Contractor Fatality

Location: 
Quesnel Woodlands
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2007-07-19
Company Name: 
West Fraser
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

At approximately 9:15 am on July 19, 2007 the operator of a John Deere 648 grapple skidder was skidding parallel to the contours on a slope of approximately 30-40%, when the machine became unstable and rolled. The operator may have been in the process of positioning the machine to retrieve bunched logs on the side slope. The machine then continued to roll at least three more times down a 65-70% slope before coming to rest approximately 300 feet down the hill.

The operator was the principal of the contracting firm on site and was the prime contractor designated for this site. He had extensive experience, was familiar with the equipment and was known to be a competent machine operator. The seatbelt in the machine sustained mechanical or chemical damage prior to this incident and was being worn at the time of the incident; however, the belt failed (ripped) at the point of the damage during the roll over. The skidder was equipped with doors, which remained closed and the operator was not ejected from the machine. The cab of the skidder sustained minimal damage.

First aid was provided on site immediately following the accident. Unfortunately the operator did succumb to his injuries and was pronounced dead on the scene by the BC Ambulance Service. The accident is currently being investigated by the Coroner’s office and Worksafe BC. Further details will be available once the investigations are complete.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

oReview procedure for skidding parallel to side slopes. Skidding parallel to side slopes at or near maximum operable slopes for machines is not a Best Practice. Alternate solutions to forward logs should be considered.
oReview equipment and machinery inspection procedures for seatbelts. Immediately review all existing in service belts. Damaged or deteriorated seatbelts should be removed from service immediately and replaced with acceptable seatbelt restraints.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Rob Stauffer at 250- 992-0811 or Kerry Douglas 250-992-0828

File attachments
2007-07-19 Contractor Fatality.pdf
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