Cougar encounter at woodlot

Safety Alert Type: 
Planning and Engineering
Location: 
Maple Ridge, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-02-26
Company Name: 
Cascadia Environmental Services Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Worker was working alone engineering a cutblock, when she encountered a cougar in the woods. She yelled at the cougar, waving her arms and making herself look big; the cougar did not move towards her or act in an aggressive fashion, it just stood still staring at her.

She immediately contacted the safety coordinator (via text) of the encounter; the safety coordinator checked back (via phone call) every 5 minutes until the worker made it back to the truck. Once at the truck the worker immediately left the area.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

1. Staff immediately reviewed cougar safety pamphlet, found at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/documents/cougsf.htm 

2. Crews will not return to the area in question for one week; when they do return to the area they will work in pairs.

3. Working alone policy has been updated so that individuals cannot work alone in the woods unless there is another worker in the area. In addition the field crew check-in procedure when working apart (hourly via radio) was re-communicated to staff

4. Have purchased folding sheath knifes (with lockable blade and non-slip rubber grip) for field staff to carry with them in the woods

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information, please contact: Chris Gruenwald chris@cascadiaenvironmental.ca

 

File attachments
Cougar encounter at woodlot.pdf

Worker injured moving cargo in box of truck under cold, slippery conditions

Safety Alert Type: 
Workers
Location: 
Campbell River, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-02-17
Company Name: 
Dennis Dystant Trucking
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

It was shortly after 7:00 a.m. when an employee was trying to move an empty spool in the back of a pickup. The conditions were cold and icy. When he placed his left foot on the edge of the box rail to get a better stance, it slipped causing him to lose his balance and fall backwards. He did not have enough time to put his hands out to cushion the fall and landed on his neck and back, causing extreme pain and the wind to be knocked out of him.

Another employee was outside opening a gate nearby and watched as this happened. He immediately secured the injured employee and a call was made to 9-1-1 for an ambulance. The injured employee was immobilized in case of a broken neck or head injury until medical aid arrived and was then transported to hospital.

It was determined the worker suffered a fractured rib and that there would be a 4 to 6 week recovery period before he would be able to maneuver normally again.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Use a forklift or crane to load/unload cargo instead of climbing into the back of the truck, whenever or wherever possible. Using equipment such as this is more effective and creates less exposure of the worker to possible injury and/or risk.

• Proper placement is important when moving anything, no matter if it is heavy or light.

• Three point contact should always be used when climbing on or off equipment. When it’s cold and freezing, traction and footing are not as effective.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information: Chris Dystant (250) 287-0329

File attachments
Worker injured moving cargo in box of truck under cold, slippery conditions.pdf

Engine compartment fire destroys Feller Buncher

Location: 
Bowers Lake (northwest of 100 Mile House, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-02-07
Company Name: 
Katchmar Construction (1997) Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The operator of CAT TK 732B Feller Buncher began his shift by conducting his daily pre-checks then began working. At approximately 8:00 p.m. he stopped for lunch and out of the corner of his eye he noticed flames coming from the engine compartment.

The operator immediately pushed the fire suppression system and shut down the machine. When the fire suppression system did not extinguish the flames the operator radioed for the help of his co-worker. He then proceeded to open the engine hatch and jumped out to take two 5 lb. extinguishers to the flames. Unfortunately the flames continued.

When the co-worker arrived the fire had taken over the machine and unfortunately there was nothing left for them to do. The fire eventually went out on its own (see photos in attached pdf).

The root cause is unknown. The machine was maintained regularly and had no history of fires or any known leaks. There was no threat to the existing forest as the machine was working in snowy conditions and very cold temperatures. Thankfully no one was injured during the incident. There were no unsafe practices to report.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Always be in contact with a co-worker in case of an arising situation.

• Always be aware of your surroundings and the machine you are operating.

• Make sure you’re properly trained on the equipment, and be sure the emergency equipment is up-to date.

• Remember “RADAR”:  Recognize the risk, Assess the situation (stop to think), Develop a safe solution, Act safely to fix the problem, Report and record the upset condition.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information: Jason Krueger at Katchmar Construction (1997) Ltd. (250) 395-2385

File attachments
Engine compartment fire destroys feller buncher.pdf

Feller Buncher door pops open from falling debris

Location: 
Near Princeton, BC (Lamont Road)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-02-03
Company Name: 
Upper Similkameen Indian Band
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A feller buncher operator was working on an up slope when some debris came down onto the front door, popping it open.

With the door open, the controls no longer were working and the operator had to cover his head and hope nothing came through into the cab.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Upon inspection, it was determined the door did not close securely as the latch was worn.

• As part of the daily pre-work checks, ensure all doors close securely. It may only require an adjustment of the door jam or latch, or it may be that the latch needs replacing.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information: Doug Willis, Upper Similkameen Indian Band (250) 295-5317

File attachments
Feller Buncher door pops open from falling debris.pdf

Tree faller injured when struck by dead tree under tension

Location: 
Near Creston, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-01-22
Company Name: 
J. H. Huscroft Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A faller on a cable logging operation was seriously injured when struck by a dead tree that had been forced over by a felled tree and was laying horizontal, about 5 feet off the ground.

When the faller felled his last tree, the horizontal dead tree was about 10 feet behind him. Somehow the horizontal tree was put under tension and when it released, sprung back and hit the faller about shoulder blade height, throwing him forward (see photos in attached pdf).

The faller was able to contact the faller supervisor for help. The faller has been hospitalized due to a shoulder and rib fractures.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Assess your work area for danger trees and remove them if necessary. Marking a no work zone around a danger tree can also be effective.
  • Working environments that are congested or constrictive of movement can impair a workers ability to perform tasks safely. Reassess as work progresses to reduce hazards.
  • When looking out for hazards, think about stored energy and what will happen if it is released (example: logs under tension or compression).

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information: Rick Hanson, Woodlands Manager J. H. Huscroft Ltd. (250) 428-7106

File attachments
Tree faller injured when struck by dead tree under tension.pdf

Tree top enters pickup truck in reduced visibility due to snow

Location: 
near Vanderhoof, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2013-12-11
Company Name: 
Avison Management Services Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

At the end of the workday two crew members were starting back to town along a narrow logging road. During the day it snowed heavily changing obstacle visibility by reducing contrast (fresh snow under reduced light conditions).

As the truck moved forward, a tree top snagged under the driver’s side mirror breaking the driver’s’ side window. Because the driver could not stop immediately the top speared through the cab striking both the driver and passenger. The top continued through the rear passenger window shattering it. Both the driver and passenger sustained injuries.

Upon stopping the truck the driver was able to provide first aid to the passenger. A following crew was able to assist and drive both injured workers to the nearest hospital for treatment.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Before driving make sure all the snow is removed from hood, windshield, roof and mirrors. Remaining snow can directly obscure visibility or shift while driving and temporarily obscure the road.
  • Taking time to clear the snow and check the vehicle over before driving gives the operator time to mentally prepare for the task. Take your time. As in all jobs “eyes on task, hands on task”
  • Always be aware of changes in the surroundings. Snow weighs leaning trees down causing them to move or fall. Driving conditions constantly change in the winter so be alert and be prepared.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information: Avison Management Services Ltd. (250) 567-2111

File attachments
Tree top enters pickup truck in reduced visibility due to snow.pdf

January 2014 - Managing Fatigue

Safety Alert Type: 
Other
Location: 
BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-01-31
Company Name: 
BCFSC
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

From truck drivers and equipment operators to office workers and service people, most of us have worked late, put in the overtime, or given up a weekend to meet a deadline.

Once in a while it might not be that big a deal. However, stretching yourself too thin will eventually catch up with you. Being tired can cause all sorts of problems and create risks that may not be obvious, but can have serious consequences.

Add time demands from your personal life (family, money, travel) to the workload pressures and you have a recipe for fatigue.

What is fatigue?

Fatigue is the state of feeling very tired, weary or sleepy resulting from insufficient sleep, prolonged mental or physical work, or extended periods of stress or anxiety. Boring or repetitive tasks can intensify feelings of fatigue.

Sometimes, a sleep disorder may cause fatigue. You should ask your doctor or health professional for more information. These conditions include:

  • Sleep Apnea
  • Insomnia
  • Restless Legs Syndrome
  • Narcolepsy

Is fatigue a workplace issue?

Research studies have shown that when workers have slept for less than 5 hours before work or when workers have been awake for more than 16 hours, their chance of making mistakes at work due to fatigue are significantly increased.

Other research has shown that the number of hours awake can be similar to blood alcohol levels. WorkSafeBC reports the following:

  • 17 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.05
  • 21 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.08 (legal limit in Canada)
  • 24-25 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.10

Sleep deficit has been linked to large scale events such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the nuclear accident at Chernobyl. Most incidents occur when people are more likely to want sleep – between midnight and 6 am, and between 1-3 pm.

What are the effects of fatigue?

  • reduced decision-making ability
  • reduced communication skills
  • reduced productivity / performance
  • reduced attention and vigilance
  • reduced ability to handle stress on the job
  • reduced reaction time - both in speed and thought
  • increased errors in judgment
  • increased sick time, absenteeism, rate of turnover
  • increased medical costs and
  • increased incident rates

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Build fatigue management into your safety program. Set clear expectations about not working while impaired by fatigue. Open two way communication between all workers will help identify opportunities to reduce fatigue.
  • Long commutes and drives at work often lead to feeling tired. Taking breaks to get some fresh air and get the muscles moving helps drivers stay alert.
  • Consider having a co-pilot in the passenger seat who is trained up to help identify road hazards, use the 2 way radio and keep the driver engaged.
  • The best remedy for fatigue is sleep. Don’t push it when you are impaired by fatigue; stop and rest until you are ready to work again. Find out what causes your fatigue and work to fix it.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Information & Resources

Speaking of Safety blog with links to fatigue resources:
http://www.speakingofsafety.ca/2011/07/19/impaired-by-lack-of-sleep/

Fatigue Survey of British Columbia Truck Drivers (WorkSafeBC):
http://www2.worksafebc.com/pdfs/forestry/truck_driver_fatigue_survey_final.pdf

Work Schedules and Fatigue (WorkSafeBC):
http://www2.worksafebc.com/Publications/Posters.asp?ReportID=35620

Health & Safety Executive (HSE) – Briefing note on Fatigue (from the British Government):
http://www.hse.gov.uk/humanfactors/topics/10fatigue.pdf

File attachments
AOM-2014-January-Managing_Fatigue.pdf

SERIOUS INCIDENT: Brand new truck suffers steering pump failure while hauling logs on Highway

Safety Alert Type: 
Vehicles
Location: 
Golden, BC (Trans-Canada Highway)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-01-02
Company Name: 
Dale Henderson Hauling Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

On January 2nd, driving a loaded logging truck on highway #1 east of Golden, the driver went to make a left hand corner and the steering wheel locked up. This caused the truck to go straight towards the ditch, using immense force the driver was able to stop and pull over. Once stopped the steering in the vehicle began to work again, the driver moved the truck to a safe spot on the road to complete an inspection of the problem. The driver proceeded to drive the truck back to Golden after the inspection, unloaded the logs off the trailer and then had it towed to Freightliner of Cranbrook to fix the problem that occurred.

The truck was a brand new 2014 Freightliner log truck on its first haul, all appropriate pre- works were done and nothing was found incompetent on the truck. After visiting Freightliner of Cranbrook we learned the brand new steering pump had failed and needed replaced.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Findings - This was an unforeseen problem and there was no way of knowing something like this could occur on a brand new vehicle. Preventative actions to take place are to always continue to do pre-checks before a day’s work begins. This close call could have resulted in a very serious accident if it wasn’t for quick thinking and proper driving techniques of a skilled driver.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information: Contact your local heavy truck sales & service centre.

File attachments
SERIOUS INCIDENT: Brand new truck suffers steering pump failure while hauling logs on Highway.pdf

Medical condition sends processor operator to hospital

Safety Alert Type: 
Workers
Location: 
North Fraser Forest Service Road (northwest of Prince George)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-01-05
Company Name: 
Stones Bay Holdings Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A processor operator was limbing a deck when his right foot went numb, followed by the entire right side of his body. He called co-workers and began heading for help. The operator was confused (indicating he was having difficulty trying to use his cell phone - after the fact).

As a co-worker was heading to help, he noticed the processor ‘walking’ down the road towards him. There was a bridge between them and the road was narrow so the co-worker backed-up to a pull-out around the corner.

Time passed and the co-worker thought the processor should have been to him by now so he eased around the corner and saw the machine had straddled the guardrail of the bridge and fell over onto the boom side (photos from the scene show the machine walked right off the bridge; there were no skid marks or evidence the operator tried to stop).

The co-worker immediately went and assisted the operator out of the machine through the escape hatch and into a second co-worker’s pick-up before heading for town. They met the operator’s father (a log truck driver) who then took his son to hospital in Prince George.

Preliminary diagnosis was for a pre-existing, non-work-related illness that the operator was unaware of. Treatment is ongoing.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Findings

• The root cause was determined to be an unknown, underlying medical condition.

• To prevent incidents like this, discussions at safety meetings were held regarding health issues and if they arise and continue (in this case a severe headache for 3 or more days), get it checked out as it can be a sign of a larger problem.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information: Darren McQueen (250) 996-8912

File attachments
Medical condition sends processor operator to hospital.pdf

2013 Summary

Safety Alert Type: 
Other
Location: 
BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2013-12-31
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Forest Harvesting Fatality Summary

In 2013, the industry experienced 11 worker fatalities; the same number of fatalities experienced in 2012.

Four truck drivers and three equipment operators lost their lives at work this past year. This is an increase for these occupations when compared to 2012.

The manual tree falling sector experienced one faller fatality this past year compared to four in 2012.

The forest industry has recognized the overall upward trend and the following industry groups are working hard on eliminating serious injuries in these specific sectors:

  • The Coast Harvest Advisory Group - Coastal logging operations
  • Transportation Advisory Group and Log Truck Advisory Committee – Log truck operations
  • Falling Technical Advisory Committee – Manual tree falling
  • BC Safe Silviculture Program – Tree planting and other silviculture operations

 

The BC Forest Safety Council will be working with these groups and others to develop strong programs that will help prevent fatalities and send workers home to their families, uninjured and healthy, every day.

2013 Fatalities:

January 7 - An empty logging truck heading east on Highway 16 collided with the trailer of a loaded lumber transport truck heading west that had jack-knifed. A third transport truck collided with the accident scene. The operator of the empty logging truck later succumbed to his injuries.

April 8 - An off highway log truck driver suffered fatal head injuries while attempting to cut two logs with a chainsaw, the two logs had fallen from the top of the load and were suspended in the binders.

May 27 - A grader was grading uphill on a gravel road with a 10 percent slope, preparing for a logging operation. For an unknown reason, the grader reversed out of control and proceeded down the slope backwards. It is believed that the operator exited the grader while it was travelling backwards and was subsequently crushed by the grader blade.

June 11 - A worker was using a front-end loader to move a large fuel tank across a 24-percent sloped portion of the access road to a barge landing. The machine rolled onto its side, throwing the worker out the door and resulting in fatal crush injuries.

July 30 - While the load on an off-highway (fat truck) log transporter was being wrapped, two logs fell from the load. One of the logs was found on top of the driver, who succumbed to his injuries.

August 19 - A worker was operating a grader on a Forest Service Road when the grader went off the road and into a lake. The worker was deceased at the scene.

August 26 - A certified manual faller was falling a 17-inch-diameter alder tree. As the larger tree fell, a smaller alder tree (10 inches in diameter), located behind the falling face, broke at the 28-foot height. The broken portion of the tree struck the faller, inflicting a fatal injury.

October 21 - A worker was cutting a blowdown cedar tree into shake blocks within old-growth timber, a mix of blowdown and standing trees. A standing hemlock uprooted, causing a chain reaction of live and dead trees falling down towards the worker. The worker was struck by a portion of a tree and sustained fatal injuries.

October 24 - A pilot was trying to maneuver a floatplane into position to land when it crashed onto a small island. The pilot and the two passengers did not survive the crash.

November 7 - The tractor of a loaded cut-to-length logging truck went off the side of the first section of a single-lane bridge. The tractor came to rest on the driver's side of the cab. The operator was found on the ground under the cab.

File attachments
2013 Fatality Alert Summary.pdf
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