Plow truck encounters problems on snowy gravel road

Location: 
45 KM, Mabel Lake Forest Service Road (north of Lumby, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2011-11-22
Company Name: 
Tolko Industries Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A plow truck completing operations on a forestry road rolled down a steep bank after the rear passenger-side tires slipped off the road’s edge. The weight of the sand pulled the back end of the truck over the bank and it rolled over 2 or 3 times before coming to rest against trees in the creek gully (approximately 90 feet from the edge of the road).

No injuries were sustained by the driver as he was wearing his seatbelt.

Root Causes:

• Overloaded truck for conditions of road. Operator had limited experience with plowing in the particular conditions and with the amount of weight.

• Not aware of the surroundings (slope of road and the tracking of rear wheels to edge of road).

• Road conditions were icy (compact wet snow), road surface at location was side-sloped and narrow.

• Operator inexperience. To plow road edge on a sharp corner, operator should have used bottom plow rather than front plow to limit the ‘dog leg’ of the rear end. By using bottom plow, the same amount of snow could be plowed without having to drive as close to the road’s edge.

• Training. Although the operator was trained with an experienced operator, the training did not include varied conditions and the operating of equipment in the conditions experienced on-site and with that amount of load on the truck.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Ensure effective working alone procedures exist and alternate means of communications are in place. SPOT system will now be implemented as an additional precaution.

• Sharing of industry events critical to effective communication, as there was a similar incident with a highways road crew in the Kootenays in November that resulted in a fatality.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information, contact: Jason McLeod, Tolko Industries Ltd. 250-547-1241

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