Close Call/Serious Incident

Tolko license area, approximately 120 km Northwest of Williams Lake
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Ken Ilnicki Developments Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Roadside decking of trees was being conducted by a grapple loader in conjunction with a 648 grapple skidder. The skidder operator was pulling drags of trees to the loader to be piled, with the intent of maximizing available roadside workspace.

One of the drags that were grabbed by the skidderman contained a tree that was pointed in the opposite direction from the rest of the drag. This tree was also situated such that it was not lying parallel with the rest of the drag, but rather was sticking up out of the pile at a 45-degree angle. The tree was too small to be merchantable and was likely pushed over by the buncher operator.

Weather conditions at the time were sunny skies. The skidderman was in a position where the sun was in his face as he was looking through the rear window backing the skidder up to the drag. The bright sun and high angle of the tree caused a visual impairment to the operator. Unaware of the tree protruding out, he pulled the drag towards the loader. The tree easily went between the protective metal guarding over the loader window and penetrated the window at head level, narrowly missing the operator. The loaderman tried turning the cab of the loader at the last minute when he saw the tree coming at him but was unsuccessful. He sustained no injuries, but had broken glass on his body and in his mouth. Both machines were radio equipped.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Loader operator shall place the machine in a position off to the side, where it is not directly in line with the skidding phase.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Benjamin R. Korving, RPF
Company Forester
Ken Ilnicki Developments Ltd.

File attachments
2007-11-20 Visual Impairment Causes Near Miss.pdf
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