Hand faller struck by oversized fir tree

Horsefly, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Progressive Harvesting (2000) Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The Worker, a Sub-Contracted Hand Faller, was struck mid-back by tree while engaged in hand falling operations of an oversized fir tree. The worker was not pinned by the tree and was able to free himself and walk out to his vehicle, located on a spur road approximately 100 yards downhill from where he was falling. The worker was met on the road by the worksite foreman and advised him of the incident.
A review of the scene location and subsequent investigation performed by the company has lead to the conclusion that the worker was stuck by a tree other than the one that he had intended to fall. It appeared that the hand faller had followed proper safety practices with respects to making proper cuts on the tree that he had intended to fall, choosing the correct direction in which to fall the tree and in identifying an appropriate escape route.
It is unclear if the tree that struck the worker was free standing or if it had been “hung up” in the standing trees prior to the oversized fir tree being fell. It was noted that the popular tree, which struck the worker did have a green top, however it appeared that the roots were rotten. Further to this the butt of the tree appeared to have sustained machine damage, possible due to mechanical harvesting operations that had been undertaken in that area a few weeks earlier.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

1. Review overhead hazard assessments with all mechanical and manual fallers operating on a worksite where the company has been designated with Prime Contractor status. If a hand faller believes that there is potential for injury as a result of overhead hazard(s) the hand faller will cease falling operations in that area of the worksite.

2. Potential overhead hazards are to be flagged by the hand faller and the worksite supervisor is to be notified. The worksite supervisor and the hand faller will then reassess the potential hazard(s) together and determine and appropriate course of action for eliminating the hazard(s) so that hand falling activities can be resumed.

3. Review of Standard Operating Procedures and Safe Work Procedures as they relate to both mechanical and manual hand falling in and effort to identify and rectify potential weaknesses so as to prevent further occurrences similar to this one.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Progressive Harvesting (2000) Ltd.
PO Box 4357
Williams Lake, BC
V2G 2V4
(250) 392-4410 – phone
(250) 392-4405 – fax

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