Heavy Rainfall Increases Washout and Landslide Risk

Safety Alert Type: 
Weather
Location: 
South Coast Region (Vancouver Island, northern Fraser Valley)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-11-15
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Recent heavy rainfalls have significantly increased the risk of road washouts and landslides.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Brief your crew on the risks of flooding and landslides, including the following:

  • Road washouts can occur quickly and may surprise drivers. Consider that roads may wash out behind crews, leaving them stranded.
  • Field crews often cross and work adjacent to streams and rivers. Postpone work next to water until conditions improve.
  • The soil next to bridges and culverts may be eroded by heavy rains and high stream flows. Sometimes this erosion cannot be easily seen. Be cautious and assess crossings from a safe distance before driving over them.
  • Travelling at night during flood conditions is not recommended. The limited visibility can result in not being able to spot washouts in time to stop.
  • The heavy rains can cause water saturated soils which are prone to landslides. Fast flowing streams and rivers can also erode the base of slopes causing them to slide. Avoid work in steep areas with weak soils until conditions improve.
  • Crews responsible for inspecting and repairing roads and water crossings need to be extremely careful. Don’t risk getting too close and being caught up in fast rising or fast flowing water.
  • Make sure your emergency response plans include procedures on how to respond to severe weather incidents.

The points above were taken from a Monthly Safety Alert from earlier in the year. Use this link to view the entire alert: http://www.bcforestsafe.org/node/2964

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Gerard Messier, BCFSC

messier@bcforestsafe.org

 

File attachments
Washout and Landslide Alert-BCFSC-Nov_15-2017.pdf

Weather Warning: Anticipate the hazards

Safety Alert Type: 
Weather
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-10-23
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Weather warnings and reports of extreme weather have been coming into the BC Forest Safety Council office. Now that fire season has ended, we might want to relax, but the fall and winter weather creates different types of hazards:

HEAVY RAIN can create hazardous driving conditions. Watch out for water pooling on roads, muddy and slippery road conditions as well as reduced visibility. Drive appropriately for the conditions and make sure your vehicle is well maintained and equipped to handle the challenging conditions.

 

STRONG WINDS can cause blowdown causing road blockages and damage to vehicles caught under falling trees. When working on foot, be prepared to evacuate areas if it gets too windy. Get out before the trees start to come down.

LANDSLIDES can occur when heavy rains saturate and weaken soils. Measure the rainfall at your worksite and follow your rainfall shutdown procedures to help manage this hazard.

SNOW has already fallen in parts of the province. This creates slippery road and worksite conditions. Vehicles should have appropriate winter tires, tire chains and other winter supplies. Have the appropriate footwear and cold weather gear available.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Gerard Messier, BC Forest Safety Council,

messier@bcforestsafe.org

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_BCFSC_Anticipate_Weather_Hazards_Oct_23-2017.pdf

Over-height load contacts railway overpass

Safety Alert Type: 
Log Hauling
Location: 
Revelstoke, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-09-20
Company Name: 
Downie Timber Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A logging truck loaded with balsam made contact with a railway overpass causing one of the logs to be pulled out of the load and land on the road surface.

An oncoming vehicle then struck the log causing vehicle damage. No injuries were reported.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Drivers are responsible for ensuring their loads are safe and meet legal requirements before leaving the loading site
  • In this instance, the logs were dry causing the load to be light. This condition should alert the driver to the greater possibility of exceeding the maximum height limit.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Chip McKay at (250) 683-8040

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Overheight_Load_Contacts_Railway_Overpass_Sept_20-2017.pdf

Uneven, brushy ground leads to increase in knee injuries

Safety Alert Type: 
Worksites
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-10-10
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

There has been an increased number of recordable knee injuries (FA, MA, MT, LT) reported this past field season compared to previous years. In the Prince George operating area alone there were eight recordable (i.e., MT or more severe) knee injuries reported between in-house field staff & consultants combined.

Some of the reported knee injuries were quite serious and many of which could have been prevented through greater hazard awareness and safer decisions at the time.

Potential Hazards: 

  • Required to “side-hill” on steep slopes for extended periods of time, thereby increasing the strain placed on knee joints.
  • Additional exposure to tripping hazards when navigating through areas with high brush and blowdown content.
  • Increased leg strain or fatigue associated with the weight of heavier footwear (i.e., steel toe boots), which can make walking and lifting legs over obstacles more difficult.
  • Extra slipping hazards associated with different times of the year (snow/ice in winter) & weather conditions (wet due to rainfall).

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Implement the MoveSafe warmup routine not only before activity but AFTERWARDS as well to help reduce the likelihood of strains, sprains, and MSI’s.
  • Be more mindful where stepping when walking through the woods by slowing down – slow & steady wins the race!
  • Avoid hazards and obstacles in the woods by never walking up & along blowdown, and always climb over obstacles by maintaining three points of contact – never jump off anything you can’t easily jump onto from a standing position.
  • Apply reimbursement program for athletic supports/braces & physiotherapy treatments at the earliest signs of discomfort.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Tyson von den Steinen, Canadian Forest Products Ltd (250) 962-3229

Tyson.vondenSteinen@canfor.com

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Canfor-Knee_Injuries_Oct_10-2017.pdf

Driving Hazard: The glare of the sun

Safety Alert Type: 
Weather
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-10-02
Company Name: 
Rayonier New Zealand
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Be prepared for Sunstrike!

Sun strike or sun dazzle (as it's known in New Zealand) is when the sun is low on the horizon and your sun visors are not low enought to prevent it from getting in your eyes. When it is on the horizon, blocking the sun can mean blocking the view of traffic ahead, which makes it dangerous. Shorter drivers are at more risk of experiencing sun strike because the sun visor is less effectively placed.

The most common sun strike-related crashes involve people pulling out from a side street or driveway into the path of another vehicle, or rear-ending a stationery or slow moving vehicle. Sun strike also increases risks for cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists, as they are more easily hidden in the glare due to their size.

If you are riding or walking, be careful at intersections on sunny days. Don’t assume a driver has seen you. Even if you are not affected by the sun's glare, someone else may be.

Here are some common times when sun strike occurs:

  • During Winter - the sun is closer to the horizon, and also the sun rises and sets during the time most people are going to work. If you commute east in the morning and west to go home, you will get sun strike twice per day.
  • Exiting a tunnel or built up area - if the tunnel is long enough, your eyes will adjust to the relative darkness, thus when exiting into bright light, you can’t see. Tall buildings can shade you from the sun and when you move to less urbanised streets, the sun can be a problem.
  • Reflections - as we know the sun can and does reflect off windows of buildings, other vehicles windshields, and when it’s wet, the road surface.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Reducing the danger of sun strike and avoid crashing:

  • Be prepared for possible sun strike when driving at sunrise or sunset, especially when turning or driving towards the sun.
  • Be especially careful during winter, when sun strike is more likely to occur because the sun is lower in the sky.
  • Keep your windscreen clean, inside and out. Dust and grime on the windscreen can make the effects of sun strike much worse. • Do not clean your windscreen (while driving) while you are experiencing sun strike.
  • Wear polarised sunglasses, as these are best at combating glare.
  • Use your car’s sun visors to block the sun.
  • Turn your headlights on so your vehicle is easier to see.
  • If you experience sun strike, and you are travelling long distances, try to time your journey and/or pull over and wait a while until your eyes adjust or visability improves (i.e., sun has dipped a bit lower down that sun strike is now no longer an issue).
  • Be extra careful if snow has fallen and the sky is clear - sunlight shining on snow can cause ‘snow blindness’, which produces similar effects to sun strike.

Every driving day is different, conditions change, so adapt your driving to suit.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

New Zealand Forest Owners Association's incident alerts web page:

http://nzfoa-iris.com/

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert-New_Zealand_Sun_Glare-Sept 28-2017.pdf

The dangers of working in burned forest areas

Safety Alert Type: 
Planning and Engineering
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-09-21
Company Name: 
Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

(This is an Addition/Amendment to the BC Timber Sales Sept 17, 2010 Safety Alert)

The 2017 wildfire season was very active with intense fire behavior in all types of stands and regions. There are numerous hazards field workers need to be made aware of prior to entering these stands.

Hazards:

1) Weak trees with burned out roots susceptible to falling over with little or no wind.

2) Unstable materials on slopes with the potential to roll downhill.

3) Slippery fire retardant.

4) Overhead hazards from weak branches.

5) Burn pits. These may be in open view or hidden under a thin crust of ash/duff/soil.

6) Spooked wildlife.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Always use RADAR when working in the field.
  • Have a tailgate meeting prior to each field day to discuss these and other hazards. Make notes of hazards during the day and pass them on to fellow workers/stake holders in the area.
  • Avoid entering burn areas during windy conditions. Leave the bush immediately if windy conditions occur.
  • Plan/Map out your safe areas.
  • Always have the required PPE and see that it is in good working condition, this should include reliable two-way communication.
  • Consider more frequent check-ins while working in these areas.
  • Staff should work in pairs when entering these high hazard areas.
  • Areas requiring extensive work or activity in the burn area, should be assessed for danger trees by a certified person and suitable no work zone established.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information on this submitted alert: Doug Campbell, Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd. 250-768-5131

DougCampbell@gormanbros.com

 

File attachments
Hazard_Alert-Gorman_Bros-Working_In_Burned_Forest_Areas-Sept_21-2017.pdf

HAZARD: Carbon Monoxide fumes entering vehicle cabs

Safety Alert Type: 
Vehicles
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-09-01
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

There have been several incidents reported recently where truck drivers have become overwhelmed by exhaust fumes within the cab of their truck.

The carbon monoxide fumes enter the cab of the truck through a leak or cracked flex pipe. The drivers have all complained of feeling dizzy or light headed and nauseous after inhaling the fumes even for just a short period.

Potential Hazards: Exposure to carbon monoxide gas will impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a truck, as the signs & symptoms include:

  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness or Confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blurred vision, and eventually
  • Loss of consciousness.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Thorough pre-trip inspection to be conducted by the driver, specifically checking the condition of the flex pipe. A break or leak in the pipe can be identified by black marks appearing on the pipe from the escaping exhaust.
  • Regular periodic inspections completed by a certified shop mechanic.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors installed inside the cab of trucks as an early warning system before drivers begin to experience the associated negative effects. https://sensorcon.com/

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Tyson von den Steinen, Canadian Forest Products Ltd. (250) 962-3229

Tyson.vondenSteinen@canfor.com

 

File attachments
Hazard_Alert_Canfor_CO_Leak_Sept_1-2017.pdf

Gaps in emergency response procedures identified after worker injured, evacuated by air

Safety Alert Type: 
Booming and Towing
Location: 
BC's northern interior
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-08-04
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A contractor seriously injured their knee after slipping on bark as they stepped off a log in a dead pine stand with 25% blowdown, and could not walk out on their own as result of the injury.

Another worker attempted to call for help on their satellite phone but was unsuccessful because of a low battery and limited reception; they were eventually able to reach someone on the road channel using their handheld radio.

The local Search & Rescue and a contractor working nearby were called to help extract the worker to the nearest helicopter access point, which was 550 metres away. After seven hours, the worker was eventually flown to hospital where it was determined they suffered ligament damage to their knee.

Potential Hazards

  • Fatigue after working a long camp shift (seven days straight) in hot weather.
  • Rushing and not taking the time necessary to safely navigate through an area of the block with high percent of blowdown; stepping off a log onto another with loose bark.
  • Delayed evacuation as satellite phone was not fully charged and poor reception, forced to use handheld radio & relay messages to random road users.
  • Carried injured worker on stretcher through 550m of thick bush & difficult terrain. Help is never close enough!

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Reviewed the importance of assessing hazards and taking the time necessary to mitigate the associated risks
  • Reiterated the importance of never walking along or jumping off blowdown, and to avoid stepping on it as much as possible
  • Programmed all handheld radios with RR & repeater channels
  • Satellite phones will be carried in protective case to ensure batteries aren’t drained when they are accidentally switched on
  • Map showing the planned route & radio channel used for the day will be required to be left at the truck going forward
  • A formal review of evacuation procedures will be completed.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Tyson von den Steinen, Canadian Forest Products Ltd (250) 962-3229

Tyson.vondenSteinen@canfor.com

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Canfor-ERP_Gaps-Aug_4-2017.pdf

Radio channels: Is yours the right one?

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Location: 
near Houston, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2016-09-08
Company Name: 
Tom Neufeld Trucking Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

An employee of Tom Neufeld Trucking Ltd. was driving home after work; he switched to channel 18 on the radio.

The employee drove for approximately 10-15 minutes and met a few vehicles he thought were failing to call their kilometres. At that time he noticed that he was on the wrong bank of channels; he should have been on channel RR18 instead of channel 18.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

When changing channels always ensure you are on the correct bank.

For additional information about radio channels for resource roads, view the BC Forest Safety Council’s Resource Road Radio Channels Bulletin: http://www.bcforestsafe.org/node/2878


For more information on resource road radio channel use contact: Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development District Engineer within your area via Service BC 1-800-663-7867 or the BC Forest Safety Council’s Transportation Safety Program 1-877-741-1060.

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Tom_Neufeld_Trucking-radio_channels-Sept_8-2016.pdf

Excavator bucket falls off during loading of pick-up truck

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
Location: 
Campbell River, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-08-21
Company Name: 
BC Timber Sales
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A bucket fell off the boom of an excavator while loading chains into the back of a pick-up truck.

After unloading bridges the excavator operator attached a bucket with a quick change hitch to the boom and proceeded to lift the chains into the truck. While uncurling the bucket over the truck it fell off the boom damaging the tailgate and jockey box of the pickup truck.

All workers were in the clear a safe distance from the excavator. No injuries occurred.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • When working around mobile equipment maintain a safe distance from the activity. Confirm with the equipment operator where the designated safe area is located prior to commencing the activity.
  • Excavator operators need to ensure buckets are secure by following appropriate safe work procedures. As a recommended best practice ask the operator to ensure that the bucket is fully secure before use around workers, vehicles, and other equipment.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Mike Gelz RFT, BC Timber Sales (250) 286-9353

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Excavator Bucket Damages Vehicle-BCTS-August_21-2017.pdf
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