Mechanical Harvesting

Location: 
Vancouver Island
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2008-01-01
Company Name: 
WorkSafeBC
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A hooktender died from his injuries following an accident involving the practice of blind casting. The grapple-yarder operator and the hooktender were cleaning up a road that had been previously logged. The yarder operator could not see the hooktender, as the yarder was located on a landing 100 metres (330 ft.) above the logged area. The crew was rigging with a grapple that the hooktender guided into place with his radio. After using a number of blind casts to retrieve logs the hooktender misjudged one of the casts.

As a result, the grapple struck the hooktender before he could clear the area. He later died from
multiple injuries.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Prohibit blind casting when hooktender is out of the yarding operator’s sight.

Provide written safe work procedures to all workers and review each job safety breakdown on a regular basis.

Use chokers to reach wood that is located away from the road line.

If necessary, walk the machine back into lead for yarding wood or clean-up.

File attachments
2008-01-01 Blind Casting Cause of Fatality.pdf

Manual harvesting/bucking

Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2008-05-15
Company Name: 
Western Forest Products
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A Faller was working in a heli block on an average side hill of 30% to 40% slope. There were lots of pre-identified hazards such as large slabbed cedar snags throughout the block. The
faller was attempting to fall a 22 inch diameter, 55 foot tall sound hemlock tree that was adjacent and within eight inches of a 3 foot diameter 71 foot tall cedar snag. The cedar snag
had a solid butt and ragged and broken spiked top.

The faller walked around the cedar & hemlock tree twice and had assessed the hemlock to be limb tied into the cedar snag. (It was later confirmed during the investigation that a large limb of the hemlock was growing around a crook in the cedar snag at approximately 37 feet from the ground). The faller made a decision to fall the hemlock first. He was positioned directly below the point where the trees were limb tied to fall the hemlock. As he finished his back-cut and was preparing to get into the clear, a chunk from the cedar snag about 34 inches long and weighing between 10 to 12 pounds fell, striking the faller on the head. The faller was looking up at the time, and was struck with a glancing blow off the top part of his
forehead.

Upset Conditions:

  1. Stand had a high concentration of large slabbed snag top cedars.
  2. Limb tied green tree in close proximity and coupled with a snag.
  3. Working directly below the point where the trees were limb tied.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  1. Ensure that areas with high potential falling hazards such as highly decadent stands, heavy concentration of snags, and large boulders are identified at the engineering phase and at the pre-work. (This was done for this area)
  2. Ensure that the bull bucker assesses the work area for hazards prior to commencement of falling. (This was done for this area)
  3. Assess limb tied trees for hazards such as broken tops, limbs, and loose debris in canopy, and fall both trees together if possible. If either tree can not be safely felled, seek qualified assistance.
  4. Get a second opinion / second set of eyes when you encounter a falling difficulty.
  5. When dealing with green trees that are limb tied and closely coupled with a snag, do not put yourself in the bite directly below limbs where you do not have a clear view and the potential exists for debris to fall directly where you are working at the base of the tree.
  6. If a safe option exists to fall both the green limb bound tree & the snag directly down hill, rather than into lay; choose the option of falling the timber downhill if that will overcome the hazard.
  7. If it is safe to do so, cut up the green limb bound tree and use an alternate tree a safe distance away to push the limb bound tree out of the snag.
  8. If no safe option exists for removing both the green limb bound tree & the snag, consider blasting the trees.

 

File attachments
2008-05-15 Manual harvesting-bucking.pdf

Manual harvesting/bucking

Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2008-01-01
Company Name: 
WorkSafeBC
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A dangle-head processor was cutting a log when the chain broke at the top of the saw bar. A tooth flew off the chain, and this “chain shot” penetrated the 5⁄16-inch-thick steel plate at the side of the cab. The operator in the cab was not injured.

The processor was fitted with a chain catcher and guard. In addition, the operator had angled the saw bar away from the cab — a safe work practice the company was using as a result of a WorkSafeBC hazard alert in 2004. However, the window of the cab was only half-inch polycarbonate. If the bar had been directly in line with the cab, the chain shot could have gone through the window and hit the operator.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Never operate a log processor with the saw bar directly in line with the cab window. Position the saw bar at an angle to the window.
  • Consider installing a chain catcher and chain shot guard to minimize the risk of chain shot hitting a worker. (However, a chain catcher and chain shot guard will not completely eliminate the hazard, especially if the chain breaks at the top of the bar.)
  • Consider upgrading the cab’s front window from 1⁄2-inch polycarbonate (which will not stop all chain shot) to 11⁄4-inch laminated polycarbonate or its equivalent.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for chain speed, chain tension, and for maintenance of the chain, bar, and sprocket.
  • Do not repair chains with used parts.
  • Keep ground workers at least 70 metres (230 feet) away from a working processor.

 

File attachments
2008-01-01 Broken Chain Penetrates Steel Plate.pdf

Manual harvesting/bucking

Location: 
Avalon Dryland Sort
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2008-01-17
Company Name: 
C.N. Danroth Contracting Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 
  • Bucker had been using a spare saw because his regular saw was broken down.
  • The spare saw he was using was not in proper working order but the bucker did not want to switch it out for another spare because it was more powerful than the other saws he would have to choose from.
  • The bucker was standing by the bucking cart and attempting to shut his saw off; the kill switch wouldn’t go up properly and the only way he could shut it off was pushing the choke down.
  • Another bucker came around his back side to put his saw on the side of the cart; he bumped the first bucker causing him to drop his saw.
  • The saw was in full throttle position as it dropped to the ground it landed upside down on the second bucker’s foot and the chain brake went on.
  • No injury occurred.
  • The first bucker picked up the saw and shut it off and then took it to the saw shop and tagged it out.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Buckers must ensure they only operate saws that are in proper working order.
  • Buckers must ensure that their chains are not running when they are in a close proximity to other workers.
  • Tailgate the appropriate crews to alert them of the dangerous situation they could be putting themselves and others in by operating equipment that is not in proper working order.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 
File attachments
2008-01-17 Close Call With Bucking Saw.pdf

Manual harvesting/bucking

Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2008-04-15
Company Name: 
Interfor
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Earlier this year, as has happened before, a Faller was fatally injured by ‘blowdown’ timber attached to a root wad. In the bucking process, the root wad was jarred loose from the adjacent sloping rock face on which it was poorly secured.

In this situation, a thorough risk assessment was not done on the potential for the root wad to detach from the ground or a rock face, nor was there an adequate ‘escape route’ for the faller in the event that the root wad end did indeed break loose and pivot.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

The first step is to Recognize the Risk of instability of any timber attached to rock or other structures by Root Wads that can be easily disturbed by activity in the area.

Secondly, if an effective ‘Escape Route’ is not available, options other than falling or bucking the timber must be utilized. Other options include removing the ‘blowdown’ by 1) blasting or 2) use of a heli-grapple, or simply avoiding the hazard by 3) leaving the standing timber or ‘blowdown’.

File attachments
2008-04-15 Fatality Due to Root Wad.pdf

Manual harvesting/bucking

Location: 
Campbell River
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2008-04-14
Company Name: 
Alternative Forest Operations
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Weather was clear and mild and the 4 man crew was working well together for 6 hours. The crew was climbing trees located on the outer fringes of a harvest block using standard gear. The crew was topping and spiral pruning trees, known as ‘wind-firming’. The terrain was gentle sloping (<10%), the stand consisted of 70 year old second growth fir, hemlock and cedar.

One of the climbers fell 51 feet to the forest floor. He had just completed topping a hemlock, hooked the grapple solidly and rappelled over to this new tree. He set his spurs in the bole of the tree, threw his climbing strap around the stem of the new tree.

The climbing strap is attached to the left side of the climber’s belt on a “D” ring and the free end of the climbing strap has a certified carabineer on the end. Once the strap is thrown around the tree the carabineer on the free end of the climbing strap is to be clipped into the “D” ring on the right side of the climber’s belt. Once the carabineer is clipped in the climber is to visual check to ensure the carabineer is, in fact, clipped into the “D” ring correctly. During this time the climber is still attached to the rappelling line. In this instance the climber had a hook attached to his climbing belt just behind the location of the “D” ring on his right side. (Photo 1) He inadvertently hooked into the power saw hook NOT the “D” ring. (Photo 2) The climber looked down for his visual check (photo 3&4) and thought that he saw the carabeener locked into the “D” ring. It is important to note the climber would have done this process as many as several hundred times that day. He checked his spur placement and put his full weight onto his strap and spurs, and released his claw line and rappelling line. As he pulled the rappelling line to recover it he rotated his hips and body to the left. This action changed the angle of the power saw hook, the climbing strap slipped off the end of the saw hook.

He fell 51 feet to the ground and landed on his right side. Miraculously, he walked out of the hospital 3 hours later with only bruising.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Review safe work procedures and rewrite for clarity. Retrain crew in the fulfillment of the intention of the safe work procedures. Review the incident report with the climbing crew and check gear conflicts. Remove or modify gear with any similar conflict. Review visual check procedure, rewrite and implement so it never happens again. Rewrite weekly and monthly safety audits to observed work practices capture this and similar critical actions. Write a clear policy statement regarding gear modification.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Jason Kemmler, Operations Manager, 250-701-1911

File attachments
2008-04-14 Climber fall to forest floor.pdf

Manual harvesting/bucking

Location: 
Queen Charlotte Islands
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2007-12-04
Company Name: 
Edwards & Associates Logging Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A faller falling right of way stopped to have lunch. There was snow on the ground and it was cold. The faller started a small fire to warm his hands using a single portion yogurt container ¼ full of gas. The faller reported extinguishing the fire after lunch and returning to work. The faller worked for about 1 hour, enough time to use a full tank of gas and returned to the lunch break area to refuel his saw. While refueling the saw, the faller spilled fuel on his safety pants and crossed the area of the previous lunch fire to get a rag from his backpack. Once the faller crossed this area, he saw an orange flash and saw his power saw and safety pants on fire. The faller threw his saw, and tried to extinguish the fire, but not before receiving second and third degree burns to the thigh and groin area. The faller was treated at the scene by a Level 3 First Aid Attendant and then evacuated by helicopter to the nearest hospital and later transported to the Burn Unit in Vancouver.

The investigation team members were not able to conclusively determine the source of ignition. There was no evidence found by team members to suggest a fire may have been smoldering, as there was no burnt or singed debris on the ground or area.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

As a corrective action, we have added to our falling JSB that there must be a 5 meter no refueling zone around lunch fires or any ignition source. All fires must also be visually and hand inspected to ensure they are completely extinguished.

The faller is still off work due to his injuries.

File attachments
2007-12-04 Faller Recieves Burn to Legs.pdf

Manual harvesting/bucking

Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2007-12-27
Company Name: 
Long Shot Holdings Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Due to road builders falling the right of way into the standing timber, an entangled mess of trees was left standing at the north end of the block. A faller was sent in to clear out the mess. The faller attempted to straighten the mess and in doing so a tree slid down another; which had been left fallen down through the standing timber. This caused the ground that the faller was working around to become unstable.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

A loader could not knock the trees down because of the steepness of the right of way. It was decided to drag the trees over with the lines of the grapple yarder. It was noted that this was a high hazard incident and the outcome could have been worse than it was. All employees were reminded that everyone has the right to refuse unsafe work.

INVESTIGATION: It was shown that the road builders had fallen the right of way trees into the standing timber. This made it hard for a loader to knock them down as the slope was to steep on the right of way. The faller attempted to fall the trees and after the way the first tree came down the faller refused to attempt the others. The faller did the right thing.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Laura Olynyk

Long Shot Holdings

File attachments
2007-12-27 Faller close call.pdf

Manual harvesting/bucking

Location: 
Clearwater
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2007-12-14
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Hand faller fell small Pine tree which landed on some debris on ground kicking up small piece of slash that came back and hit him in the knee causing a loud snapping noise. He had previously bucked some slash in the path of the tree prior to falling it. The faller continued to work as no pain was experienced but began to notice incomplete functioning of his knee. He still finished his day (he only had a few trees left) then went to hospital. Doctor diagnosed him with a 3rd degree tear of NCL tendon on his right knee. He will be off work or on light duty for approximately 6 weeks.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Review with hand fallers the concept of taking a few steps further away from falling trees when working in areas of heavy slash loading. Also to continue and possibly enhance practice of bucking slash in path of falling trees even though in this case the chunk which hit him may have already been bucked.

File attachments
2007-12-14 Faller Tears NCL Tendon.pdf

Crew Transport

Location: 
Km 22.5 Eakin Creek FSR (coming from Highway 24) Little Fort, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2008-06-13
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The following incident occurred on a tree-planting project. The description is based on the interviews with all five occupants of the vehicle, conducted on June 13, 2008 between 2:20 pm and 6:30 pm.

On the morning of June 13 there were five people traveling to work in a 2008 Dodge, 1-ton crew cab with a tree canopy. The crew boss was driving. All 5 occupants of the vehicle were wearing their seatbelts. The truck box and tree canopy contained only a few partial boxes of trees (approximately 300 total), fire equipment (2 packs, 3 shovels, 2 Pulaski, a spill kit, planter’s bags and personal gear.

The crew had been travelling on the same route to access their planting blocks for the previous 3 days. The truck left the pavement and turned down Eakin Creek FSR in two-wheel drive. The driver called “Down Eakin at 24 km” and then proceeded down Eakin. It was raining considerably at the time (high setting on windshield wipers). Occupants report that the vehicle was travelling between 30 and 50 km/hr and there was normal everyday conversation while listening to satellite radio. As the crew cab approached the first bend in the road the truck slid out and the driver felt a loss of control of the vehicle as it slid to the right side of the road. The driver reports that he began tapping the brakes to try to regain control and then feeling the truck continuing to slide toward the ditch. The truck nearly came to a stop and then rolled over an embankment (approximately 3-4 metres) towards Eakin Creek, landing upside down. The air bags were not employed. All occupants were able to unbuckle their seatbelts and exit the vehicle safely. The driver checked the vehicle for possible fuel leaks and found none. The workers were found by a passing road crew and transported to a nearby fishing resort. From there, the driver called the owner of the company, via satellite phone to report the incident at approximately 8:00 am.

No serious injuries were sustained and all 5 workers returned to work the following day.

Statement of Causes:

  • The road is narrow on this bend with no ditch and a narrow shoulder that drops off towards the creek. In order to anticipate oncoming traffic the tendency is to stay slightly wide to the right. The road has a slight lean towards the creek at this point (to the right).
  • Due to the rain, the non-compacted edge of the road was more slippery than usual.
  • A swab substance test was conducted with the driver. The results were negative.
  • Driver and crew ruled out fatigue as a factor.
  • Based on interviews there were no distractions to the driver at the time.
  • Interviews with the vehicle occupants state that the vehicle was travelling at a safe speed prior to the incident (50km/hr maximum). The driver is in his second season as management on the project and has up-to-date driver training and familiarity with the roads in the area. A review of written Mid-Season Planter Reviews shows positive feedback on the driver’s safe driving habits.

Root Cause:

  • Slippery conditions / Upset or changed conditions
  • Not using 4-wheel drive as a preventative tool.
  • One can always drive slower when conditions change.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

The Company held a Safety Meeting, with the camp involved on Saturday, June 14th at 7:00 am. The following topics were discussed with the camp:

  • “Seat belts minimized the injuries to the workers and possibly saved their lives.”
  • A reminder to remain diligent about seat belt use in all company vehicles at all times.
  • “Safe Start” review (Mental safety tool to check your state of mind while at work)
  • R.A.D.A.R. review (Mental safety tool to recognize and adapt safely to changing conditions)
  • All company drivers reminded to adjust speed according to conditions—I.E. rain, wet roads.
  • All company drivers reminded to use 4-wheel drive when experiencing wet road conditions
  • Safety Alert was sent to all Company Management and Safety Officers and to The BC Forest Safety Council.

 

File attachments
2008-06-13 truck slids off road.pdf
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