Worker Was Injured While Bucking a Windfall to Clear a Road

Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

In December 2006, a grader was clearing snow and had
pushed through a group of two windfall trees. The tops were
broken off, and the trees were swept into the ditchline creating
tension in the logs. Approximately four hours later a worker
passed by the windfalls that the grader pushed / cleared off the
road. The trees were mainly in the ditchline, but crowding the
roadway. The worker decided to buck the trees further back
off the roadway. The worker bucked the first tree, a 9”
diameter fir log approx 38 feet long without incident. While
bucking the second log, a 5.5” fir approx 48 feet long it broke
under tension and swung back, hitting him on his left leg just
below the knee. The worker was sent to the hospital where it
was later assessed that he had a ligament tear in his left knee.


1. A grader pushed two small windfalls off the roadway
to clear the road, creating tension in the logs.
2. Later the same day, a worker decided to buck the
windfall logs further off the roadway and did not
recognize the tension in the logs.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

1. Be aware of windfall logs that may be under tension as a result of graders or other equipment trying to push, or
remove them from the roadway.
2. If a grader or other machine operator creates a hazard by pushing logs / trees off a road and can not remove the
hazard they should tie a “danger tree” ribbon to the hazard and communicate the hazard and its location to their
3. Prior to bucking any tree or windfall, ensure proper time is taken to properly assess the tree for any hazards that
may exist, such as tension in a log.

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