Hidden ice on snowy resource road leaves crew & truck stranded as windstorm topples trees

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Location: 
Witches Brook Rd. (near Logan Lake, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2015-03-02
Company Name: 
Skeetchestn Natural Resources Corporation
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Two workers in a pick-up truck were climbing a windy road along a power line to do site inspection and road recon for a slash pile burning project. The road was steep and a light layer of snow covered it, making a layer of ice underneath invisible.

As the truck lost power attempting to climb, it stopped for a brief moment then started to slide backwards down the road for approximately 25 metres before spinning 180 degrees. The vehicle stopped at this point and was positioned entirely across the road. A small berm at that location is what brought the truck to a complete stop and prevented it from going over the embankment. Although the embankment was not a long distance, damage to the vehicle would have almost certainly occurred.

The driver applied the parking brake, slowly removed their foot from the main brake pedal and then turned off the engine. The crew looked in the truck and realized there were no tools or chains available. They radioed the Natural Resources office in the area and asked for help. Assistance was dispatched with a set of chains for the stranded pick-up truck.

At this point, the workers determined it was unsafe to remain in the vehicle as nearby trees started to crack due to high gusts of wind on site. So they waited further down the road until help arrived. While waiting, a tree did fall in close proximity to the workers and their truck. The crew was able to install chains on the truck and slowly bring the vehicle down to flat area.


Immediate and root cause(s):

  • Inadequate awareness of surroundings
  • Worksite conditions (extreme weather)
  • Inadequate communications between the two crew members
  • Inadequate maintenance / inspections of the vehicle

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Always check vehicles for tools and chains (when winter conditions apply)
  • Ensure that crew members communicate about the check to confirm it was done
  • Exit the vehicle before and have a good look at the road conditions. (In this incident, snow cover had rendered the ice virtually invisible)

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Wynona Britton, Skeetchestn Natural Resources Corporation Wynona@skeetchestn.ca

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_SkeetchestnNRC_2015-3-2.pdf
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