BC Forest Safety Council | Safety is good business

Feller / Buncher operator injured while using Jackall

Safety Alert Type: 
Hand and Power Tools
Southern Interior (West Kootenays Near Renata)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Galena Contractors Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A Feller / Buncher operator was injured while installing a repacked radiator guard placement hydraulic cylinder into a Tigercat Feller / Buncher (Model L870). The operator was fastening the cylinder mounting bracket bolts / nuts on each end of the mounting brackets that keep the hydraulic cylinder in place, and he was using a jackall to align the hydraulic cylinder mounting assembly with the cylinder mounting brackets so that he could attach the bolts / nuts to keep the assembly in place.

The Feller / Buncher operator had previously lifted the radiator guard into place with the jackall, attached the bolts / nuts to stabilize the hydraulic cylinder, and had readied to lower the jackall lifting mechanism by releasing the reversing catch on the jackal.

At some point during the lowering of the jackall lifting mechanism, the jackall unleashed its support and a part of the jackall struck The Feller / Buncher Operator in the head, rendering him unconscious. The Feller / Buncher Operator was airlifted to a hospital where he was treated for his injury.

The Feller / Buncher Operator stated during an interview following the incident that he did not recall the point at which the support mechanism failed. He stated that he thought that he had barely touched (not applied direct pressure to) the reversing catch when the support mechanism failed (see photos in attached pdf).

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Conduct a training session for personnel who may be involved in the repairing of and / or the maintenance of equipment used in the field. The training session should focus on: 

  • Safe / unsafe work practices associated with repairs / maintenance 
  • Appropriate tools to utilize and the safe handling / placement of those tools
  • Assistance / spotter protocols to incorporate while conducting repairs / maintenance


For more information on this submitted alert: 

Dak Giles, Safety Coordinator for Galena Contractors Ltd., Nakusp, BC dakgiles@telus.net


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Cat slides on bedrock, tips over and starts fire

Safety Alert Type: 
Planning and Engineering
Site Prep off Bear FSR, Coquihalla
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
WG Shaw & Son Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

While trenching a rocky block (25-30% slope), a D7H Caterpillar broke through shallow soils and skidded down slope on the bedrock underneath, resulting in the machine going sideways over a rocky ledge and tipping slowly onto its side.

The operator managed to get out safely but had just reached the ground when a fire started under the machine. Fire extinguishers and the hand tank pumps could not reach the proper spot and the water tank - which was only 120 metres away - couldn’t stop the fire, which by then had burned through fuel lines.

A second Cat operator used his machine to quickly build a guard around the fire and that controlled it until fire crews arrived.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Site prep operators make decisions constantly when on rocky or gullied terrain and even after they have analyzed the situation and made a choice, there is still an element of the unknown that can cause trouble.

• Constantly test the water delivery pump. The pump on-site worked properly while filling up the water tank but had some issues during the fire, even though it was very new.

• Operating safely in a stressful situation, both operators employed quick thinking and action to keep the fire from spreading.

• Worker had to drive 30 kilometres out to the Coquihalla Highway to find cell service in order to call for aid. Test radio or cell phone reception on your work site at all times.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

WG Shaw & Son Ltd. (250) 547-6550

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August 2014 - Preparedness and Reporting - Your Best Fire Tools

Safety Alert Type: 
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A busy fire season and high fire danger ratings present a new set of hazards for forestry operations. Changing forest fuel types and dramatic weather patterns (e.g. wind and storm events, heat waves, etc.) seem to be elevating the risk of catastrophic fires. But, no matter where you operate, two things – preparedness and reporting – can make the difference between a small blaze that is quickly brought under control, and a wildfire emergency.

“No, I don’t think you’re wrong, Tom. I caught a faint whiff of smoke on my way into the block this morning, too. Let’s take a few minutes and check it out.”

“Sure thing, Darren. I’ll let the crew know where we’re headed. We should stop by the fire tool cache and grab a little extra gear just in case it turns out to be something. Have you got the satellite phone?”

“I do. Actually, why don’t we check with the crew working in Upper Twin Creek; maybe they can see something we can’t from down here?”


Learnings and Suggestions: 

Being ready to respond promptly and effectively is key. Given the limited resources most loggers have on site, you have a much better chance of controlling and extinguishing a small fire. Delays due to disorganization and hurried, ineffective actions can allow a small fire to quickly grow to dangerous proportions beyond the capacity of your crew and equipment. There are several aspects to consider:

  • Training – Before you can direct employees to engage in fire-fighting activities, they must be knowledgeable of the work and the associated hazards they may encounter, as well as the actions they can take to control those hazards. S-100 Basic Fire Suppression and Safety with the necessary S-100A annual refresher is the training standard.
  • Physical Capability – Firefighting can be physically exhausting work. Equipment operators that don’t do a lot of exercise may be able to lug a pump to the water hole, but if the wind changes direction can they quickly move to a safe location? Before asking your crew to engage in firefighting, assess each one’s physical capability. Err on the side of caution.
  • Practice – S-100 training includes a day of field activities with fire equipment and tools. That’s a good start. You can vastly improve your crew’s ability to respond by conducting “fire drills” and practicing your Emergency Response Plan on your block. These are great opportunities for the crew to hone their skills; they usually identify weaknesses in your plan, and opportunities for improving it. As importantly, crew members understand respective roles and each is better prepared to calmly and effectively undertake their assignment.
  • Check Equipment Regularly – Have someone confirm that vehicles and heavy equipment are equipped with necessary fire tools. Do the backpack pumps have water in them? Are nozzles and hoses still where they belong? Fire up the pump; make sure it pushes out water.
  • Situational Awareness – Training and practice are a good start, but you have to translate those skills and knowledge and apply them to your specific situation. Maybe it’s just a little fire, but if it’s amongst nasty windfalls and the water source is in a steep ravine, you need to think carefully about who, if anyone, on your crew is up to the assignment. Sure, Joe says he’ll do it, but he’s at the end of a tough shift on a blazing hot day. Is this the right time to let him head into another physically demanding situation? Pause for a few moments; consider the variables (weather, terrain, your people, values at risk), develop some options, and make a plan that fits the situation. Have a plan to evacuate your crew if necessary.

Even if it’s only a small fire, take a few minutes and report it to the BC Wildfire Service at 1-800-663-5555 or call *5555 toll free on most cellular networks.

The information you provide helps the fire management centre determine the nature of response – the actions they undertake and what resources are sent to help fight the fire. When you call, the operator taking the call will ask you the following.

  • Your phone number – Let the operator know how they can maintain contact with you. If other communication modes (e.g. 2-way radio, satellite phone on site, etc.) are available, provide that information along with names of people they can contact there.
  • The location of the fire – Provide a geographical location, reference nearest community, water body, access roads, etc. If you have information about the terrain/topography, offer that as well.
  • What the fire is burning – Is it in a stand of beetle-killed pine trees, old hemlock and balsam, or a young spruce plantation?
  • The size of the fire – Estimate the area the fire covers in terms of metres (e.g. 50m by 200m).
  • How quickly the fire is spreading – Expressed in terms of metres per minute. For example, a low vigor surface fire spreads at about 1.5 m/min; a Rank 5 crown fire can spread at 6 to 18 m/min.
  • Colour of the smoke – White to grey smoke suggests a low intensity Rank 2 fire. Black to copper-coloured smoke suggests a more intense Rank 5 fire. Check out the resources section for a link to more information on fire ranking.
  • Whether there are values or lives at risk – How close is the fire to a camp or community? Other forestry or industrial operations? A critical road or bridge?

As with any emergency, the reporting and communication pieces are essential for successful outcomes. Two-way radio communications between your work site and fire authorities may be unreliable. If that’s your only choice, you’ll probably have to implement a relay system (e.g. use the 2-way radio to convey info to someone with a cell-phone, or establish radio contact with someone at the office in town). A satellite phone is a good option for most locations. Be sure to designate an individual to be the contact person so that accurate information is transmitted and received in a reliable and timely manner.

Most logging companies are well prepared to deal with emergencies and are taking proactive steps to safeguard our working forest from forest fires.

“That’s right, Lisa. Looks like another weekend camper headed home before fully extinguishing their campfire. It’s not a big blaze but with the weather and wind changing, I think it could push the fire up the draw to where our buncher is working. We can get our water tank near enough using the 3700 Road.”

“Thanks, Darren. I’ll let the crew know and contact the Fire Centre. Wanda and Rob will come over with the water truck and gear right away. I’ll get the Twin Creek crew to evacuate the buncher operator and to head over there to back us up.


For more information on this submitted alert: 


Wildland Fire Lessons Center – fire training support, webinars, newsletter

BC Wildfire Service - list of recognized S-100 instructors

BC Fire Danger Rating – current fire hazard information

Wildfire Regulation – regulatory requirements under the Wildfire Act

Fire Rank – images and characteristics of fires ranked 1 through 6

Guidelines for Fire Suppression Systems and Tools in BC – suggested tools and equipment

Fire Fighting Safety Resources – link to US Forest Service fire safety resources

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June 2014 - ATV

Safety Alert Type: 
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Here’s a scenario many of us may find familiar – you and your partner arrive at the start of the deactivated road between you and your day’s work. You turn the truck around, get out, stretch your limbs, look in the back of the truck, and . . .

“Susan, I thought we put the ramps in here! “

“We did. We put them in right after we loaded the quads. Maybe I didn’t tie them in properly, and they bounced out at the 52 km cattle guard.”

“The crew is expecting us first thing this morning, so I’m not going back! Let’s wrestle the quads off the truck. We can find the ramps on the way home.”

“I don’t know, Tim. Let’s stop and think about this for a minute.”

Every year, forestry workers suffer abrasions and bruises, strains and sprains, and very serious injuries while operating ATVs. Injuries, property damage and lost time caused by improperly loading or unloading of ATVs can be just as serious as the results of ATV crashes and rollovers. Consider the tips below. Invest a few minutes to set yourself up for successful field days or recreation.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Choosing the Right Equipment

  • Choose a low deck height. A purpose-built trailer with a between-the-wheels deck has a wider axle stance, providing a lower centre of gravity for better handling and rearward visibility. A flat deck on a pickup is lower than an over-the-box deck, minimizing the distance you or your ATV can fall if your procedure “goes sideways.”
  • Look for “drive-on / drive-off” configurations. Ramps that attach to either side of the deck (or front and rear) avoid the need to back down the ramps. This capitalizes on every rider’s superior forward visibility and balance control (compared to backing) and reduces risk of critical errors.
  • Built-in ramps are there when you need them. Better yet, built-in one-piece / folding ramps avoid risks associated with improperly aligned or insecure two-piece ramps.
  • Use a ramp system that positively locks onto the tailgate or deck. Use ratchet-type tie-downs to secure ramp(s) to the bumper or trailer hitch during loading / unloading.
  • Front “kick stops” prevent ramps from moving forward; side rails help ensure ATV tires don’t slip off.
  • Longer ramps reduce ramp incline, so you don’t have to “take a run” at the ramps.

Selecting a Loading / Unloading Site

  • Find a site that gives you room to operate – no traffic or obstacles, level surface, firm ground.
  • Use topography to your advantage – a small hill, or backing into a depression or shallow ditch will lower the rear pickup wheels, reducing ramp incline angle.
  • If you have to load / unload beside a travelled road, find a location with good visibility (along a straight section) so other drivers can see you and have the opportunity to slow down. Use your radio to let others know you are there; let them know when you are finished.

Loading and Unloading

With the right gear in the right location, you are set up for success. By applying the right techniques – a little patience, a double-check system, a well-balanced stance, gentle throttle application and covering the brakes as you enter and leave the deck – loading and unloading goes off like clockwork.

Unlike the “stars” of many “ATV fail” videos, wear your helmet when loading and unloading. Use suitable footwear (i.e. - caulk boots provide no traction on a metal deck), gloves and eyewear. Use 3-point contact when entering and exiting the deck.

Check out the good ideas in these links:

Loading and Unloading An ATV Using ATV Loading Ramps
Side Load ATV Trailers ATV Towing and Loading
Winch-Assist Loading  

Securing Your Load

  • Use a set of quality tie-downs to secure your ATV. Attach them to sturdy locations on the machine (handlebars, axles, front or back metal carrying frames) and purpose-built D-rings on trailer or box.
  • Give the machine a tug test to confirm it cannot move forward or backward, or side to side.
  • Tie-off the “tails” of the straps.
  • Place the ramps back into their storage location; tie them down.
  • Travel a few miles, pull over in a wide location, do the tug test and re-tighten the tie-downs. During the trip, periodically check to confirm the tie-downs remain tight.
  • Always carry a spare pair of tie-downs.
  • Ensure safety equipment/PPE is stored and secured.
Effective preparation will help avoid mistakes; a patient attitude will avoid turning minor slip-ups into upset conditions. “Yeah, you’re right Susan. There’s no sense in turning “a little bit late” into a disaster. I’ll radio the crew and let them know we’ll be an hour late while you get us turned around.”


For more information on this submitted alert: 

WSCA ATV Training – workplace-oriented training course outline

ATV Safety Alert – recent ATV mishap in BC Interior

Canada Safety Council – information about “train the trainer” sessions

Quad Riders ATV Association of BC – listing of local BC instructors 

ATV Safety Institute (US) – gear tips, riding techniques and skills development exercises

WorkSafeBC – ATV / UTV Checklist< – regulatory requirements for BC workplace ATV use.


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February 2014 - Defensive Driving

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A good defense can win you an Olympic gold medal and it can also keep you safe on your drive to work. Recently, there have been several collisions involving pickups and log trucks. Here’s a summary of three of these incidents:

  • A crew cab towing a snowmobile trailer was traveling up a resource road and shortly after making a radio call at 18km, the crew heard an undecipherable noise on the radio. The driver started to ask for the transmission to be repeated when a loaded logging truck came around the corner. Both drivers proceeded to take evasive action and the pickup’s trailer slid out and contacted the tires on the logging truck’s trailer. This pulled the rear of the pickup into the trailer causing considerable damage to both vehicles. All drivers and passengers were wearing seatbelts and there were no injuries.
  • A pickup truck travelling on a logging road entered a corner and collided head-on with an empty logging truck travelling toward the logging work site. The driver of the pickup truck sustained serious head and chest injuries; the driver of the logging truck was not injured.
  • A loaded logging truck and an empty logging truck met on a stretch of snow-covered forest service road. The empty truck swerved to avoid direct collision and hit the rock wall cut. Injuries included a sore neck and possible injury to the driver’s lower body.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • A good, safe day starts with the proper preparation. Get enough rest and do your pre-trip inspection to make sure your vehicle is road worthy.
  • Don’t rely on the radio alone to indicate where all the vehicles are on the road.
  • Don’t be shy, do a radio check! Make sure you can communicate before hitting the road and know the communication protocols for the area.
  • Don’t rush. Trying to make it to the next pull-out before meeting oncoming traffic can lead to a collision.
  • If you have passengers, use them to help you listen to radio calls. Train your passengers to be good co-pilots instead of distractions.
  • Get a clear signal that it is OK to pass before going by trucks on resource roads.
  • If you don’t have a radio, consider following a radio equipped vehicle or choosing an alternate route if industrial traffic is heavy.
  • Always remember the last line of defense – your seatbelt.


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Landslides related to logging and road construction

Safety Alert Type: 
Road Building/Deactivation
BC Central Coast and Northern Vancouver Island
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
BC Timber Sales, Seaward‐tlasta Business Area (provider of alert)
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The following Safety Alert information was provided by BC Timber Sales (see attached pdf):

There have been a number of recent landslides related to logging and road construction in the Central Coast of BC and Northern Vancouver Island. In some cases, logging equipment with operators were involved.

These construction initiated landslides tend to occur on moderate to steep terrain and may or may not be in areas with specifically prescribed construction techniques.


Contributing factors:

  • Unforeseen changes to ground types that could not have been predicted by the designing or prescribing professional, such as pockets of glacial till over smooth bedrock with subsurface water flow.
  • Starting to transition out of end haul sections too early.
  • Not removing organic material to bedrock in steep sections before "pioneering ahead" with road building excavators.
  • Equipment operators not being aware of the design and plan.
  • Construction crews making changes to the design and prescribed road location without proper professional review and oversight.


Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • If you are a construction foreman, ensure your crew is aware of the plan and following it.
  • If you are an operator, ensure you are aware of the plan and follow it.
  • If you encounter unforeseen or changed conditions, stop work and seek direction from a suitable professional.
  • Err on the side of caution‐‐it could save your life!


For more information on this submitted alert: 

Mike McCulley BC Timber Sales ‐ Engineering Specialist (250) 956‐5080

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Dirt biker killed in resource road collision

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Crawford Resource Road – KM 22.5 (near Revelstoke, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Schiller Contracting Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The following Safety Alert was submitted on behalf of Schiller Contracting Ltd as an advisory to travellers on resource roads. It serves as a reminder of the potential risks associated with the use of resource roads, and all users need to plan properly and be diligent in ensuring their own safety.

Resource road users should ensure they are familiar with the “Rules of the Road” within the area they are planning to travel. For clarification or further resources please contact BCFSC Transportation Safety Ph: 1-877-324-1212 or the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Office in your area.

Link to BCFSC Resource Road User Guide: http://www.bcforestsafe.org/files/tk_pdfs/gde_resrd.pdf 


For industry communication purposes, the following information is released:

It was approximately 4:30pm and the last crew truck coming out of the block was cresting a blind hill at the same time as two dirt bikers riding side by side crested the other side. The driver of the crew truck avoided one motorcyclist but could not avoid the other and sudden impact occurred, causing death to the cyclist.

RCMP and emergency services and the coroner were dispatched.

These are some contributing factors found at this time:

• Visibility on this section of the log road is limited

• No radios were in use by the dirt bikers

• The dirt bikers were travelling on an active log road without means to communicate with oncoming vehicles.

At this time, the investigation is ongoing and will focus on identifying all possible contributing factors as well as make recommendations to minimize the potential for a similar incident to occur. The Council will post a follow up to this alert when the additional information becomes available.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

To be determined

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Blair or Tracey Schiller, Schiller Contracting Ltd. (250) 837-2644 tracesch@telus.net

or Chielo Pronovost, Akita Safety Inc. (250) 309-8783 chielo.pronovost@gmail.com 


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SERIOUS INCIDENT - Boom man injured when caught up in auger

Safety Alert Type: 
Hand and Power Tools
Coastal British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

While feeding a boom stick into place under a gas powered auger, A boom man’s clothing/PPE became tangled in an unguarded auger bit that was engaged (revolving). He suffered serious chest injuries, resulting in a lost time accident.

Root Causes - A number of factors combined to contribute to this incident, among them:

• No guarding around auger bit (see sample photos in attached pdf)

• Lack of Safe Work Procedures for auger

• Worker had not operated this machine before


Learnings and Suggestions: 

 Recommendations from Incident Report include:

• Inspect all boom stick augers to ensure full guarding is in place around auger and belts

• Supervisors to be trained in guarding requirements on boom stick augers

• Safe Work Procedures to be reviewed with workers and supervisors before using equipment

Best Practice for equipment that has workers in close proximity:

• Conduct a thorough Risk Assessment

• Have an emergency shut off switch within easy reach

• Ensure the equipment complies with CSA Z-432-04 standard for design and guarding

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Interfor’s Safety Task Group – Rob Shelley or Ken Watkin (250) 286-1881

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Powerful winds topple trees; camp worker in tent narrowly escapes with fractured ankle

Safety Alert Type: 
Northern Interior region (near Prince George)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

With little warning, extreme winds (in excess of 100 km/h) swept through a bush camp.

The gusts brought down multiple standing mature trees, one of which impacted a worker during an attempt to exit a personal tent.

The worker suffered a fractured ankle.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Review wind evacuation Safe Work Procedure (SWP) with crew.

• Review Wildlife/Danger Tree (WDT) Hazard Assessment with supervisors for all forested campsites.

• Ensure your WDT specialist assesses the campsite to level of Disturbance Level 3 activities. When in doubt, bring in additional wildlife/danger tree assessment expertise and/or a certified faller.

• Ensure the crew list and camp map (with all tent sites and map of campsite location) are posted on Safety Board in mess tent and office.

• Establish a camp muster point at least 2 tree lengths from any standing timber.

• Group all tents within a WDT-assessed, designated safe camping area.

• Eliminate tent sites which may be out of range of muster signals.

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Cable Yarding: Stay out of the bight!

Safety Alert Type: 
Yarding and Loading
Southern Vancouver Island
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
TimberWest Forest Corp.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Very recently, and in the past year or so, TimberWest reports experiencing a number of serious incidents and close calls in cable yarding operations where the primary cause has been that workers were not in a safe position / in the clear - around moving lines and logs / yarding turns.

For example:

• Chaser began to clear haulback without getting clear confirmation/direction from hooktender. Chaser put himself in the bight, and was struck in the right shoulder by the eye of the haulback.

• While setting chokers on a grapple yarder and fighting a hang-up, the hooktender instructed the grapple yarder operator to bring the grapple backwards with the log choked. The worker then told the operator to “Hold It”, after which the radio went silent. The hooktender was found on the ground, conscious but on all fours. He had a large laceration on the left side of his forehead and his left eye was swollen shut. It wasn’t clear if the hooker was struck by the turn or something coming off the turn, but was likely too close either way.

• Hook tender set back choker on two logs. Rigging slinger set front choker on one log. Rigging slinger blew go ahead whistles (3 short). Engineer went ahead on turn and logs started to swing (upend). Rigging slinger blew one whistle (stop), but log struck both workers who were standing together.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

In all cases, it has been determined that the primary cause was that workers were not properly in the clear, as per their job safety procedures. Notable secondary causes in some cases were poor communication between various co-workers onsite.

Cardinal rule on all cable yarding sides is STAY OUT OF THE BIGHT. All ground workers must be safely in the clear BEFORE going ahead or back on any moving lines.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

TimberWest Forest Corp. (250) 716-3700

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