Unstable footing results in fractured ankle, surgery

Safety Alert Type: 
Workers
Location: 
near Port Alberni, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2012-02-20
Company Name: 
Strategic Group
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A worker crossed an old road to enter the timber in the direction of the fill slope (downhill side of road). At the edge of the road there was an 80cm diameter log laying along the top of the fill slope, parallel to the road surface.

The vertical distance between the top of the log and the base of the fill slope was 1.4 meters. The substrate at the base of the fill slope was a mixture of woody debris and angular shot rock on a 45% slope.

The worker proceeded by crouching and placing their right hand on the log and then jumping down the 1.4m vertical distance to the base of the fill slope (see photo in attached pdf).

Upon landing, their left foot contacted some unstable shot rock and the resulting force fractured their ankle.

The injured worker has since had surgery to repair their fractured ankle.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

When walking in the woods, always evaluate potential hazards and choose the safest route, even if that route will take more time. Road cuts and fill slopes are particularly hazardous, as materials are often unstable and can shift or start moving when stepped on.

Recommended Safe Work Procedures for walking in the woods and on steep ground:

• Never jump onto, or off of, logs or rock bluffs. Step down carefully. Always look for alternate routes when your safety is in question.

• Use extreme caution and try your footing first when negotiating rock bluffs or steep slopes. Maintain 3 points of contact (ie 2 hands and 1 foot, or 2 feet and 1 hand) when climbing up or down.

• When walking downhill, ensure that you see the ground. Many times small rock outcrops, holes, or unstable material are obscured by thick vegetation.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information: Kim Lefebvre, RPF 250-287-2246 ext. 129 kim.lefebvre@sfmi.ca

 

 

File attachments
Unstable footing results in fractured ankle.pdf
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