 metres of snowpack without snowshoes while flagging boundary. Co-worker #2 walked ahead to collect some stream info and waited for partner to catch up (approximately 50 metres away). As co-worker #1 approached, he fell through the snow into a cavity around a buried sampling. He was stuck up to his armpits and could not get out on his own.

Co-worker #2 was wearing snowshoes and had just walked on the same route five minutes prior. Co-worker #2 tried to pull co-worker #1 out by his arms but he was quite stuck. Co-worker #2 then dug out the snow around his chest and pulled him out onto his belly.

The employees were able to finish their work in the next 30 minutes, being careful with route finding and staying close together in case it happened again.

The snowpack started out solid in the morning but was warm in the afternoon, making walking without snowshoes much more difficult, sinking up to the knee with every step.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Be aware of changing snow conditions as the temperature changes through the day

• Carefully choose your walking route to avoid hazards such as trees, wells, creeks, etc

• Always wear snowshoes

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Mike Hedberg, c/o Hedberg & Associates Consulting Ltd. 604-815-4555 ext. 222

File attachments
Snowshoes are an essential tool when working in snowpack.pdf
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