Log truck chain-up stop nearly ends in tragedy

Safety Alert Type: 
Log Hauling
Location: 
Farwell Canyon (west of Williams Lake, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2013-12-11
Company Name: 
Westline Harvesting Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A worker was driving an empty super-b-train through Farwell Canyon (west of Williams Lake) to get a load of logs when his truck & trailer spun out. The driver set the maxi-brake on the truck but did not set the maxi-brake on the trailer before exiting the truck to chain up.

As the driver stepped on the ground, the truck slid backwards slightly and stopped. The driver then attempted to take the tire chains off the chain hanger when the truck started sliding down the hill. The driver lost his balance with the tire chains still on the chain hanger. The driver was dragged down the hill for a distance before making the decision to release his grip on the chains and roll out of the way of the driver’s side steering tire.

Unfortunately the driver did not completely clear the driver’s side steering tire. The tire contacted his lower back, and virtually squirted him out from under it. This could have been a fatality had the tire run completely over the driver.

Root Causes:

• The driver was in a hurry to get the roadway cleared, and was trying to save time by not applying the trailer maxi-brake (dumping all the air out of the system).

• The driver failed to recognize the hazard that the hot drive axle tires posed on sloped icy road grade.

• The driver failed to recognize the limited holding power that the 8 hot tires on the two drive axles provided.

• The driver failed to ensure that the transmission was properly in gear.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Workers are reminded that in an upset condition to take their time, thoroughly assess the hazard/risk of a situation and take appropriate corrective action(s).

• Apply the maxi-brakes on both the truck and trailer when stopped on an incline. In this incident, the braking/holding power would have been increased by 250% had the trailer brakes been applied.

• If traction is at all in question, stop and put on tire chains prior to losing traction.

• Ensure that your transmission is properly in gear.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information: Wayne Erlandson at (250) 392-2001

File attachments
Log truck chain-up stop nearly ends in tragedy.pdf
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