Skidder operator upsets his machine while working on a skid trail

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
Southern Interior Region of BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Roga Contracting
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The operator was skidding on broken terrain. Skid trails had been planned and were built. The feller-buncher placed bunches so that the grapple skidder could reach them.

The skidder operator drove down the skid trail to where the block flattened out and backed up on the flat ground to a bunch that was laying upslope at 25% angle. The operator started to skid the wood on the flat ground and had no problems.

The operator then turned uphill to the skid trail, attempting a tight turn to get the machine to change directions. As the skidder turned up the skid trail it was upset by a combination of the tight turn and the weight of the grappled wood.

The supervisor was notified and the machine was put upright. There were no injuries. There was no spill. The grapple skidder was not damaged.

Conditions: Weather not a factor, conditions normal. Operator in work frame of mind.

Notes: The skidder operator has over 20 years experience skidding in similar terrain. The skidder operator had reviewed the Safe Work Procedures (SWP) at annual safety meeting in June of 2011. At pre-work with the supervisor, the skidder operator was told the hoe chucker was available to move the wood where required.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

1. Ensure you have trained and competent operators.

  • Complete seasonal training to reinforce safe work procedures.
  • Complete inspection of workers to ensure they remain competent and safe. Discuss your inspection with the worker so they receive feedback on their performance.
  • Provide training or mentoring where deficiencies are found.

2. Have a Plan for the Work being done.

  • Write your block plan with knowledge of your workers’ capabilities and limitations, the terrain and the work conditions.
  • Do separate steep slope procedures where applicable.
  • Provide a written plan to all workers. Do follow up with operators to ensure the plan is being followed.
  • The supervisor should spend extra time with the operators when an area in the block is being worked, and the area was recognized as being higher risk (steep, wet, sinkholes, carst…).
  • Document the whole process.


For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information contact: Troy Young at troy@roga.ca

File attachments
Skidder operator upsets his machine while working on a skid trail.pdf
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