Yarding crew member struck by an unprocessed stem

Safety Alert Type: 
Yarding and Loading
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-09-26
Company Name: 
New Zealand Forest Owners Association
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The following information is from a member company of the New Zealand Forest Owners Association (NZFOA). The information provided has relevance to forestry operations in British Columbia as well. Link to the NZFOA alerts web page: https://nzfoa-iris.com/SafetyAlerts.aspx 

From New Zealand comes a report of a serious incident where a yarding crewmember was struck by an unprocessed stem which unexpectedly discharged from a surge pile on the landing.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Key learnings

  • The daily yarding plan needs to reflect the risks associated with the log pile
  • The senior crew member is to establish that the other workers are in a safe position as per best practice guidelines
  • Logs on the pile should be entirely on the landing and height restricted to minimize logs falling / slipping
  • Yarding crew members to wear helmets with chin straps
  • Communication protocols between machine operators working / clearing a log pile must be agreed upon before work commences.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

PDF copy of this alert from New Zealand Forest Owners Association: https://nzfoa-iris.com/SafetyAlerts/ShowSafetyPDF.aspx?id=188

When using resource roads, close the "loop" on radio communications

Safety Alert Type: 
Vehicles
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-11-29
Company Name: 
New Zealand Forest Owners Association
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The following information is from a member company of the New Zealand Forest Owners Association (NZFOA). The information provided has relevance to forestry operations in British Columbia as well. Link to the NZFOA alerts web page: https://nzfoa-iris.com/SafetyAlerts.aspx

Ever watch a movie or seen a paramedic delivering shocks from an AED to a patient? There is a critical step before a patient is shocked. The paramedic must say, “all clear” the other paramedics must then respond “I’m clear”. The paramedic then signals “everyone is clear” when he has observed and heard each person respond.

As in any job, this communication may become repetitive. This may cause individuals to make assumptions believing everyone is clear without following the “check back” process and confirming everyone is clear. The communication breaks down and someone is inadvertently shocked when they are not clear.

When we travel forest roads and make calls to let others know our position we use “closed loop communication”.
Once I have made my call I listen for response. If I get a response from another vehicle coming towards me I then respond, back with instruction where we will meet or how to pass safely.
Although there is a written procedure for how this must be communicated, it happens very naturally and becomes more of a conversation then a step by step instruction. We then rely on driving to conditions and proper speed to ensure safe travel if this procedure fails. We need to ensure we are using the “check back” process.

Yarding work, machine assisted falling, road closed authorization are tasks that rely on radio communication for each other’s safety. Get this wrong and someone can be seriously hurt. A critical part of this communication is confirming the message has been heard and understood.

Incidents have been reported of close calls when this check back loop has not been followed. A radio turned down and instruction not heard, a worker hears a click on the radio and thinks it is confirmation, visual confirmation is thought to be received from operator.

In industry in New Zealand there have been a number of fatalities also related to not following this process and communication being assumed or not confirmed.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Use a check back process to ensure instructions have been understood
  • DO NOT make assumptions that communication has been received
  • This may seem repetitive but do not shortcut the communication by using other less effective methods like radio clicks or poor visual eye contact.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

PDF copy of this alert from New Zealand Forest Owners Association: https://nzfoa-iris.com/SafetyAlerts/ShowSafetyPDF.aspx?id=190

Worker near feller buncher struck by flying debris in reduced visibility

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
Location: 
near Celista, BC (Shuswap Lake)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-10-05
Company Name: 
Canoe Forest Products Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

While employed on a wildfire at night, a worker was struck by flying debris that was dislodged by a feller buncher (with a de-energized head).

The worker was wearing all required PPE, had radio contact with the machine operator, and both were aware of each other’s locations. The worker was standing approximately 70’ from the feller buncher and adjacent to a parked road-building excavator that was being using as a barrier between the active machine and the worker.

Limited visibility prevented loose debris from being seen. When the feller buncher removed a buried log from in front of the parked excavator, a 10’ x 4’ cedar slab was thrown and struck the worker, knocking him to the ground and causing minor bruising.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Keep the required distance from all moving equipment especially during activities in conditions with limited visibility
  • Identify upset conditions and do not enter work zones where limited visibility will prevent the identification of all potential hazards.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Shawn Rolston, RFT

srolston@canoefp.com

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Feller_Buncher_Flying_Debris-Canoe_FP-Oct_5-2017.pdf

Toxic Fumes in Cab of Log Truck

Safety Alert Type: 
Vehicles
Location: 
near Princeton, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-11-10
Company Name: 
Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

On November 10, 2017 a log hauler had a near miss with a plow truck on Red Creek FSR, north of town.

The plow truck had been calling but the log hauler did not clear and a near miss occurred with minor damage to the plow truck.

Following this incident, the hauler proceeded to the block to be loaded. The loaderman noted that the driver was not acting normal and instructed the driver to stop driving and go get checked at the hospital.

Well Done Loaderman! It was further discovered that the driver had high levels of toxicity.

Upon an investigation it was discovered during the detailing of the cab that new batteries had been installed 2 years prior and the venting tubes had not been reinstalled. It is believed that the battery shorted out and started to emit fumes and without the venting tubes installed, the fumes went into the cab.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • When performing truck maintenance inspections, ensure venting of various systems are functional and toxic fumes are not entering the cab
  • If a driver begins having symptoms like headache, nausea, confusion, or difficulty breathing consider medical attention. Along with a vehicle inspection, looking for possible leaks or ventilation problems.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Crystal Rogers, RFT Logging Supervisor - Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd. crystal.rogers@weyerhaeuser.com

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Weyerhaeuser_Princeton-Toxic_fumes_in_cab-Nov_10-2017.pdf

Tire change mishap knocks out worker

Safety Alert Type: 
Mechanical Service (Field)
Location: 
Houston, BC area
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-11-03
Company Name: 
Andy Meints Contracting Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

An employee was changing a flat on his maintenance truck (a “dually” with an inner rear tire that was flat). He set the park brake and put the vehicle in 4WD so it would not roll while he was working under it.

He was out on the worksite and so tried to find a good spot to do the tire change. The road was a little uneven and there was snow on the ground – making it hard to stabilize the bottle jack that was being used to lift the truck.

When the employee was set up to perform the task, he first radioed a nearby supervisor to advise he was changing a tire, and gave the supervisor an estimated time frame for when he should be done.

When the employee was under the vehicle and the rear tire was loose, the bottle jack became unstable – causing the vehicle to come down. This knocked the tire out of the employee’s hand and the tire hit him in the head. He was knocked unconscious by the impact.

Once he regained consciousness he called the supervisor and was subsequently taken to a clinic for medical assessment. It was confirmed that the employee had a concussion. He was instructed to take it easy until he was feeling better again. The employee was allowed to go back to work – but on light duty until he is feeling recovered fully.

Hazards present:

  • Working alone/in isolation while performing maintenance under a vehicle.
  • Uneven/snowy ground presented a challenge when trying to set the bottle jack.
  • The bottle jack doesn’t have a wide base but it can lift a heavier load that other jacks and is therefore the jack selected when changing tires on heavier vehicles.
  • Working in awkward positions/limited space – making it more difficult to do the maintenance.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Store a thick piece of 12” x 12" plywood on board for the base of the jack.
  • Truck should be supported by jack stands in these types of conditions.
  • Develop specific instructions on how each tire change situation should be assessed and proper supervision maintained (when the tire change is in difficult circumstances).
  • Look into different equipment for this type of job – so that all hazards are eliminated when performing routine maintenance.
  • Ensure Safe Work Procedures are followed when doing maintenance under a vehicle.
  • Provide needed PPE for the job. A regular hard hat may not be practical, so add a mechanic’s “low profile” hard hat to on board equipment. Add a chin strap, if not equipped.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Brenda, Andy Meints Contracting Ltd.

brendasafety@gmail.com

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Andy_Meints_Contr_Ltd-Nov_3-2017.pdf

Heavy Rainfall Increases Washout and Landslide Risk

Safety Alert Type: 
Weather
Location: 
South Coast Region (Vancouver Island, northern Fraser Valley)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-11-15
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Recent heavy rainfalls have significantly increased the risk of road washouts and landslides.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Brief your crew on the risks of flooding and landslides, including the following:

  • Road washouts can occur quickly and may surprise drivers. Consider that roads may wash out behind crews, leaving them stranded.
  • Field crews often cross and work adjacent to streams and rivers. Postpone work next to water until conditions improve.
  • The soil next to bridges and culverts may be eroded by heavy rains and high stream flows. Sometimes this erosion cannot be easily seen. Be cautious and assess crossings from a safe distance before driving over them.
  • Travelling at night during flood conditions is not recommended. The limited visibility can result in not being able to spot washouts in time to stop.
  • The heavy rains can cause water saturated soils which are prone to landslides. Fast flowing streams and rivers can also erode the base of slopes causing them to slide. Avoid work in steep areas with weak soils until conditions improve.
  • Crews responsible for inspecting and repairing roads and water crossings need to be extremely careful. Don’t risk getting too close and being caught up in fast rising or fast flowing water.
  • Make sure your emergency response plans include procedures on how to respond to severe weather incidents.

The points above were taken from a Monthly Safety Alert from earlier in the year. Use this link to view the entire alert: http://www.bcforestsafe.org/node/2964

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Gerard Messier, BCFSC

messier@bcforestsafe.org

 

File attachments
Washout and Landslide Alert-BCFSC-Nov_15-2017.pdf

Weather Warning: Anticipate the hazards

Safety Alert Type: 
Weather
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-10-23
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Weather warnings and reports of extreme weather have been coming into the BC Forest Safety Council office. Now that fire season has ended, we might want to relax, but the fall and winter weather creates different types of hazards:

HEAVY RAIN can create hazardous driving conditions. Watch out for water pooling on roads, muddy and slippery road conditions as well as reduced visibility. Drive appropriately for the conditions and make sure your vehicle is well maintained and equipped to handle the challenging conditions.

 

STRONG WINDS can cause blowdown causing road blockages and damage to vehicles caught under falling trees. When working on foot, be prepared to evacuate areas if it gets too windy. Get out before the trees start to come down.

LANDSLIDES can occur when heavy rains saturate and weaken soils. Measure the rainfall at your worksite and follow your rainfall shutdown procedures to help manage this hazard.

SNOW has already fallen in parts of the province. This creates slippery road and worksite conditions. Vehicles should have appropriate winter tires, tire chains and other winter supplies. Have the appropriate footwear and cold weather gear available.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Gerard Messier, BC Forest Safety Council,

messier@bcforestsafe.org

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_BCFSC_Anticipate_Weather_Hazards_Oct_23-2017.pdf

Over-height load contacts railway overpass

Safety Alert Type: 
Log Hauling
Location: 
Revelstoke, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-09-20
Company Name: 
Downie Timber Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A logging truck loaded with balsam made contact with a railway overpass causing one of the logs to be pulled out of the load and land on the road surface.

An oncoming vehicle then struck the log causing vehicle damage. No injuries were reported.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Drivers are responsible for ensuring their loads are safe and meet legal requirements before leaving the loading site
  • In this instance, the logs were dry causing the load to be light. This condition should alert the driver to the greater possibility of exceeding the maximum height limit.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Chip McKay at (250) 683-8040

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Overheight_Load_Contacts_Railway_Overpass_Sept_20-2017.pdf

Uneven, brushy ground leads to increase in knee injuries

Safety Alert Type: 
Worksites
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-10-10
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

There has been an increased number of recordable knee injuries (FA, MA, MT, LT) reported this past field season compared to previous years. In the Prince George operating area alone there were eight recordable (i.e., MT or more severe) knee injuries reported between in-house field staff & consultants combined.

Some of the reported knee injuries were quite serious and many of which could have been prevented through greater hazard awareness and safer decisions at the time.

Potential Hazards: 

  • Required to “side-hill” on steep slopes for extended periods of time, thereby increasing the strain placed on knee joints.
  • Additional exposure to tripping hazards when navigating through areas with high brush and blowdown content.
  • Increased leg strain or fatigue associated with the weight of heavier footwear (i.e., steel toe boots), which can make walking and lifting legs over obstacles more difficult.
  • Extra slipping hazards associated with different times of the year (snow/ice in winter) & weather conditions (wet due to rainfall).

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Implement the MoveSafe warmup routine not only before activity but AFTERWARDS as well to help reduce the likelihood of strains, sprains, and MSI’s.
  • Be more mindful where stepping when walking through the woods by slowing down – slow & steady wins the race!
  • Avoid hazards and obstacles in the woods by never walking up & along blowdown, and always climb over obstacles by maintaining three points of contact – never jump off anything you can’t easily jump onto from a standing position.
  • Apply reimbursement program for athletic supports/braces & physiotherapy treatments at the earliest signs of discomfort.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Tyson von den Steinen, Canadian Forest Products Ltd (250) 962-3229

Tyson.vondenSteinen@canfor.com

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Canfor-Knee_Injuries_Oct_10-2017.pdf

Driving Hazard: The glare of the sun

Safety Alert Type: 
Weather
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-10-02
Company Name: 
Rayonier New Zealand
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Be prepared for Sunstrike!

Sun strike or sun dazzle (as it's known in New Zealand) is when the sun is low on the horizon and your sun visors are not low enought to prevent it from getting in your eyes. When it is on the horizon, blocking the sun can mean blocking the view of traffic ahead, which makes it dangerous. Shorter drivers are at more risk of experiencing sun strike because the sun visor is less effectively placed.

The most common sun strike-related crashes involve people pulling out from a side street or driveway into the path of another vehicle, or rear-ending a stationery or slow moving vehicle. Sun strike also increases risks for cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists, as they are more easily hidden in the glare due to their size.

If you are riding or walking, be careful at intersections on sunny days. Don’t assume a driver has seen you. Even if you are not affected by the sun's glare, someone else may be.

Here are some common times when sun strike occurs:

  • During Winter - the sun is closer to the horizon, and also the sun rises and sets during the time most people are going to work. If you commute east in the morning and west to go home, you will get sun strike twice per day.
  • Exiting a tunnel or built up area - if the tunnel is long enough, your eyes will adjust to the relative darkness, thus when exiting into bright light, you can’t see. Tall buildings can shade you from the sun and when you move to less urbanised streets, the sun can be a problem.
  • Reflections - as we know the sun can and does reflect off windows of buildings, other vehicles windshields, and when it’s wet, the road surface.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Reducing the danger of sun strike and avoid crashing:

  • Be prepared for possible sun strike when driving at sunrise or sunset, especially when turning or driving towards the sun.
  • Be especially careful during winter, when sun strike is more likely to occur because the sun is lower in the sky.
  • Keep your windscreen clean, inside and out. Dust and grime on the windscreen can make the effects of sun strike much worse. • Do not clean your windscreen (while driving) while you are experiencing sun strike.
  • Wear polarised sunglasses, as these are best at combating glare.
  • Use your car’s sun visors to block the sun.
  • Turn your headlights on so your vehicle is easier to see.
  • If you experience sun strike, and you are travelling long distances, try to time your journey and/or pull over and wait a while until your eyes adjust or visability improves (i.e., sun has dipped a bit lower down that sun strike is now no longer an issue).
  • Be extra careful if snow has fallen and the sky is clear - sunlight shining on snow can cause ‘snow blindness’, which produces similar effects to sun strike.

Every driving day is different, conditions change, so adapt your driving to suit.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

New Zealand Forest Owners Association's incident alerts web page:

http://nzfoa-iris.com/

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert-New_Zealand_Sun_Glare-Sept 28-2017.pdf
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