Grader left suspended as barge slips from position

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
40 mile barge ramp, Lake Revelstoke
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Downie Timber Ltd. Woodlands Division
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

After another night of heavy snowfall the Downie maintenance crew was moving the road grader across the lake to clear roads for logging crews and trucks.

The grader was loaded on the east side of the lake with no issues. The barge landed successfully on the west side ramp and the tug operator indicated to the grader operator to disembark. The grader operator started to drive the grader off the barge; simultaneously the tug operator left the boat (with the engine engaged with partial throttle).

As the grader front tires disembarked to land, the forward thrust of the grader pushed the barge back out into the lake, the grader operator shouted over the radio to the tug operator “full throttle on forward!” The tug operator was out of the barge on the deck and did not hear the grader operator. The tug operator realized what was happening and ran back to the tug, by that time the rear mounts for the grader wings were hung up on the ferry ramp with the rear wheels of the grader suspended.

The grader operator had to jump to the shore on the west side and hike up the road, drive a D-7 down to the ferry and pull the grader off the barge.

Fortunately, there was no injury to the workers involved and no damage to any equipment or company property.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Learnings / Recommendations:

• Barge operators must remain in full control of the vessel, with radio contact at all times during loading and unloading of trucks, equipment and cargo. Barge operators must have tug power engaged and throttle sufficient to maintain ferry and ramps securely on the shore for loading and unloading.

• Conduct annual retraining with ferry operators or after lengthy breaks from operating the barges.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information: Downie Timber Ltd. Woodlands Division (250) 837-2222

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