Hazard Alert: Worker caught, seriously injured in unguarded auger

Safety Alert Type: 
Booming and Towing
Coastal British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Issued by WorkSafeBC
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A worker was operating an unguarded, gas-powered auger mounted to a floating deck tied to a barge. The auger was being used to drill holes in boomsticks.

While positioning a boomstick under the auger — which was still running — the worker was exposed to the rotating auger shaft. The worker’s clothing got caught in the counterbore portion of the auger drill bit, and he became entangled in the bit. The worker sustained serious injuries.

Several factors played a role in this incident:

  • Failure to inspect or safely maintain equipment — Purchased secondhand, the auger was made operational using unmatched engine parts. As a result, the unguarded auger and transmission parts were always moving or turning while the engine was running.
  • Lack of safeguarding — Workers had direct access to the rotating drill bit because no guards or barriers prevented auger contact.
  • Lack of safe work procedures — Safe work procedures were not on site and did not address lockout.
  • Lack of supervision and training — The worker received a site orientation but no formal training or written instructions for auger use or lockout.


Learnings and Suggestions: 


Safe work practices:

  • Conduct risk assessments of boom augers and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on using augers safely.
  • Conduct inspections of equipment before use.
  • Ensure augers are guarded — and belts safeguarded — as required.
  • Train supervisors on auger guarding requirements.
  • Review safe work procedures with supervisors and workers before using equipment.
  • Ensure workers are fully trained before operating any equipment, even seemingly straightforward equipment.


For more information on this submitted alert: 

For assistance and information on workplace health and safety, call toll-free within B.C. 1.888.621.SAFE (7233) or visit their website at worksafebc.com.

To request a copy of the complete investigation report, contact the WorkSafeBC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy office toll-free at 1.866.266.9405.

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