Hidden ice on snowy resource road leaves crew & truck stranded as windstorm topples trees

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Location: 
Witches Brook Rd. (near Logan Lake, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2015-03-02
Company Name: 
Skeetchestn Natural Resources Corporation
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Two workers in a pick-up truck were climbing a windy road along a power line to do site inspection and road recon for a slash pile burning project. The road was steep and a light layer of snow covered it, making a layer of ice underneath invisible.

As the truck lost power attempting to climb, it stopped for a brief moment then started to slide backwards down the road for approximately 25 metres before spinning 180 degrees. The vehicle stopped at this point and was positioned entirely across the road. A small berm at that location is what brought the truck to a complete stop and prevented it from going over the embankment. Although the embankment was not a long distance, damage to the vehicle would have almost certainly occurred.

The driver applied the parking brake, slowly removed their foot from the main brake pedal and then turned off the engine. The crew looked in the truck and realized there were no tools or chains available. They radioed the Natural Resources office in the area and asked for help. Assistance was dispatched with a set of chains for the stranded pick-up truck.

At this point, the workers determined it was unsafe to remain in the vehicle as nearby trees started to crack due to high gusts of wind on site. So they waited further down the road until help arrived. While waiting, a tree did fall in close proximity to the workers and their truck. The crew was able to install chains on the truck and slowly bring the vehicle down to flat area.


Immediate and root cause(s):

  • Inadequate awareness of surroundings
  • Worksite conditions (extreme weather)
  • Inadequate communications between the two crew members
  • Inadequate maintenance / inspections of the vehicle

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Always check vehicles for tools and chains (when winter conditions apply)
  • Ensure that crew members communicate about the check to confirm it was done
  • Exit the vehicle before and have a good look at the road conditions. (In this incident, snow cover had rendered the ice virtually invisible)

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Wynona Britton, Skeetchestn Natural Resources Corporation Wynona@skeetchestn.ca

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_SkeetchestnNRC_2015-3-2.pdf

HAZARD ALERT - Log trailer cable bells need close inspection

Safety Alert Type: 
Log Hauling
Location: 
Throughout BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2015-03-03
Company Name: 
Interfor Corporation
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

This safety alert serves as a “heads-up” to the possibility of a defect with the TRIP CABLE BELL (Part# ANSU3082-25). Interfor's Interior operations have experienced equipment fatigue or failures involving the following trends:

1. D-Ring metal fatigue/breakage

2. Cable wear/extensive fraying

3. Cable bell failure

(see photos in attached pdf)

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • If you have this part on your bunk (stake straps), please inspect for cracking/metal fatigue before further use.
  • Ensure inspections of the D-ring cable bells and the cables themselves are carried out at your pre-trip as well as throughout the day. Fix defective parts found or remove equipment from service.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Interfor, Adams Lake Division (250) 679-3234

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Interfor-ANSER_Trip_Cable_Bell_3-3-2015.pdf

Soft road conditions make for difficult steering

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Location: 
Shuswap region
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2015-02-10
Company Name: 
Interfor Corporation (Interior Division)
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Due to abnormally mild weather conditions in the Shuswap region, road conditions on the Adams West FSR are becoming hazardous.

Specifically, the un-travelled portions of the road surface are becoming extremely soft and making it very hard to steer in.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Use caution and slow down when proceeding onto and driving on these portions of the road.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information please contact an Interfor supervisor:

Ed Coombes 250-679-6863

- - - - -

Toby Jeffreys 250-679-2012

- - - - -

Erik Kok 250-679-6842

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Interfor-Adams_Lake_02-10-2015.pdf

Wildlife attracted to resource roads in winter conditions – be prepared!

Safety Alert Type: 
Wildlife encounter
Location: 
North Shuswap region
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2015-01-13
Company Name: 
Interfor Corporation (Interior Division)
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

On a number of trips over a period of a week in January, several workers experienced close interactions with wildlife on both provincial highways and logging roads.

Due to heavy snow and freezing rain, animals - and in particular ungulates - have migrated to more traditional wintering grounds.

Deer and moose have also been staying close to plowed roads where there is easier walking conditions and access to road salts, etc.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Be extra aware of the potential for wildlife on roads and especially during dawn and dusk conditions
  • Slow down during these times and stay alert to the potential of an animal crossing the road on short notice
  • Leave extra time to travel to your intended destination as time of day/ daily conditions / location may necessitate lower travel speeds to avoid wildlife.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Michael Scott, Interfor Corporation (250) 679-6843

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Interfor-Adams_Lake_2015-1-13.pdf

Serious Incident: Predatory Grizzly Encounter

Safety Alert Type: 
Wildlife encounter
Location: 
Nazko, off the 4000 Rd at 4039, 4km on Run Away Rd. (west of Quesnel)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-10-08
Company Name: 
Zanzibar Holdings Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

While surveying, a worker was tracked, approached and then stalked by a mature Grizzly exhibiting predatory behavior. The worker had been dropped off by her co-worker and had just started surveying a forested opening when her dog started growling at a thicket on the edge of the sample plot.

A bear appeared then approached, making no sound and walking with intent towards her. The worker started backing up, bear spray at the ready, yelling loudly and making herself as big as possible with arms fully extended while her dog aggressively barked. The bear hesitated, reassessed, and then resumed stalking again, circling in a predatory manner. The worker kept facing the bear, retreating backwards towards the drop off point on the road. The bear tracked her to the forest edge and then stopped.

Radio contact with the co-worker was attempted without success initially but contact was made by the time the worker made it back to the pickup location. Due to the nature of the incident and the abnormal bear behavior, both workers left that area.

The co-worker had observed the bear after the initial drop off and assessed the animal as travelling in the opposite direction from the worksite and so deemed it not to be a threat. During further interviews with the co-worker after the incident it was noted that the bear had been oddly unafraid of the horn and the moving truck.

On further investigation and discussion with local residents it was reported that firefighters had recently encountered a bear in the area that had shown no fear of workers or bear bangers and had acted aggressively.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • When a bear is sighted, all crew members must be notified and action plan initiated. Recent incidents related to specific work areas should be coordinated through a regional authority.
  • If working in pairs, work within radio contact range of each other whenever possible and check in at designated times.
  • ALWAYS carry bear spray where it is easily accessible. In high risk areas, carry two cans.
  • Bear behaviour may have been affected by recent history forest fires in the area. The bear in this incident could well have been displaced in unfamiliar territory, hungry and confused. This deserves further investigation and consideration in Bear Aware best practices.
  • Carry a SPOT or other type of Satellite communication device.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Sylvia Fenwick-Wilson, Zanzibar Holdings Ltd. (604) 317-4118 or email: sylvia@zanzibar.ca 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Zanzibar_Hldgs_Ltd._2014-10-8.pdf

Equipment operator misses handrail, falls to ground from ladder on his machine

Safety Alert Type: 
Workers
Location: 
St. Leon Creek (near Nakusp, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2015-02-19
Company Name: 
R & A Logging Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Hook truck operator was climbing up the ladder to the loader. He missed grabbing the upper handrail and fell backwards to the ground.

The fall resulted in a broken heel and possible wrist injury. The investigation confirmed that his footwear was adequate and the ladder was in good condition, with clean rungs.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Evaluate the ergonomics of the movements required for access and departure from the loading platform

• Ensure all rungs, platforms and handrails are clean of debris & oils, conducive to easy grip and footing, and that 3 point contact can be made at all times

• Review 3 point contact procedures and methods with machine operators

• Ensure lighting is adequate, especially in areas where body movements are critical

• Evaluate the use of a fall restraint device to use during access, departure, and while operator is on platform

• Ensure that an effective man-check system is in place for workers working alone, and that workers use an effective communication system to notify others of their actions and status.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Larry Rivers (250) 265-2296

File attachments
Safety_Alert_R_and_A_Logging_2015-2-19.pdf

Skidder operator suffers concussion, whiplash

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
Location: 
Johnson Lake (near Barriere, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2015-02-04
Company Name: 
Interfor Corporation (Adams Lake Division)
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A skidder operator blacked out while bringing in his second drag of the day. When he woke up a few moments later, he had no recollection as to what happened. He had a headache and a sore neck and back.

The medical examination indicated a concussion due to a bump on the head behind the left ear and also whiplash. The doctor recommended rest for a few days.

The skidder was a CAT 535. The operator was wearing his seatbelt. At the location of the incident, snow had melted and a 40 cm stump was visible along the skid trail.

The investigation speculates that the operator either hit the stump with his blade or drove over it with a tire, which may have caused an unexpected and abrupt movement of the skidder.

It is thought that the operator both hit his head on the Roll Over Protection structure (ROPs) and also whiplashed his back and neck.

(pdf of this alert is attached)

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • In machines where the ROPs are in close proximity to the operator, consider installing padding or requiring the operator to wear a helmet or hard hat while in the cab.
  • Teach skidder operators to watch for changing conditions, especially melting snow, which can expose previously buried hazards.
  • Ensure lighting is adequate, considering both the machine lights and daylight, especially in areas with variable terrain features.
  • Evaluate the ergonomics of machine seats and that they match the height and weight of the operator. Consider using a seat with a headrest and seatbelts that harness in the shoulders.
  • Keep skidder blade up high enough to avoid catching on stumps or other debris.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Ed Coombes, Interfor Corporation Adams Lake Division (250) 679-6863

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Interfor-Adams_Lake_2015-2-04.pdf

Serious Near Miss: Decked logs collapse and slide down hill

Safety Alert Type: 
Worksites
Location: 
Northern Interior Region
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2015-01-13
Company Name: 
CANFOR Forest Management Group
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A Supervisor and Processor Operator had just finished a log quality sample and were standing on the road next to a deck of 12’ logs.

One of the logs on the deck shifted causing the entire deck to collapse and slide down the hill despite having appeared to be stable just moments earlier.

Luckily no one was in the “line of fire”.

(pdf of this Alert is attached)

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Identified Hazards

  • 12’ logs were decked on ~25% slope due to the limited decking space available in the cut block.
  • The low side of the log deck was supported only using compacted snow as fill.
  • Warmer weather conditions altered the stability of the snow underneath the log deck.

Preventative Actions:

  • Operators must consider the slope of the ground and the height of the decking area before actually building the deck.
  • Position logs perpendicular to the lower side of the log deck as supportive cribbing – do not only use snow.
  • Consider leaving high stumps along roadside decking areas in order to support the logs being used to level out log decks.
  • In extreme cases, consider building a trail to provide a flatter and more stable location for the log deck and working equipment.
  • Always forward/skid logs to a more suitable location if they cannot be decked safely.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Tyson von den Steinen, RPF Manager – Safety & Continuous Improvement, Forest Management Group – Canfor Direct: (250) 962-3229 Cell: (250) 960-8148

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Canfor_2015-1-13.pdf

DANGER: Winter conditions on BC’s highways

Safety Alert Type: 
Paved Roads
Location: 
Highway 5 just North of Otter Creek (north Thompson region)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2015-02-03
Company Name: 
Stamer Logging Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Following a snowstorm on February 2, the highways were poorly maintained north of the town of Clearwater. There was compact snow and ice completely covering the highway. Early the following morning it was snowing again, on top of the already slippery conditions.

A buncherman was going to work in a company pick up and was following another northbound vehicle at a safe distance, when he noticed a southbound transport truck that appeared to swerve before meeting the vehicle in front of him. He immediately began slowing down.

The northbound vehicle in front of him just barely made it by in front of the transport truck which had lost all control.

The transport truck’s trailer was off the road and the truck was sideways sliding down the road towards the buncherman in the pickup. Finally the trailer flipped over after hitting a power pole, causing the truck to land on its side and slide down the highway until it stopped about 15 or 20 feet from the pickup’s front bumper (see photo in attached pdf).

The driver and sleeper team were able to get themselves out from the overturned tractor unit, where they were both standing on top of the cab, after having climbed out of the driver’s door. The pickup was parked with the four way flashers going and the headlights pointed at the overturned truck on the road, but visibility from the North was very poor.

Another southbound semi-truck came around the corner into view, and the buncherman determined that it was not safe to be on the road near the overturned truck. He yelled to the two men standing on top of the truck that they were likely to be hit by the oncoming truck and then he ran southward down the highway to the pickup.

The driver of the second semi-truck did see the wreck in time and safely stopped his vehicle.

This very easily could have resulted in serious injuries to several people or fatalities. We believe the first truck was travelling too fast for road conditions, and was in the wrong lane at least partially when he met the vehicle in front of the pickup and then he swerved to get back in his own lane and lost control of his vehicle.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Continually be aware of changing road conditions – especially in winter. SLOW DOWN. Everyone wants to make it home at night at the end of their work day.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Glenda Feller, Stamer Logging Ltd. (250) 672-9555

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Stamer_Logging_Ltd_2015-2-23.pdf

January 2015 - Speed and Driving For Conditions

Safety Alert Type: 
Other
Location: 
British Columbia
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

“C’mon Rob, you’re holding me up. I’m a half-hour late and I’ve got 2 more trips to make after this one.”

“Good morning Keith. A few of these corners looked a little slick on the way in. And now that the sun is coming onto these shaded corners, I’m going to take it easy. I’ll let you by at the 8 board.”

Speed - driving too fast for conditions - remains the number one contributor to fatal motor vehicle crashes in BC. Each fall, the number of people killed or injured in a crash as a result of driving too fast for conditions spikes upwards - nearly doubling.

What is a safe speed? It is not simply the greatest speed at which you can "keep ‘er on the road." Safe speed includes obligations to drive at a speed that does not generate undue risks, and to apply behaviours that provide a margin of error - for you and other drivers. Determining the speed that’s right for conditions is a mental calculation involving three dynamic variables: the vehicle, the driving environment, and the driver.

The Vehicle

It only takes a few minutes to conduct regular vehicle inspections and there’s plenty of good information available to help you inspect, maintain and prepare your vehicle. A well maintained vehicle will perform as you expect, which is especially important in an emergency situation.

Whether you're hauling a load of logs, driving the service truck or a 4x4, a load impacts vehicle handling dynamics. A heavy load increases stopping distance. Extra weight changes the centre of gravity and generates momentum that tends to carry the vehicle straight ahead. An unbalanced load decreases vehicle stability and impairs the vehicle’s response to driver inputs. Reduce your speed to adapt to these changes in vehicle handling.

The Driving Environment

Driving decisions must accurately consider the physical environment. Drivers have to think about the road (e.g. surface materials, lane width, sighting distance, grade, etc.) and the weather. More importantly, your calculations have to account for how these factors influence visibility, traction and vehicle performance.

Equally critical components of the driving environment are other vehicles, drivers, and surprises. "Driving for conditions" includes understanding the risk that a pedestrian, plough truck or moose may suddenly appear in front of you. Your driving behaviours must acknowledge the presence of other traffic, and allow for the possibility that the vehicle ahead might not have proper winter tires, or might not be operated by a skilled winter driver.

To make quality decisions, drivers must actively scan their entire driving environment to collect necessary information. Look as far ahead as you can see, then watch the road surface in front of you. Check your mirrors. Watch the ditches. Glance at the gauges. Select and use relevant information. The patch of black ice, the curve ahead, the pedestrian crossing and the oncoming bus all matter. The lovely sunset, the sale at Wal-Mart, your hair-do and your cell phone don’t.

Applying that information effectively requires drivers to be constantly assessing the driving environment. Experienced drivers understand that "shine" on the corner means "very slick". All drivers, especially inexperienced drivers, need to recognize they might make mistakes, or that their calculations might be "off" - and slow down a little.

The Driver

The third element - the part that ties it all together - is the driver. Many factors influence a driver’s capacity to make prompt, correct decisions, and their ability to execute quick, effective responses. Consider the points below. Conduct an honest self-assessment. How often, and to what extent do you allow these factors to influence your driving behaviours?

Factors that support correct decisions and quick reaction times:

  • Driving experience
  • Well-rested and alert
  • Patience
  • Expectation / anticipation
  • Proper hydration and diet
  • Physical / mental fitness

Factors that contribute to poor decisions and slower reaction times:

  • Over-confidence / complacency
  • Fatigue or other impairment
  • Aggressive attitude
  • Cognitive load - "things on your mind"
  • Declining vision, reduced visibility

The speed that is right for you recognizes your state of mind, your skills and your limitations.

Driving is a complex activity. Yet, driving for conditions can be boiled down to being prepared with a road-worthy vehicle, looking for and paying attention to important cues in your entire driving environment, choosing a speed that’s right for those conditions, and watching out for the other guy.

“I’m just giving you a hard time, Rob. You’re doing just fine, young fella. We have to tighten up after the junction, so I’ll slip by you there. Once we’re on the blacktop switch over to 44, and I’ll let you know if I see any big surprises.”

“Thanks for your patience, Keith. I’m having a pretty good first winter, and I aim to keep it that way.”

Resources:

BC Forest Safety’s Transportation Webpage - keep up to date on the latest safety developments.
http://www.bcforestsafe.org/forestry_trucksafe.html

DriveBC - check road and weather conditions before you plan your journey
http://www.drivebc.ca

Shift Into Winter - learn how to prepare the driver and the vehicle for winter conditions
http://shiftintowinter.ca/prepare-yourself

Road Safety At Work - vehicle inspection and maintenance tips
http://www.roadsafetyatwork.ca/

 

 

File attachments
aom_jan2015_Speed.pdf
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