Series of near misses at log trailer reload

Safety Alert Type: 
Worksites
Location: 
near Vanderhoof, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-12-04
Company Name: 
Griffon Safety Solutions Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

In the last five months, Pitka Logging Ltd. has experienced three serious near-miss events at a trailer reloading station. In all cases, the driver was uninjured as they were following procedures while out of harm’s way.

Incident #1 - The cable broke on the reload hoist. Fortunately the trailer was only suspended a foot above the ground, and the driver was in a safe zone.

Incident #2 - A molly failed immediately after being connected to the cable hook. The faulty molly slipped through the cable hook, and the trailer never left the ground.

Incident #3 - The weld mounts failed on the guiding apron suspended on the reload station, causing the apron to fall. It landed on the reach of the truck in the immediate area that the driver would connect safety chains prior to moving the truck. Fortunately the driver was safely inside his truck when this occurred.

Cause: Lack of proper inspection / maintenance was the root cause for all three failures (see photos in attached pdf).

Learnings and Suggestions: 

All drivers need to understand how important it is to stay out of the bight at all times while using any apparatus - either on the block, in the mill yard or at the shop.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Valerie Dettwiler, Griffon Safety Solutions Ltd. (250) 567-7823 or email: griffonsafety@me.com 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Griffon_Safety_Solutions_2014-12-4.pdf

Serious Incident: Fill slope failure topples excavator on road building job

Safety Alert Type: 
Road Building/Deactivation
Location: 
near Terrace, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-05-24
Company Name: 
Brinkman Forest Ltd. / Coast Tsimshian Resources
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

It was mid-morning as a very experienced excavator operator was building a section of bush road through a steep side slope area of timber to be harvested. The weather at the time of the incident was clear and warm. However, this particular work site was in a high elevation area where the snow had recently receded. Adjacent creeks had significant water flowing from melting snow in the higher alpine areas.

The excavator was approximately 40 metres past a section of road where a wood box culvert had just been installed across a small but steep gullied creek. The machine was pioneering through hard pan clay and till, laying down puncheon, when the operator heard the “snap” of a tree. He instantly spun the machine around to see a patch of treed ground shooting down the gully between the box culvert and his machine.

With quick thinking, the operator was able to dig his bucket into the ground where the road surface once was. This action prevented the excavator from flipping over the embankment. The machine came to rest perched at about a 45 degree angle, just below the road surface location (see photos in attached pdf).

Immediate Cause: Spring road building in an area with a substantial amount of moisture, as evidenced from adjacent creeks with high runoff flows from alpine snow melt. Road building material, however, was a mixture of hard dry clay and rocky till and showed no evidence of saturation. The weight of adjacent right-of-way log decks could have been a contributing factor.

Root Cause: Upon closer investigation of the slide area it was discovered that there was an exposed plain of smooth rock at least 4 metres beneath the original road surface, pointing at a downward angle of approximately 45 degrees. A significant flow of sub-surface water was running over top of this rock, thereby creating a “slip face” failure plane between the rock and the road material above it.

It is worth noting at this point that the site was assessed for terrain stability issues using a reputable Professional Geoscientist. No significant areas of concern were noted. The completion of this project was ultimately abandoned based on the risk factors involved.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Recommended Preventative Actions: N/A

This event occurred despite reasonable due diligence measures put in place to prevent it from happening. One might conclude that timing of operations was a contributing cause. However, based on the root cause it is not known if this event would have been prevented, even if road construction activities had occurred during optimal summer months. A post-terrain assessment concluded that this could not have been foreseen.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Benjamin R. Korving, RPF Operations Forester, Brinkman Forest Ltd. / Coast Tsimshian Resources Terrace, BC (250) 922-4853 Ben_Korving@brinkman.ca 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Brinkman Forest-Coast Tsimshian_2014-5-24.pdf

Slip from skidder tire results in lost-time injury; reminder of importance of 3-point contact

Safety Alert Type: 
Workers
Location: 
Approximately 70 km’s from Mackenzie, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-09-22
Company Name: 
Val-J Holdings Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A skidder operator was about to climb off his machine, using a tire to dismount. His footing slipped so he jumped the remaining few feet to ground, rather than falling face forward. When he landed the worker heard his ankle ‘pop’ and felt immediate pain.

A supervisor assessed the ankle damage. The injured worker could not put pressure on or stand using that ankle.

This injury has resulted in a time-loss incident for the employer and long term healing for the worker.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • The procedure should have been to go down the blade for a proper 3 point dismount off the skidder.
  • Continually review safe work procedures (SWP’s) and emphasize the importance of not cutting corners on safety procedures.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Jim Dunkley, Val-J Holdings Ltd. (250) 983-3443

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Val-J_2014-9-22.pdf

October 2014 - Winch Safety

Safety Alert Type: 
Vehicles
Location: 
BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-09-24
Company Name: 
BCFSC
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

“That mud hole looks deeper than it was last Thursday; I think the weekend hunters may have chewed up the trail more than we thought.”

“Yes, and the storm last night didn’t help either. Maybe get out and have a closer look, Paul.

Sure…… Yes, it’s deep, but it has a solid bottom. High on the right hand side looks best, Jim.

“OK. Stand clear, partner.…… Rats. That’s not going to work. I’ll try it gently in reverse, and see if we can ease out of this one.”

“No, hold on there Jim. I think we’re going to spin ‘er down even worse if we push it. Let’s take advantage of our winch. Sure glad I brought my rubber boots.”


Learnings and Suggestions: 

If your work day takes you and your pickup or ATV on forestry back roads, chances are you have first-hand experience of how getting stuck can complicate an otherwise productive day. If you have a winch on your rig, you’ve got an ace in the hole. But using it properly can mean the difference between a minor delay and a damaged vehicle or a nasty injury. Here are a few suggestions for winching success.

Prevention

The best way to avoid winching injuries and damaged equipment is to not put yourself in a situation where you need to use one. Make conservative driving choices; don’t push yourself, or let others push you, into unnecessary risks or driving situations that have a low probability of success.

Evaluate each mud hole, cross-ditch and obstacle. If you’re unsure, hop out and look. How deep is it? Is it a gravel bottom or slippery mud? Is there a route around? If you do get stuck, are there solid anchors or trees to winch to? Maybe it’s better to find a place to park, and walk from there.

Preparation

You likely don’t use your winch frequently, but it’s reassuring to know it’s ready when you need it. Inspect the winch and equipment as part of your vehicle inspection. Confirm tow hook and mounting bolts are tight. Check winch operation (controls work, winch engages / disengages, etc.) and the cable is in good condition (free of kinks and frays).

Have capable equipment and the right accessories. Your winching gear should include: snug leather gloves with a sturdy palm, hook strap, snatch block, clevis (or D-shackle), tree protectors, extra chain, shovel, hand tools and an extra tow line. Have a heavy blanket to place over the cable to absorb energy in the event the cable fails. Carry booster cables. If you winch often, consider installing dual batteries.

Read the winch Owner’s Manual, and keep it with you.

Develop the skills before you need them. Learn winch components and how to operate them on dry land (before you’re stuck). Have someone explain the hazards you’ll need to evaluate and address as you develop your winching plan. Know the common configurations and procedures (see sections below).

Practice! Unused skills and knowledge fade quickly. Take an hour or two each field season to practice your skills. Include your co-workers, and you’ll likely learn a couple of handy tips from their experiences.

Using a Winch

The key to winching success is what you do before you press the “go” button – how you identify hazards, the plan you build to mitigate them, how you hook up equipment, how you instruct and utilize others. Build a plan using available knowledge; include your partner. Take time to think it all the way through.

Designate one person to operate controls. From a safe vantage point, have others watch for things the operator can’t see, and relay information to the operator.

Communicate. Usually, verbal communication works fine. If you use hand signals, make sure everyone agrees what each signal means.

Winches are strong enough to break or pull over poorly rooted trees. Select sturdy anchors - well rooted trees or large rocks. Tug-test them and keep an eye on them as you pull. Wear your PPE - gloves, eye and head protection.

Watch for jaggers. Probably the most common winching injury occurs when a sharp “jagger” protrudes from the cable and penetrates a finger or hand. Gloves are a must when handling cable, but some jaggers penetrate gloves. Pay attention when handling cable; don’t slide your hand along it.

Check and double-check. Once you’ve got things hooked up, gently and gradually take up the slack. Watch the progress to confirm the line runs smoothly through snatch blocks. Ensure each clevis is secure and aligned. Watch the cable for kinks or other damage. Are the anchors holding?

Periodically stop and check that the cable winds tightly and evenly onto the drum.

Stay out of the bight! Everyone should stand back far enough to avoid a snapped cable. Stand at 90 degrees to the direction of the primary pull.

Rather than trying to explain winching techniques, your best bet is to check out a few of the videos below and download the winching guide. And practice on dry land before you’re stuck in the mud.

“How does it look over on your side, Paul?”

Just hold up a minute, Jim. Yes, it’s coming fine. The anchor points are secure and the snatch blocks are lined up perfect. I’m clear. Go ahead a little more.”

“Excellent. I think we’ll be on our way in a few minutes.”

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Winch Training Session – Warn Industries winching session, practical tips and discussion.

Guide to Winching Techniques – Warn Industries provides this “how to” manual describing hazards, winching components and operation, equipment, and techniques for various situations.

How to Reverse Winch – but remember to use your gloves

Oregon ATV Safety Course – winching advice for ATVs

File attachments
aom_oct2014_WinchSafety.pdf

Stuck throttle on ATV creates a hazardous ride through Alder overgrown road

Safety Alert Type: 
Crew Transport (land, water, air)
Location: 
near Revelstoke, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-09-12
Company Name: 
Downie Timber Ltd. Woodlands Division
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

An employee was using an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) to return to the truck at the end of the day. The road being travelled down was heavily overgrown with alder and the ride was slow.

In one particularly thick area the quad had to work hard to push against the growth of the alder. At this point a piece of alder broke off and became lodged in the throttle mechanism. The machine began to pick up speed in the thick alder and the operator had a difficult time maintaining control of the machine as the throttle was stuck on.

Because the alder was thick it was difficult to gear down and in order to gain control of the machine the operator had to turn the key off to remove the power source to the ATV. Once the machine was stopped the operator was able to remove the piece of alder from the throttle and the machine was restarted and the throttle tested to make sure it would decelerate. The rest of the trip was event free.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• ATV safe work procedure was amended to include information on what to do if the throttle gets stuck – attempt to gear down and brake. If all else fails, turn off the ignition source.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Downie Timber Ltd. Woodlands Division Revelstoke, BC (250) 837-2222

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Downie_Timber_2014-9-12.pdf

Loose Gravel + Speed = Loss of Vehicle Control

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Location: 
Alex Fraser Research Forest, Williams Lake, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-09-17
Company Name: 
UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The first 6.5 km of the Gavin Lake Road is a public highway. It is very windy, generally well-maintained and surfaced with gravel.

Following a recent grading, the road surface had a higher than normal component of loose gravel. A forestry worker, fairly new to the job and to driving forest roads, was driving an SUV at the normal speed limit for the road but lost control on a bend. He tried to correct but the vehicle fish-tailed, skidded and rolled up-side-down on a 1-2 m embankment below the road.

Fortunately, the vehicle wedged against a tree and the cab containing the driver and a passenger was not crushed. The driver and passenger sustained strains.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Loose gravel can cause a vehicle to behave like it is on ice. Drivers need to recognize that reduced speeds are necessary in such conditions to ensure sufficient traction and reaction time.

This fact will be added to our written Safe Work Procedures regarding driving on resource roads and be further emphasized during orientation and training. Ongoing feedback about safe practices, with an emphasis on safe driving, will continue to be provided to new workers by supervisors.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Cathy Koot, Research Coordinator UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest (250) 392-2207

File attachments
Safety_Alert_UBC-Alex_Fraser_Research_Forest_2014-9-17.pdf

Steel shard in worker’s eye a reminder of need for protective eyewear

Safety Alert Type: 
Workers
Location: 
Bear Lake area (north of Prince George, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-09-15
Company Name: 
Stones Bay Holdings Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A bulldozer operator exited his machine to work on a sweep arm pin on the dozer blade.

He was hitting it with a hammer when two steel shards broke off from the pin. One missed the operator; however, the other shard lodged in his left eye. The bulldozer operator was not wearing protective eyewear.

He called a co-worker for assistance, who then transported him to hospital in Prince George for emergency treatment.

If proper safety eyewear had been worn, it is suspected the eye injury could have been avoided.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Do a proper assessment of which Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is needed prior to performing any work. What are the hazards? What are the risks?

Among other tasks, protective eyewear should also be worn anytime you are:

  • Cutting
  • Welding
  • Hammering
  • Chiselling
  • Spraying
  • In an environment involving airborne debris

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Darren McQueen (250) 996-8912

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Stones_Bay_Hldgs_2014-9-15.pdf

Processor catches fire; Crew response keeps flames from spreading to dry forest

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
Location: 
Northwest of Prince George, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-08-12
Company Name: 
Stones Bay Holdings Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A processor operator began his shift at 4:00 am. Approximately 35 minutes later, the machine lost hydraulic functions.

The operator thought he perhaps he had bumped the lock-out lever so he locked out the machine and reactivated the hydraulics, with no change. He pushed the hydraulic lockout and got out to investigate. As the operator approached the passenger side of the machine, he saw flames coming from the hydraulic pump compartment.

He grabbed the extinguisher from the cab and went to the hydraulic compartment and shot the extinguisher at the fire. When the extinguisher was empty (the fire stalled momentarily) he called a co-worker while going to get a second extinguisher from the rad compartment.

Help was on its way so the processor operator shot some of the extinguisher into the hydraulic pump compartment. He then went up on top of the engine compartment and shot down. Burning liquid was beginning to fall from the back of the machine (believed to be hydraulic oil as the rear fuel cell in counterweight was empty). The fire began to take off and was no longer safe to continue to attack.

By this time, more co-workers were on scene with extinguishers and some had retrieved the onsite 1,000 gallon water tank. Butt ‘n Top loader also came to move debris and nearby log decks. A fire guard was built around the machine to prevent the fire from spreading. Two 1,000 gallon water tanks were used to fight this fire, as well as handheld extinguishers. The quick actions of the crew contained the fire and prevented any flames from spreading to the nearby (and very dry) surrounding forest.

Description of Root Cause: It is believed that an electrical or hydraulic malfunction started the fire. The radiators and engine areas were rinsed and blown out the day before the fire, indicating that the machine was clean. The fire originated in the engine compartment/hydraulic pump corner of the machine and moved through to the cab.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Procedures were followed and results were minimal collateral damage to the surrounding area.

• This incident will be discussed at future safety committee and tailgate meetings with emphasis on keeping equipment clean of debris and the importance of proper fire equipment and training.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Darren McQueen, Stones Bay Holdings Ltd. (250) 996-8912

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Stones_Bay_Hldgs_2014-8-12.pdf

CLOSE CALL: Crew truck rolls while worker underneath conducting inspection

Safety Alert Type: 
Vehicles
Location: 
Garrison Forest Service Road (near Princeton, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-08-05
Company Name: 
Lusted Logging Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A crew truck was leaking transmission fluid, so a worker went under the vehicle to tighten the lines the repair shop had just installed.

Somehow the truck’s automatic transmission slipped out of “Park” and it rolled back, pinning the worker’s left elbow to the ground and bending his wrist back. Fortunately, nearby co-workers acted quickly to free the trapped individual from under the vehicle.

A subsequent return visit to the repair shop determined the shift cable had stretched and was not functioning as intended.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Do not rely on automatic transmissions being in Park or manual transmissions parking brakes being applied, to keep vehicle stationary

• Block and/or chock the wheels when servicing a vehicle!

• Working with 2 or more people present helped prevent this incident from being potentially more serious

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Tom at Lusted Logging Ltd. tomlusted@nethop.net (250) 499-6201

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Lusted_Logging_2014-8-5.pdf

Log rolls off truck during loading, smashes mirror and window

Safety Alert Type: 
Log Hauling
Location: 
South of Houston, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-07-23
Company Name: 
Tom Neufeld Trucking Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A Cut-To-Length (CTL) log truck was being loaded at the roadside, when one of the short logs rolled off the passenger side.

The log rolled off the back bunk of the first bundle then fell towards the truck, striking the mirror on the passenger side and smashing the side window out.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

It is very important to remind drivers how dangerous it is to be out of the truck during loading. In this case if a driver had been outside cleaning windows or anything else they could have been struck by the log.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Ron Neufeld (250) 845-8960

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