Broken coupling leaves skidder without hydraulics, brakes

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
Hyas Lake (near Kamloops, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A skidder (630 Tigercat model) was backing up a hill in reverse to grab a turn of logs. The hill had a gentle slope of approximately 20 per cent.

The skidder made a sudden noise, stopped; lights and buzzers came on and the machine took off forward (as if in neutral), down the hill. The operator attempted to apply the brakes and lower the blade to the ground in order to stop the machine from moving. The hydraulic functions did not work.

The operator then tried steering the skidder onto a flat piece of ground where the machine finally came to a stop, approximately 20 metres from where it started to roll away.

Upon investigation, it was discovered that the coupler between the engine and the hydraulic pump had broken. The 630 Tigercat skidder is hydrostatic drive and when the coupler broke, the machine lost all hydraulic functions (brakes, blade, steering).

The operator was startled by the incident but did not sustain any injuries.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Refer to the operator’s manual for the use of and testing of the emergency braking system. It is recommended that this be done prior to the start of each shift.

• Contact a Tigercat sales representative/service advisor with regards to the availability of an updated coupler for this model of skidder.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information: Ed Coombes, Interfor (250) 679-6863

File attachments
Broken coupling leaves skidder without hydraulics, brakes.pdf
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