Snowmobiles in near miss with crew truck

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Location: 
Resource road southeast of Wells, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-12-29
Company Name: 
Westforest Consulting Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A Westforest Consulting forestry crew was proceeding south on the 3100 Road at approximately 9:00 a.m. when two snowmobiles entered onto the roadway via a steep, obscured ATV trail that approaches from the right side near 3110 km.

One sled proceeded ahead of the Westforest pickup and one followed behind. The pickup driver pulled over and motioned for the following sled to pass. Both sleds then proceeded up the 3100 Road ahead of the crew, at times travelling on a flattened grader-winged berm along the side of the road and at times travelling directly on the snow-packed roadway.

The Westforest driver & passenger had occasional sightings of the sleds travelling ahead of them as they continued to proceed south along the narrow, winding roadway. At approximately 14 km, the Westforest pickup began to overtake the rearmost sled which was travelling at a reduced speed in a narrow clearing to the right of the grader berm on the right side of the road.

The Westforest driver pulled to the far left side of the road and slowed to a speed that would be only fast enough to allow him to pass the sled, which appeared to be slowed by the deeper snow or obstacles in the clearing.

Just as the Westforest vehicle began to pass the sled, it veered out of the narrow clearing, up across the grader berm, then out onto the roadway. When the sled landed on the roadway, the sled operator was thrown off and both sled and operator came to a stop within 1-2m of the passenger’s door of the Westforest pickup, which by this time was travelling at a very slow rate of speed.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

The near miss incident was discussed with field staff at a safety meeting the following morning. Immediate & root causes were identified as follows:

Root Cause: The primary root cause lay in the prohibited travel of the snowmobiles along the active public roadway. For the purposes of our investigation, however, it was determined that the Westforest driver failed to adequately assess the risk/hazard that the snowmobile presence on the roadway represented. Although exercising significant caution, the driver could have been more cognizant of the possibility that the sled involved in the near miss could lose control or otherwise act erratically.

Immediate Cause: The Westforest driver should not have attempted to overtake the sled until he was certain that the sled operator was aware of his intention to pass.

Field crews were advised to exercise extreme caution between 8 and 16 km on the 3100 Road as, in spite of its current heavy industrial use, this stretch of road is not infrequently used as a travel corridor by snowmobilers on their way to a popular snowmobile recreation area that is accessed via a branch road that leaves the 3100 Road near 3115 km.

The Westforest Safety Coordinator forwarded a copy of the near miss investigation (CAL) to the following:

• Quesnel MFLNRO

• West Fraser Woodlands

• Wells RCMP detachment

• Wells Snowmobile Club

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Reg LeBlanc, Safety Coordinator - Westforest Consulting Ltd. (250) 747-3101

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Westforest_Consulting_2014-12-29.pdf

Serious Incident: Processor head feeds tree into cab, breaking trainee operator’s leg

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
Location: 
57 km’s north of Fort St. James
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-12-05
Company Name: 
Newland Enterprises Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A trainee was on his third day on the job, operating a tree processor. Somehow he accidentally bumped the ‘Auto Repeat’, which automatically feeds the tree through the head after a saw cut.

The processor head was turned towards the cab in an attempt to eject the tree into the brush pile, but instead it came directly at the cab, piercing a hole through the half-inch thick Lexan cab window (see photos in attached pdf).

The tree passed between the steel bars as well and continued forward, striking the operator’s leg and breaking it severely.

The trainee operator was able to call for help on the radio. He was tended to by co-workers before being transported to hospital in Fort St. James.

Immediate Cause(s):

• Failure to follow safe work practices or rules: The processor head should not be positioned in this manner.

• Improper use of equipment: The auto-repeat is only used in rare cases, not for daily production.

• Inadequate grip or hold: The operator’s right hand may have slipped, causing it to engage the auto-repeat button.

Description of Root Cause(s):

• Inadequate assessment of needs, risks and/or hazards: The trainee operator was unaware of the potential hazard of the processor head’s auto-repeat function.

• Inadequate training standards: More awareness and understanding of the auto-repeat feature is required as well as its location on the key pad.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• The auto-repeat function was disabled the following day

• The incident will be discussed at the next crew safety meeting

• Machine functions and safe operating procedures will be reviewed with workers

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Steve Willick, Newland Enterprises Ltd. (250) 996-8838

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Newland_Ent_2014-12-5.pdf

Grader slides, then rolls over while snow clearing on Forest Service Road

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Location: 
Holyk Forest Service Road (near Revelstoke)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-12-03
Company Name: 
Downie Timber Ltd. (Woodlands Division)
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

At roughly 5:00 a.m. a grader operator was relocating a grader (750A Champion model) to clean up excess snow from a branch road that could not be previously cleaned due to sloppy, wet, heavy snow conditions. Cooler temperatures and good ground freezing made conditions more suitable for road cleaning.

The machine was in good repair - last being inspected in the mechanics shop on Nov 5, 2014. A logging contractor’s loader was blocking access on the road so the contractor moved the machine so the grader operator could get by and proceed with clearing the road.

The grader operator was driving the machine with the wings up in first gear. While moving up the road past an existing slide path and into an area where the road pitch increases slightly, the grader “hopped” a bit and the machine’s engine stalled. Due to the machine configuration, when the engine stalled the operator lost braking function, hydraulics and power steering. The secondary steering mechanism is arm strong and very difficult to control.

When the grader stalled it began to roll backwards down the road. The operator fought to steer the machine towards a holding wall that was constructed in the fall (attempted to drop pans with the float button) but the machine picked up speed and he could not control the direction of movement.

The machine travelled backwards down the road grade for 44 metres. At this point it tipped over the road cut backwards and started to slide down the boundary of the cut block and the existing slide path. The machine caught on a hummock in the ground causing it to flip violently and roll. The front end of the grader caught on a mature cedar tree, coming to rest on its right side 31 metres down slope from the road (see photos in attached pdf).

The operator was shaken up but able to climb out through the broken front window of the machine and walk a short distance down the road to where the logging contractor was working. Luckily, the grader operator escaped this incident with a minor cut to the top of his head and some muscle stiffness.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Companies should be inspecting their machines to ensure that they have sufficient secondary braking and steering mechanisms and ensuring that equipment being used is engineered for the conditions in which they are working.

Although not a contributing factor, the company is also implementing a policy that heavily snowed-in work should be carried out during day light hours when visibility is good.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Downie Timber Ltd. Woodlands Division (250) 837-2222

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Downie_Timber_2014-12-3.pdf

Feller-Buncher operator accidently cuts into old cable; Piece is launched, embedding in Lexan window of cab

Safety Alert Type: 
Mechanical Tree Falling
Location: 
Near Buckley Bay, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-11-27
Company Name: 
Antler Creek Logging Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A Feller-Buncher operator was about to harvest a tree when the saw head on his machine came into contact with some old cable that was left on the ground from previous logging.

The saw head cut into the cable and launched a piece of it into the front Lexan window of the cab. The piece became embedded between the 1st and 2nd layers of the Lexan (see photos in attached pdf).

Learnings and Suggestions: 

This incident is a reminder of the importance of ensuring the Lexan window material used is rated to the machine.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Contact Bill Boyes, Operations Manager, Antler Creek Logging Ltd, at antlercreeklogging@shaw.ca 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Antler_Creek_Logging_2014-11-27.pdf

Series of near misses at log trailer reload

Safety Alert Type: 
Worksites
Location: 
near Vanderhoof, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-12-04
Company Name: 
Griffon Safety Solutions Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

In the last five months, Pitka Logging Ltd. has experienced three serious near-miss events at a trailer reloading station. In all cases, the driver was uninjured as they were following procedures while out of harm’s way.

Incident #1 - The cable broke on the reload hoist. Fortunately the trailer was only suspended a foot above the ground, and the driver was in a safe zone.

Incident #2 - A molly failed immediately after being connected to the cable hook. The faulty molly slipped through the cable hook, and the trailer never left the ground.

Incident #3 - The weld mounts failed on the guiding apron suspended on the reload station, causing the apron to fall. It landed on the reach of the truck in the immediate area that the driver would connect safety chains prior to moving the truck. Fortunately the driver was safely inside his truck when this occurred.

Cause: Lack of proper inspection / maintenance was the root cause for all three failures (see photos in attached pdf).

Learnings and Suggestions: 

All drivers need to understand how important it is to stay out of the bight at all times while using any apparatus - either on the block, in the mill yard or at the shop.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Valerie Dettwiler, Griffon Safety Solutions Ltd. (250) 567-7823 or email: griffonsafety@me.com 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Griffon_Safety_Solutions_2014-12-4.pdf

Serious Incident: Fill slope failure topples excavator on road building job

Safety Alert Type: 
Road Building/Deactivation
Location: 
near Terrace, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-05-24
Company Name: 
Brinkman Forest Ltd. / Coast Tsimshian Resources
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

It was mid-morning as a very experienced excavator operator was building a section of bush road through a steep side slope area of timber to be harvested. The weather at the time of the incident was clear and warm. However, this particular work site was in a high elevation area where the snow had recently receded. Adjacent creeks had significant water flowing from melting snow in the higher alpine areas.

The excavator was approximately 40 metres past a section of road where a wood box culvert had just been installed across a small but steep gullied creek. The machine was pioneering through hard pan clay and till, laying down puncheon, when the operator heard the “snap” of a tree. He instantly spun the machine around to see a patch of treed ground shooting down the gully between the box culvert and his machine.

With quick thinking, the operator was able to dig his bucket into the ground where the road surface once was. This action prevented the excavator from flipping over the embankment. The machine came to rest perched at about a 45 degree angle, just below the road surface location (see photos in attached pdf).

Immediate Cause: Spring road building in an area with a substantial amount of moisture, as evidenced from adjacent creeks with high runoff flows from alpine snow melt. Road building material, however, was a mixture of hard dry clay and rocky till and showed no evidence of saturation. The weight of adjacent right-of-way log decks could have been a contributing factor.

Root Cause: Upon closer investigation of the slide area it was discovered that there was an exposed plain of smooth rock at least 4 metres beneath the original road surface, pointing at a downward angle of approximately 45 degrees. A significant flow of sub-surface water was running over top of this rock, thereby creating a “slip face” failure plane between the rock and the road material above it.

It is worth noting at this point that the site was assessed for terrain stability issues using a reputable Professional Geoscientist. No significant areas of concern were noted. The completion of this project was ultimately abandoned based on the risk factors involved.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Recommended Preventative Actions: N/A

This event occurred despite reasonable due diligence measures put in place to prevent it from happening. One might conclude that timing of operations was a contributing cause. However, based on the root cause it is not known if this event would have been prevented, even if road construction activities had occurred during optimal summer months. A post-terrain assessment concluded that this could not have been foreseen.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Benjamin R. Korving, RPF Operations Forester, Brinkman Forest Ltd. / Coast Tsimshian Resources Terrace, BC (250) 922-4853 Ben_Korving@brinkman.ca 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Brinkman Forest-Coast Tsimshian_2014-5-24.pdf

Slip from skidder tire results in lost-time injury; reminder of importance of 3-point contact

Safety Alert Type: 
Workers
Location: 
Approximately 70 km’s from Mackenzie, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-09-22
Company Name: 
Val-J Holdings Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A skidder operator was about to climb off his machine, using a tire to dismount. His footing slipped so he jumped the remaining few feet to ground, rather than falling face forward. When he landed the worker heard his ankle ‘pop’ and felt immediate pain.

A supervisor assessed the ankle damage. The injured worker could not put pressure on or stand using that ankle.

This injury has resulted in a time-loss incident for the employer and long term healing for the worker.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • The procedure should have been to go down the blade for a proper 3 point dismount off the skidder.
  • Continually review safe work procedures (SWP’s) and emphasize the importance of not cutting corners on safety procedures.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Jim Dunkley, Val-J Holdings Ltd. (250) 983-3443

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Val-J_2014-9-22.pdf

October 2014 - Winch Safety

Safety Alert Type: 
Vehicles
Location: 
BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-09-24
Company Name: 
BCFSC
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

“That mud hole looks deeper than it was last Thursday; I think the weekend hunters may have chewed up the trail more than we thought.”

“Yes, and the storm last night didn’t help either. Maybe get out and have a closer look, Paul.

Sure…… Yes, it’s deep, but it has a solid bottom. High on the right hand side looks best, Jim.

“OK. Stand clear, partner.…… Rats. That’s not going to work. I’ll try it gently in reverse, and see if we can ease out of this one.”

“No, hold on there Jim. I think we’re going to spin ‘er down even worse if we push it. Let’s take advantage of our winch. Sure glad I brought my rubber boots.”


Learnings and Suggestions: 

If your work day takes you and your pickup or ATV on forestry back roads, chances are you have first-hand experience of how getting stuck can complicate an otherwise productive day. If you have a winch on your rig, you’ve got an ace in the hole. But using it properly can mean the difference between a minor delay and a damaged vehicle or a nasty injury. Here are a few suggestions for winching success.

Prevention

The best way to avoid winching injuries and damaged equipment is to not put yourself in a situation where you need to use one. Make conservative driving choices; don’t push yourself, or let others push you, into unnecessary risks or driving situations that have a low probability of success.

Evaluate each mud hole, cross-ditch and obstacle. If you’re unsure, hop out and look. How deep is it? Is it a gravel bottom or slippery mud? Is there a route around? If you do get stuck, are there solid anchors or trees to winch to? Maybe it’s better to find a place to park, and walk from there.

Preparation

You likely don’t use your winch frequently, but it’s reassuring to know it’s ready when you need it. Inspect the winch and equipment as part of your vehicle inspection. Confirm tow hook and mounting bolts are tight. Check winch operation (controls work, winch engages / disengages, etc.) and the cable is in good condition (free of kinks and frays).

Have capable equipment and the right accessories. Your winching gear should include: snug leather gloves with a sturdy palm, hook strap, snatch block, clevis (or D-shackle), tree protectors, extra chain, shovel, hand tools and an extra tow line. Have a heavy blanket to place over the cable to absorb energy in the event the cable fails. Carry booster cables. If you winch often, consider installing dual batteries.

Read the winch Owner’s Manual, and keep it with you.

Develop the skills before you need them. Learn winch components and how to operate them on dry land (before you’re stuck). Have someone explain the hazards you’ll need to evaluate and address as you develop your winching plan. Know the common configurations and procedures (see sections below).

Practice! Unused skills and knowledge fade quickly. Take an hour or two each field season to practice your skills. Include your co-workers, and you’ll likely learn a couple of handy tips from their experiences.

Using a Winch

The key to winching success is what you do before you press the “go” button – how you identify hazards, the plan you build to mitigate them, how you hook up equipment, how you instruct and utilize others. Build a plan using available knowledge; include your partner. Take time to think it all the way through.

Designate one person to operate controls. From a safe vantage point, have others watch for things the operator can’t see, and relay information to the operator.

Communicate. Usually, verbal communication works fine. If you use hand signals, make sure everyone agrees what each signal means.

Winches are strong enough to break or pull over poorly rooted trees. Select sturdy anchors - well rooted trees or large rocks. Tug-test them and keep an eye on them as you pull. Wear your PPE - gloves, eye and head protection.

Watch for jaggers. Probably the most common winching injury occurs when a sharp “jagger” protrudes from the cable and penetrates a finger or hand. Gloves are a must when handling cable, but some jaggers penetrate gloves. Pay attention when handling cable; don’t slide your hand along it.

Check and double-check. Once you’ve got things hooked up, gently and gradually take up the slack. Watch the progress to confirm the line runs smoothly through snatch blocks. Ensure each clevis is secure and aligned. Watch the cable for kinks or other damage. Are the anchors holding?

Periodically stop and check that the cable winds tightly and evenly onto the drum.

Stay out of the bight! Everyone should stand back far enough to avoid a snapped cable. Stand at 90 degrees to the direction of the primary pull.

Rather than trying to explain winching techniques, your best bet is to check out a few of the videos below and download the winching guide. And practice on dry land before you’re stuck in the mud.

“How does it look over on your side, Paul?”

Just hold up a minute, Jim. Yes, it’s coming fine. The anchor points are secure and the snatch blocks are lined up perfect. I’m clear. Go ahead a little more.”

“Excellent. I think we’ll be on our way in a few minutes.”

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Winch Training Session – Warn Industries winching session, practical tips and discussion.

Guide to Winching Techniques – Warn Industries provides this “how to” manual describing hazards, winching components and operation, equipment, and techniques for various situations.

How to Reverse Winch – but remember to use your gloves

Oregon ATV Safety Course – winching advice for ATVs

File attachments
aom_oct2014_WinchSafety.pdf

Stuck throttle on ATV creates a hazardous ride through Alder overgrown road

Safety Alert Type: 
Crew Transport (land, water, air)
Location: 
near Revelstoke, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-09-12
Company Name: 
Downie Timber Ltd. Woodlands Division
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

An employee was using an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) to return to the truck at the end of the day. The road being travelled down was heavily overgrown with alder and the ride was slow.

In one particularly thick area the quad had to work hard to push against the growth of the alder. At this point a piece of alder broke off and became lodged in the throttle mechanism. The machine began to pick up speed in the thick alder and the operator had a difficult time maintaining control of the machine as the throttle was stuck on.

Because the alder was thick it was difficult to gear down and in order to gain control of the machine the operator had to turn the key off to remove the power source to the ATV. Once the machine was stopped the operator was able to remove the piece of alder from the throttle and the machine was restarted and the throttle tested to make sure it would decelerate. The rest of the trip was event free.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• ATV safe work procedure was amended to include information on what to do if the throttle gets stuck – attempt to gear down and brake. If all else fails, turn off the ignition source.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Downie Timber Ltd. Woodlands Division Revelstoke, BC (250) 837-2222

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Downie_Timber_2014-9-12.pdf

Loose Gravel + Speed = Loss of Vehicle Control

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Location: 
Alex Fraser Research Forest, Williams Lake, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2014-09-17
Company Name: 
UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The first 6.5 km of the Gavin Lake Road is a public highway. It is very windy, generally well-maintained and surfaced with gravel.

Following a recent grading, the road surface had a higher than normal component of loose gravel. A forestry worker, fairly new to the job and to driving forest roads, was driving an SUV at the normal speed limit for the road but lost control on a bend. He tried to correct but the vehicle fish-tailed, skidded and rolled up-side-down on a 1-2 m embankment below the road.

Fortunately, the vehicle wedged against a tree and the cab containing the driver and a passenger was not crushed. The driver and passenger sustained strains.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• Loose gravel can cause a vehicle to behave like it is on ice. Drivers need to recognize that reduced speeds are necessary in such conditions to ensure sufficient traction and reaction time.

This fact will be added to our written Safe Work Procedures regarding driving on resource roads and be further emphasized during orientation and training. Ongoing feedback about safe practices, with an emphasis on safe driving, will continue to be provided to new workers by supervisors.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Cathy Koot, Research Coordinator UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest (250) 392-2207

File attachments
Safety_Alert_UBC-Alex_Fraser_Research_Forest_2014-9-17.pdf
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