Drill hammer falls, narrowly missing worker

Safety Alert Type: 
Road Building/Deactivation
Oyster River (south of Campbell River, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Fall River Logging Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The driller and swamper were drilling 22’ holes using two 12’ drill steels coupled together. After sinking the first 12’ steel into the ground, the driller backed the hammer out of the coupler and moved the hammer up to the top of the slide to get ready for the swamper to install the second drill steel.

The swamper moved in and saw that the coupler had spun off the bottom steel so he spun it back on. As he went to straighten the collar, he heard a snap and jumped out of the way as the drill’s hammer fell to the ground.

The chain that pulls the hammer up the slide had broken 6 links from where it attaches to the hammer, allowing the hammer to fall to the ground (see photos in attached pdf).

Contributing Factors and Root Causes:

Basic Causes:

1. Equipment wear and tear - The chain was wore past where it was safe to operate

2. Inadequate Inspections - Crews not trained to properly inspect roller chain

3. Inadequate Design - The machine did not come with a way to lock out the hammer slide on the boom of the drill.

Root Causes:

1. Inadequate Systems - No lock out for hammer slide

2. Inadequate Standards - Crews not trained to properly inspect the roller chain on the drill.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Develop inspection procedures for roller chain on rock drills

• Communicate to drill crew about the importance of staying out of the bite

• Train mechanics and equipment operators on how to inspect roller chain

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information contact: kevinp@kdlgroup.net Fall River Logging Ltd.

File attachments
Drill hammer falls, narrowly missing worker.pdf
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