Close calls involving blasting: Improved communications needed in the woods

Safety Alert Type: 
Road Building/Deactivation
Vancouver Island
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Three close calls involving blasting have occurred in forestry operations on Vancouver Island.

In the most recent, a crew had just completed walking a creek and were on the mainline road. A blast was heard very close by and the crewmembers were exposed to fly-rock falling around them and the surrounding forest canopy. This incident was reported to WorkSafeBC by the blasting contractor. The contractor also identified the deficiency to properly clear the blast zone.

In the two other incidents:

• A baseball-sized rock flew through the air and into the box of a dump truck parked in the safety zone

• A field crew heard a blast in their area despite no warning whistles or radio calls

Learnings and Suggestions: 


• The crew was unaware of blasting activities in their work area

• The blasting crew was not aware of other crews in the area

• The blasting crew failed to properly clear the safe zone (which would have identified a company pickup truck within the safe zone radius)

• Confusion about the blast signals being employed

• Appropriate signage was not in place


• Check with the Prime Contractor or companies that may be working in the area about their current activities or plans for future activities

• If another company or crew is identified as being in the area, ensure contact is made with them – face to face preferably.

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