Embedded boulder tips excavator on steep slope

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
North Thompson region (north of Kamloops, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Interfor – Adams Lake Division
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

An excavator was hoe chucking bundles out of a draw with a 15 – 20% slope. Once complete the excavator proceeded to exit the draw going straight up the slope using the head to assist by pulling the machine. One of the excavator tracks moved onto what appeared to be a small, moss covered rock. The operator expected the rock to push into the ground. When the rock didn’t sink, the weight of the machine shifted to one side and one of the tracks was unable to move.

The operator decided to move the head and uses it to lift the machine and free up the track. As the head was lifted, the machine became unstable on the rock, which turned out to be 4 – 5 feet in diameter. At this point, the machine began to swing to one side. Despite the operator’s attempts to use the boom to stabilize the machine, it slid off the rock and tipped forward, eventually coming to rest on the left side entry door.

The operator was wearing the seatbelt and did not sustain any injuries. He was able to exit the machine through the escape hatch. The damage to the machine was limited to one broken cab bolt, one loose cab bolt, and a small window behind the door broke.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Exercise increased diligence when operating in tight slope conditions where rocks, stumps or debris are present
  • Test uncertain or unknown conditions with the excavator head
  • Regularly inspect the escape hatch to ensure it is functioning properly


For more information on this submitted alert: 

Ed Coombes, Interfor – Adams Lake Division 250-679-6863

File attachments
Embedded boulder tips excavator on steep slope.pdf
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