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Chainsaw Kickback Injury Requires Surgery to Hand

Safety Alert Type: 
Bucking and Limbing
Location: 
Oregon
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2020-10-12
Company Name: 
Oregon Occupational Health and Safety
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

On a fall day in Oregon State, a crew was working on a small diameter tree thinning project. Trees were cut down, cut into pieces, and put in piles. Piles were then trimmed to look squared and parallel.

The worker was operating a chainsaw and trimming one of the piles of branches and wood debris. As he was cutting one branch, the tip of his power chainsaw hit another branch, causing the saw to kickback. This forced the worker’s left hand off the front handle of the saw, which left his right hand still on the back handle and throttle.

The saw was then at full throttle coming back toward his hip, so he put his hand up to push the spinning saw chain back away. When his hand hit the spinning saw chain, it caused several lacerations to his hand.

Another employee was working with the injured worker, and summoned transportation to get him to the hospital. Surgery was required to repair the tendons.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Investigation revealed the employer did not provide training and instruction that included the safe operation and maintenance of chainsaws, therefore exposing the employees to serious injuries.

In addition, no written instructions on the job site location were provided. This could have resulted in significant delay of emergency medical care due to confusion regarding the worksite’s location. The employer received multiple fines as a result.

Recommendations for Correction:

  • Employers must provide all employees with training that includes the safe use, operation, and maintenance of chainsaws and other equipment used
  • All supervisors and employees must be trained in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) prior to their initial assignment.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Oregon Occupational Health and Safety website

File attachments
Safety Alert-Chainsaw Kickback Injury-Oct 12-2020.pdf

Hunters and “Corona” Campers need to use caution and planning when travelling on Resource Roads

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Location: 
Resource Roads throughout British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2020-09-16
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Resource roads are constructed to develop,serve and protect B.C.'s natural resources. Used primarily by industrial vehicles, they also provide access for recreational users.

Hunting season starts in September, so anyone who is going to be out in the woods this season must consider their personal safety and the safety of others out on resource roads. And, with the Corona virus present, many people are looking to “escape” to an isolated area in BC’s back country.

Industry road users should be aware of increased recreational traffic on resource roads during this time of year. Often, recreational road users will not have radios to monitor traffic so radio equipped users may have to call Kms for them or notify others of the location of the recreational traffic. Also watch out for ATVs using resource roads, they are not as visible as regular traffic and can appear unexpectedly.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Resource roads are not built to the same standard as highways and might not have signs identifying hazards or barriers at dangerous or steep road sections. Resource road users must be cautious!

ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN AND BE PREPARED! Weather can change very quickly; vehicles can break down; people get lost; first aid emergencies can happen at any time. Make sure you know where you are going, what facilities and emergency services are available nearby. Make note of the emergency numbers for your area. 9-1-1 does not work in all areas of the province – particularly remote regions.

COMPLETE A TRAVEL PLAN AND PROVIDE IT TO A DEPENDABLE PERSON. Identify where you are going and when to expect your return. Work together with that person to develop an action plan in case you do not return home at the planned time. If you make any changes to your trip plan, make sure that you let them know. If you are lost or stranded, stay with your vehicle; it will provide shelter until help arrives. Often, it is easier for rescuers to find a vehicle than an individual in the woods. Check out the BC Search and Rescue Association website for more tips and links.

Common hazards you will need to consider:

  • High traffic volumes with heavy and sometimes oversized industrial vehicles
  • Poor visibility due to smoke, dust, or fog
  • Passing or being passed on narrow roads
  • Changing road surface conditions caused by heavy rain, freezing rain or snow
  • Other vehicle operators failing to follow traffic control procedures
  • Wildlife and other unmarked hazards.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Additional Information and Resources: Download a copy of the brochure, “Resource Road User Safety Guide” from the BCFSC web site. Click here. (note: this guide provides basic information for travellers on BC resource roads. It does not contain maps or area specific information such as radio frequencies or road closures. It should not be considered a replacement for proper trip planning or training for driving on resource roads.)

Local Road Safety Information – Government of BC

Resource Road Light Truck Driver Training

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Recreational_Users_on_Resource_Roads-BCFSC-Sept_16_2020.pdf

ATVs and Water Bar Hazards

Safety Alert Type: 
Road Building/Deactivation
Location: 
Inactive Resource Roads throughout British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2020-08-31
Company Name: 
Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

All-Terrain Vehicle operators should always be prepared to encounter water bars when riding on forestry roads, as deactivation measures can occur unexpectedly.

In a recent instance, an operator had travelled approximately eight kilometres of forestry roads without any deactivation and had become complacent while increasing his speed of travel.

At the bottom of a hill the ATV struck a water bar that was not visible until the operator was upon it. The impact caused the machine to jump and, although the operator managed to keep the ATV upright, he seriously jarred his back and wrist. Had the ATV overturned the outcome could have been significantly more severe.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Do not become complacent when riding an ATV/UTV and always expect the unexpected, especially when riding on an unfamiliar road
  • Ride the ATV/UTV at a safe speed for the road – if unfamiliar with the road keep your speed to a minimum
  • Use proper PPE when riding an ATV/UTV
  • Employ the principles of RADAR when riding.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Bryan Darroch, Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd. (250) 768-6247

File attachments
Alert-Gorman_Bros-August_31-2020-ATV_Water_Bar_Hazards.pdf

Silviculture Operations Hazard: Extreme Weather

Safety Alert Type: 
Silviculture
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2020-07-12
Company Name: 
BC Safe Forestry Program
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Unusually wet weather and unstable weather systems have prevailed throughout springtime in Western Canada, and further wet and stormy weather is expected in the weeks ahead. The heavy rainfall and high winds that accompany these weather systems can create risks for silviculture operations.

Unstable air masses can produce dangerous winds with little warning, and several tornados have already been reported in Alberta in 2020.

Saturated soils can destabilize root systems of trees, and even moderate winds can cause healthy trees to fall.

Cut-banks, riverbanks, and hillsides may become unstable due to saturation. Rivers and streams may rise rapidly, and bridges and roads may be washed out, stranding workers or cutting them off from help. Road conditions may deteriorate and become hazardous for drivers.

Workers may be stressed and fatigued from prolonged exposure to cold and wet conditions

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Employers are encouraged to review their policies for working in difficult weather conditions. Ensure your crews are aware of all hazards and associated safe work procedures. Key points to review may include the following:

  • Check weather forecasts regularly and update crews if unstable conditions are expected.
  • Try to finish work around treeline areas during calm conditions, such as morning time when winds are generally lighter.
  • Re-assess conditions around camps and other worksites after extreme weather in order to identify any new hazards due to wind damage or erosion.
  • Assess bridges prior to crossing and do not travel on roads covered with moving water.
  • Ensure all workers understand when to stop working and seek shelter from storms.
  • Ensure workers understand specific emergency procedures for high winds, lightning, hailstorms, and extreme weather events when they are working on the landscape.
  • Discourage the use of headphones or music players which may reduce awareness of one’s surroundings.
  • Ensure your camp has a plan for mustering workers and ensuring their safety in the case of an extreme weather event.

 

File attachments
Silviculture_Hazard-Extreme_Weather-BC_Safe_Forestry_Program_July_12-2020.pdf

Dusty conditions on forest service road

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Location: 
near Bamfield (west Vancouver Island)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2020-06-05
Company Name: 
BCFSC
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A driver, experienced with operating on resource roads, drove in to the back of a logging truck that was travelling in the same direction. Reports indicate that the dusty conditions limited visibility. Luckily the driver was not seriously injured.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Drive to conditions (including limited visibility)
  • Give yourself adequate time to reach your destination
  • Travel with headlights and taillights turned on
  • Report unsafe conditions to the appropriate road permit holder

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Resource Road Driving

http://www.bcforestsafe.org/node/2634

 

File attachments
BamfieldSafetyAlert-2020June5.pdf

Train and Logging Truck Collision

Safety Alert Type: 
Log Hauling
Location: 
Naver Creek Road (North of Quesnel)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2020-06-10
Company Name: 
BCFSC
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

An Eastbound loaded logging truck was crossing a marked rail crossing when a southbound freight train collided with the trailer. The truck and trailer flipped onto its side spilling the logs into the ditch.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Avoid complacency
  • Expect the unexpected
  • Never attempt to beat the train at a crossing
  • When approaching a railroad crossing, slow down, look both ways, and listen for a train on the tracks
  • Never stop on railroad tracks. Keep moving once you have entered the crossing
  • Reduce the risk of stalling by not shifting gears on the tracks.

 

File attachments
TrainSafetyAlert-2020June10.pdf

Flood and Landslide Risk - Spring 2020

Safety Alert Type: 
Ground Conditions
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2020-07-07
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

With high temperatures across many areas of the province last week, increased snow melt has caused an increased risk of flooding, washouts and landslides.

Plan work activities considering the forecasted flood levels and the potential for landslides. Avoid work near watercourses and steep areas that may be prone to slides.

Brief your crew on the risks of flooding and landslides, especially those who may not have experienced flood conditions before. This includes tree planting crews, layout crews and road maintenance crews who may be working on repairing the damage caused by severe weather.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Here are some of the risks to discuss:

  • Road washouts can occur quickly and may surprise drivers. Consider that roads may wash out behind crews, leaving them stranded.
  • Silviculture and 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.
  • Industrial camps are often set up near streams so there is easy access to a water source. Camps located in these areas can be at risk for flooding and may need to be relocated.
  • 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.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Government of BC Flood and Freshet Resources: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/business-marketdevelopment/ emergency-management/freshet-and-flood

River Forecast Centre for flood warnings (interactive map): http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/warnings/

DriveBC major events for road conditions and/ landslides: www.drivebc.com/mobile/pub/events/majorevents.html

Weather alerts: www.weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html?prov=bc

File attachments
Flood_and_Landslide_Alert-BCFSC-April 21-2020.pdf

Lowboy / Lowbed incidents lead to serious injuries to operators

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
Location: 
U.S. Pacific Northwest
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2020-06-22
Company Name: 
Forest Resources Association (U.S.A.)
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Details of Incident 1: A lowboy operator was coupling the lowboy gooseneck to a lowbed trailer deck after loading and chaining down a processor. During coupling, the hooks of the trailer did not fully couple over the steel pins of the gooseneck. It can be difficult to determine when this happens, as there is no good way to visually inspect the connections of the components.

After backing in the lowboy, the operator climbed under the machine counterbalance to place shims. The operator can only place shims by climbing in between the gooseneck and the trailer after the initial hookup is completed. The shims are stored on a keeper post on the rear of the gooseneck.

He reached under the machine counterbalance to replace the cotter pin in the keeper post. As the operator reached under the machine, he steadied himself with his left hand on the support frame of the gooseneck. At this point, the trailer detached from the gooseneck and fell to the ground. The operator’s left middle finger and ring finger were crushed between the processor counterbalance and trailer gooseneck, partially amputating them.

Details of incident 2: A lowboy operator and a shovel operator were positioning a boom stand on a lowboy trailer in preparation for loading a shovel. The lowboy operator was standing on the trailer’s deck near the rear tires as the shovel operator positioned the boom stand.

He was leaning forward and reaching toward the support arm when the grapples slipped off the boom stand. As the boom stand fell towards the deck, it caused the support arm to strike the pin boss.

The support arm flipped up and struck the lowboy operator’s hardhat, causing him a serious head injury.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Findings & Recommended Preventative Actions - Incident 1:

  • While the operator had prior experience, it had been over ten years since he had last worked with a lowboy. The employer assumed that because the operator had experience, he did not need training.
  • Employers must adequately train employees to recognize safety and health hazards associated with the employee’s specific tasks and verify that employees can safely operate new equipment and complete assigned tasks.
  • Create a reference point on the trailer deck, by either painting or welding, to show when the trailer is all the way backed into the pins, ensuring proper coupling.
  • Wait to position and chain down a load on the trailer until after coupling is complete. In this case, for coupling, the processor should have been positioned to the rear of the trailer deck rather than towards the front. After coupling was complete, the processor should have been repositioned forward and chained down.

 Findings & Recommended Preventative Actions - Incident 2:

  • Both the lowboy and shovel operators had prior experience in moving procedures.
  • Their employer had an established procedure for lifting or lowering the boom stand using a
    chain attached to the grapples of a shovel. Instead, the lowboy operator directed the shovel
    operator to use the shovel’s grapples to lift the boom stand into place.
  • Make sure everyone involved understands, communicates, and follows all safety procedures
    in place for the tasks that they will be performing.
  • Employee work areas must be spaced, and employee duties organized, so the actions of
    one employee do not create a hazard for any other employee.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 
File attachments
Safety_Alert_Lowboy_Operator_Injuries-June 22-2020.pdf

Springtime necessities of bear and wildlife safety

Safety Alert Type: 
Wildlife encounter
Location: 
Forestry work sites
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2020-04-22
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Spring is a time when bears are very active. Bears (and other wildlife) can pose a serious threat to workers in wilderness areas. Employers need to assess the risk and develop an emergency response plan.

Assessing and planning for the risk of wildlife encounters

Employers and workers should consider more than just bears when working in bear country. Anaphylactic shock from biting insects can be fatal, for example. People can develop allergies to bees and wasps at any time, so it’s important to have access to an epi-pen or antihistamine.

Employers and their workers need to know what types of hazardous animals may be encountered on their worksites - from large predatory mammals down to insects and rodents.

An emergency response plan begins with a risk assessment, and involves asking questions like:

  • What’s your management response if a worker has an anaphylactic shock reaction because of an insect bite?
  • If a bear attacks a worker, what’s your response plan? How are you going to neutralize the bear to try and save the person?

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Here are a few important things to keep in mind for avoiding bear and cougar encounters (from WorkSafeBC’s Wildlife & insects webpage):

  • Work in groups — bears and cougars are unlikely to attack a group
  • Keep your camp and work areas clean. Keep food away from sleep and work areas, and pack all food and garbage in scent-proof canisters
  • Make noise to alert the animals to your presence
  • Watch for signs that an animal is in the area. Leave the area if you see droppings, tracks, scratched trees, or food caches
  • Never approach bear cubs or cougar kittens.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information about wildlife safety, visit these web pages:

Beware of Bears and Be Prepared (from WorkSafeBC)

Be Bear Aware (from Energy Safety Canada)

Reducing Conflict Where We Work (from WildSafeBC)

Bear Safety Package (from BC Forest Safety Council)

File attachments
Alert-Springtime_Necessities_for_Bear_and_Wildlife_Safety-BCFSC-Apr 22-2020.pdf

Heli Hill Crew Worker in the Bite

Safety Alert Type: 
Workers
Location: 
Coastal Woodlands
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2020-04-13
Company Name: 
INTERFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A large 5.5 ft Douglas Fir was felled and bucked but was too heavy for the helicopter to lift. The log was ripped in half (chainsaw vertical cut with holding wood remaining on bottom). Wooden wedges were hammered in top of the cut to help split the log. Notch was put in end of log to allow space for helicopter grapple to grab.

Helicopter grabbed the log and tried to split it, but was unsuccessful. Helicopter then repositioned the log on top of the rest of the large D. Fir. When doing so, the holding wood was now on top. Log had rotated 180 degrees.

Log was now vulnerable to “spring open” as there was no stumps/debris holding log together.

Worker assessed the log and risk and decided not to climb on top of log but did lift one foot up and on the butt of the log for stability. Worker cut more of the holding wood and placed a wooden wedge in top of log.

When the worker tapped the wedge with his hand, the two slabs exploded apart unexpectedly. Worker was thrown off balance and pinched between two pieces of the log. The worker sustained a fractured right femur, left ankle & wrist, requiring surgery.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Do not attempt to rip logs when and where splitting portions could impact a worker.
  • Felled in place logs are usually more stable, as logging slash helps hold together.
  • Place wedges in ends of logs rather than on top.
  • When in doubt, have the helicopter move logs as many times an necessary.
  • Consider the use of timber jacks (can stand away) to break apart rippers.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Gary Bauer, Safety Coordinator Gary.Bauer@Interfor.com

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Heli_Hill_Worker_in_the_Bite-Interfor-Coastal_Woodlands-Apr_13-2020.pdf
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