HAZARD ALERT: Springtime flood and landslide risks are elevated

Safety Alert Type: 
Weather
Location: 
Resource roads and the back country throughout BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-04-20
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Flooding and landslide risks are elevated as springtime rain and warmer temperatures increase snowmelt.

Brief your workers 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 winter weather.

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

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: 

Resources and Additional Information:

For river conditions check: http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/warnings/

Road conditions, mudslides bulletins at: http://www.drivebc.com/mobile/pub/events/majorevents.html

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

File attachments
Hazard_Alert-Springtime_Flood_and_Slide_Risks_April-2018.pdf

Reach cable fails during trailer loading

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
Location: 
Grand Forks, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-04-02
Company Name: 
INTERFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

While attempting to load a trailer at a trailer hoist, the truck driver noticed the reach was not in position. The truck driver came out from the protective structure operating area to manually push the reach into position.

While standing to the left of the reach, the reach cable failed, and the trailer reach struck the truck driver in the left wrist and leg before hitting the ground.

The impact resulted in a fractured wrist and soft tissue damage to the leg.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Do not put yourself ‘in the bite’
  • Call for assistance when upset conditions occur
  • Complete pre & post trip inspections on logging trucks, and correct identified issues
  • Schedule routine maintenance tasks to replace worn cables
  • Do not leave the protected structure while trailers are elevated.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Kait Baskerville, Kootenay Operations. Email:

Kait.Baskerville@interfor.com

 

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Interfor-Reach_Cable_Fail_Apr_2-2018.pdf

Log truck driver suffers head injury strapping bundles while rig being loaded

Safety Alert Type: 
Yarding and Loading
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-03-09
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The loader operator started loading the third bundle after assuming that the driver was safely back inside the truck after having come out to verify trailer weights. In an attempt to “save” time, the driver started wrapping the other bundles while the loader operator was loading logs.

The loader operator attempted to free a log that wasn’t loaded properly and dangling from the last bundle. The dangling log broke while the loader operator was handling it and part of it struck the driver who was on the other side of the load; the driver suffered serious head injuries and was immediately transported to hospital.

Potential Hazards: Exposure to falling objects and moving equipment because:

  • Not following safe procedures
  • Not staying clear in “safe zone”
  • Wrapping while being loaded
  • Poor or no communication
  • No visual contact
  • Complacency and rushing.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Drivers must stay in a “safe zone” while being loaded, which is usually inside the cab or in location that is well out in front of the truck
  • Drivers must let the loader operator know before exiting the truck or leaving the “safe zone”
  • Ensure that there is a single radio channel well established for driver and loader operator to communicate with each other
  • Loader operators must not load unless they can make visual contact with the driver or have received confirmation they are clear.

 

Note: See page 2 of attached PDF for Loader Wrapper/Binder Assist Procedures, as developed by the Trucking & Harvesting Advisory Group.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 
File attachments
Safety_Alert_Canfor-log_loading_March_9-2018.pdf

NEAR MISS: Worker-initiated snow slide in remote location

Safety Alert Type: 
Planning and Engineering
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-03-14
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Contractor was completing recce work in an area that was only accessible by helicopter. Crews were working on south facing slopes that were in excess of 40% with poor snow conditions.
 

The crew caused several snow sluffs & slides while walking along the side slopes that were big enough to knock a worker downhill. The largest slide was 15-20m wide and over 1m deep and travelled at least 100m down toward the stream below the block.
 

Potential Hazards:

  • Loss of radio contact with fellow workers
  • Changed or blocked access
  • Long time waiting to be rescued in difficult/remote terrain
  • Serious injury or death from being caught in avalanche.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Consult www.avalanche.ca for region specific snow conditions and avalanche risk before heading out to the field
  • Review your Avalanche Safety Plan prior to conducting work in mountainous snow covered terrain
  • Monitor snow conditions throughout the day and change plans accordingly
  • Be aware of the following conditions that increase the potential of avalanche:

o Recent rapid rise in above freezing temperatures and or wet conditions;
o Recent loading of snowfall 30cm or more in the last 48hrs;
o Evidence of slab avalanches in the area;
o Signs of snowpack instability including “whumpfs”, shooting cracks, or drum-like sounds;
o 30 degree slopes or greater;
o Evidence of avalanche history, such as sparsely treed area or open forest on alpine slopes;
o Strong winds causing blowing snow and slab development;
o Sustained heavy snowfall >2cm per hour.
 

ALWAYS avoid the area and adjust plans if there is any risk of avalanche.

For more information on this submitted alert: 
File attachments
Safety_Alert_Canfor-Avalanche_March_14-2018.pdf

Tree Wells: Life-threatening to work or recreation as winter changes to spring

Safety Alert Type: 
Weather
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-03-16
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

(Note: in light of recent public fatalities this alert has been re-posted, as the information continues to be relevant and valuable. It was originally posted in February 2012)

As a worker stepped away from his snowmobile, he fell in a deep tree well of a small balsam. The tree well had over 6 feet of snow depth. The fallen worker’s head was below the level of his co-worker’s feet on top of the snow.

The co-worker was able to help the worker by carefully digging enough snow away from the worker and then using the snowmobile, which was on packed ground, as a base of support for pulling the worker out. No injuries occurred.

Related Information: The branches of the tree shelter the area surrounding the tree trunk from snowfall. Thus a pocket of air or loose snow can form in the vicinity of the trunk.

The risk of encountering a tree well is greatest during and immediately following a heavy snowstorm.

Low hanging branches further contribute to forming a tree well, as they efficiently shelter the area surrounding the trunk. It is a potential risk with trees in deep snow no matter the diameter of the tree. Wells can also occur near rocks, along streams and in heavy regen with snow press. When a person falls into a tree-well, it’s incredibly difficult to climb back out. The loose snow can prevent the person from breathing, resulting in what is known as a Non-Avalanche Related Snow Immersion Death, or, in plain English, suffocation by snow.

Two experiments conducted in the U.S. and Canada found that 90 per cent of volunteers who were placed temporarily in tree wells were unable to rescue themselves. Furthermore, it was also noted that most people will not call out for help right away as they either feel that they should be able to dig themselves out or are embarrassed to ask for help. However, the more the person struggles the more entrapped in the snow they become as more snow falls into the hole, re-burying them.

Calling for assistance should be your first course of action. Take precautions working in areas where deep tree wells are a concern!

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Here are some suggestions for avoiding and dealing with entrapment if you fall in a deep tree well:

  • Work in pairs.
  • If you slide into a well try to remain upright. Landing head first creates a much deadlier scenario.
  • Grab a tree trunk or branch, or hug the tree if possible. Anything to stay above the surface!
  • Yell, radio or use a whistle to alert partners. Getting help on the way may save your life, especially as fatigue and hypothermia may become a factor.
  • Create and maintain a direct line of air if your head is below the snow line. Being able to breathe is priority.
  • Try to remain calm and wait for help. Move your body carefully in a rocking manner to hollow out and pack the snow. This will give you space and air.

As a co-worker:

  • Know where your partner is working and remain in close distance/ communication.
  • Remember, if your partner is buried under the snow, time is of the essence and your quick actions to pull or dig them out are your partner's best hope for survival. In most cases, you are the only hope.
  • Make sure the ground you are standing on is packed and will not cause a further cave in. Radio for help, but stay there until you have recovered your partner. Make attempts to uncover the head first and help create an airway.
  • When you uncover their head, make sure there is no snow in the mouth and that they can breathe. Proceed to help dig them out, but ensure that the direct line of air is maintained.

The winter of 2017-18 has seen a high volume of snow. Always be alert and watch your footing around the base of a tree or large rocks.

Slow down when approaching these dangerous zones and make sure that your footing is on ground that will hold you. If you feel yourself starting to sink down, try to back away to avoid sliding into the well.

For your safety, you should assume all trees have a hazardous tree well. Fortunately, the risk of falling into a tree well is completely avoidable.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

BC Forest Safety Council 1-877-741-1060

File attachments
Hazard_Alert_Tree_Wells-Mar-2018.pdf

HAZARD: Snow banks obstruct signs and vision on resource roads

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Location: 
BC Interior
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-02-26
Company Name: 
Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The snow pack is above average this year in parts of the BC interior. This accumulation of snow is creating several hazards on resource roads (see photos in attached PDF).

Snow banks/drifts are covering up important signage along the roads.

The roads can be narrower than normal making it difficult for vehicles to pass by each other. There may be fewer pullouts than you expect.

High snow banks can restrict your field of vision while driving, expecially on corners and intersections.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Ask your grader operator to try to keep the road surface as wide as possible
  • Know your road, if you need a place to stop use an existing plowed pullout
  • If you see a sign that is covered in snow, consider pulling over at a safe location and cleaning the sign off.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Jeff Hatch or Ross Duncan, Westbank, Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd. (250) 768-5131

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Gorman_Bros_HighSnowBanksOnResourceRoads-Feb_26-2018.pdf

Worker pinned during unloading of snowmobile from pickup truck

Safety Alert Type: 
Vehicles
Location: 
Lumby, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-02-06
Company Name: 
Cabin Forestry Services
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Two workers were unloading snowmobiles at the start of the work day when the worn out skags on one machine became stuck in the ramps and caused the equipment to get hung up.

The workers attempted to free the machine from the ramp but due to icy conditions, they were unable to gain enough traction to un-wedge the equipment. As there were no tools in the truck to remove the ski or the superglide mats, the decision was made to remove the ramp from the deck to reduce the resistance on the broken skag and free the snowmobile.

While one worker lifted and held the ramps in place, the other worker proceeded to pull the truck forward to clear the ramps. Once it was determined that the truck had been pulled far enough ahead, the driver proceeded to put the truck in reverse and exit the cab assuming that it was in park. As a result, the truck began to move backwards into the worker who was holding the ramps.

The truck impacted the ramps causing the ramps to become suspended on the sled deck and pinning the worker between the rungs in the ramp and the back of the truck. The driver meanwhile became aware of the situation and jumped back in the truck and stopped it from proceeding further backwards.

After the truck was stopped, the pinned worker was freed and an initial first aid assessment was completed. The workers then proceeded to load up the snowmobiles and return to the office. The pinned worked received minor injuries and bruising to the neck, arms, legs, back and required precautionary medical attention.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Follow SOP’s when using equipment
  • Ensure proper communication between workers and verbally confirm steps to reduce risks of complacency
  • Ensure proper equipment is available to help mitigate upset conditions
  • When unloading equipment, ensure that a safe location is being used in the case of any upset conditions that require extra attention
  • When developing a plan to move equipment, make sure both parties are aware of the plan and steps needed to complete the task in a safe manner. Slow down and make sure extra steps are taken to ensure safety when working around equipment (eg: parking break, turn off vehicle prior to exiting the cab, keys cannot be removed if truck is not in park)
  • Utilize RADAR steps when faced with an upset condition.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Keenan Clark – Cabin Forestry Services, Vernon, B.C., Phone: (778) 475-3655 safety@cabinforestry.com

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert-CabinForestryServices-SnowmobileUnloadingIncident-Feb_6-2018.pdf

Slippery ground in log yard leaves truck driver injured after slip and fall

Safety Alert Type: 
Worksites
Location: 
Northern Interior region
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-02-09
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A log truck driver was loading his trailer in the log yard when the ground around the trailer loader was covered in snow & ice. The driver slipped and fell on the concrete pad while the trailer was being suspended, sustaining injuries to his back, shoulder, wrist, and head. The driver went to the scale shack and filled out a “Property Damage” report before going to the hospital to be checked out.

Potential Hazards

  • Slipping & falling due to poor footing where ground is covered with snow & ice
  • Slipping & falling under a suspended trailer
  • Complacency and/or not keeping eyes on task when weather conditions have increased the slipping hazards in the log yard
  • Not reporting slippery conditions as a hazard.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Be mindful of slippery conditions when walking and getting in/out of truck at scales, dewrap stations, trailer hoists, and unloading site in log yards
  • All sites to review the effectiveness of their log yard maintenance programs to ensure all areas are maintained properly in a timely manner, especially after or during poor weather conditions
  • Sand boxes must be made available at higher risk locations for individuals to be able to directly spread sand when required
  • Wear the required proper footwear with good tread whenever walking outside in the log yard
  • Report all incidents to log yard supervisor, including hazards such as slippery conditions so they can be properly addressed in time.

Follow up questions to discuss with your worker: Can you tell me what you wear for footwear when you are walking in the logyard? How do you recognize slippery conditions and what do you do you to help ensure you don’t slip & fall?

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Tyson von den Steinen, Manager, Safety & Continuous Improvement

Tyson.vondenSteinen@canfor.com

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Canfor-SlipperyLogYard-Feb_9-2018.pdf

Tire rim explodes on skidder

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
Location: 
Northern Interior of BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-12-02
Company Name: 
D Fehr Contracting Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A skidder operator was working when suddenly he heard a loud “BOOM”. He stopped right away and got out of his machine to see what happened and discovered one of his front rims had exploded and was split in half.

The rim was installed on the skidder only days before the incident, but no obvious cracks or breaks were noticed.

Had somebody been working on the rim or tire when it exploded, it could have caused serious injuries or death.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Before working on a tire or rim always very carefully inspect rim
  • Never stand directly beside the tire when tire is being filled with air
  • Never exceed maximum air rating on tires.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Tyson von den Steinen RPF Manager, Safety & Continuous Improvement Forest Management Group, Canadian Forest Products Ltd.

Tyson.vondenSteinen@canfor.com

 

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert-D Fehr Contracting Ltd-Skidder Rim Explodes-Dec 2-2017.pdf

Log truck takes out pole, powerlines brought down onto trailer bunk

Safety Alert Type: 
Vehicles
Location: 
Northern Interior Region
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-01-09
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A log truck driver lost control of the truck before leaving the road, entering the ditch, and rolling over onto the driver side. The front bumper of the truck hit a power pole breaking it approximately 10 feet above the ground.

The power lines came loose from the top of the pole and remained suspended above the roadway and two lines became tangled in the log bunks.

The driver was luckily wearing a seatbelt at the time and was not injured; the driver had to break through the window in order to climb out of the truck.

Potential Hazards

  • Driving too fast for road conditions
  • Potential electrical shock due to exposure to broken powerlines that could have been still transmitting electricity
  • Fallen or broken power lines may be energized, even if they're not sparking, smoking or making a buzzing sound.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

If your vehicle contacts a power pole, follow these steps:

  • If you can safely drive away from the power pole, do so. Travel the length of a bus (10 metres or 33 feet) before stopping
  • If you can't drive the vehicle because you're injured, the vehicle is inoperable, or there are obstacles in your way - stay where you are. Do NOT get out of the vehicle unless there's an emergency, such as a fire in the vehicle

If you absolutely must exit the vehicle (e.g. because of a fire), do not to touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time with any part of your body or clothing and follow these steps:

1. Remove any loose-fitting clothing.

2. Use the handle to open the door of your vehicle.

3. Stand at the opening of your door with your elbows tucked into your stomach and your hands held close to your chest.

4. Jump out and away from the vehicle. As you exit, don't touch the door and the ground at the same time. Land with your feet together.

5. Calmly shuffle with your feet together. Keep your feet touching as you shuffle. The heel of one foot should still be touching the toe of the other when you start moving the other leg.

6. Keep shuffling until you are at least 10 metres (33 feet) or a bus-length away from the vehicle.

7. Call 911 for help.

(Information provided by BCHydro)

Follow up questions to ask workers:

1. Can you describe the procedure you would follow if you were involved in an incident and there was a broken powerline down & close by and you were trapped in the vehicle?

2. What is the height clearance of your truck when it’s loaded with logs, equipment, or materials and how do you ensure you won’t come in contact with overhanging powerlines?

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Email Tyson von den Steinen at

Tyson.VondenSteinen@canfor.com

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Canfor_Powerlines_Jan_9-2018.pdf
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