The dangers of working in burned forest areas

Safety Alert Type: 
Planning and Engineering
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-09-21
Company Name: 
Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

(This is an Addition/Amendment to the BC Timber Sales Sept 17, 2010 Safety Alert)

The 2017 wildfire season was very active with intense fire behavior in all types of stands and regions. There are numerous hazards field workers need to be made aware of prior to entering these stands.

Hazards:

1) Weak trees with burned out roots susceptible to falling over with little or no wind.

2) Unstable materials on slopes with the potential to roll downhill.

3) Slippery fire retardant.

4) Overhead hazards from weak branches.

5) Burn pits. These may be in open view or hidden under a thin crust of ash/duff/soil.

6) Spooked wildlife.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Always use RADAR when working in the field.
  • Have a tailgate meeting prior to each field day to discuss these and other hazards. Make notes of hazards during the day and pass them on to fellow workers/stake holders in the area.
  • Avoid entering burn areas during windy conditions. Leave the bush immediately if windy conditions occur.
  • Plan/Map out your safe areas.
  • Always have the required PPE and see that it is in good working condition, this should include reliable two-way communication.
  • Consider more frequent check-ins while working in these areas.
  • Staff should work in pairs when entering these high hazard areas.
  • Areas requiring extensive work or activity in the burn area, should be assessed for danger trees by a certified person and suitable no work zone established.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information on this submitted alert: Doug Campbell, Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd. 250-768-5131

DougCampbell@gormanbros.com

 

File attachments
Hazard_Alert-Gorman_Bros-Working_In_Burned_Forest_Areas-Sept_21-2017.pdf

HAZARD: Carbon Monoxide fumes entering vehicle cabs

Safety Alert Type: 
Vehicles
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-09-01
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

There have been several incidents reported recently where truck drivers have become overwhelmed by exhaust fumes within the cab of their truck.

The carbon monoxide fumes enter the cab of the truck through a leak or cracked flex pipe. The drivers have all complained of feeling dizzy or light headed and nauseous after inhaling the fumes even for just a short period.

Potential Hazards: Exposure to carbon monoxide gas will impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a truck, as the signs & symptoms include:

  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness or Confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blurred vision, and eventually
  • Loss of consciousness.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Thorough pre-trip inspection to be conducted by the driver, specifically checking the condition of the flex pipe. A break or leak in the pipe can be identified by black marks appearing on the pipe from the escaping exhaust.
  • Regular periodic inspections completed by a certified shop mechanic.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors installed inside the cab of trucks as an early warning system before drivers begin to experience the associated negative effects. https://sensorcon.com/

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

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

Tyson.vondenSteinen@canfor.com

 

File attachments
Hazard_Alert_Canfor_CO_Leak_Sept_1-2017.pdf

Gaps in emergency response procedures identified after worker injured, evacuated by air

Safety Alert Type: 
Booming and Towing
Location: 
BC's northern interior
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-08-04
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A contractor seriously injured their knee after slipping on bark as they stepped off a log in a dead pine stand with 25% blowdown, and could not walk out on their own as result of the injury.

Another worker attempted to call for help on their satellite phone but was unsuccessful because of a low battery and limited reception; they were eventually able to reach someone on the road channel using their handheld radio.

The local Search & Rescue and a contractor working nearby were called to help extract the worker to the nearest helicopter access point, which was 550 metres away. After seven hours, the worker was eventually flown to hospital where it was determined they suffered ligament damage to their knee.

Potential Hazards

  • Fatigue after working a long camp shift (seven days straight) in hot weather.
  • Rushing and not taking the time necessary to safely navigate through an area of the block with high percent of blowdown; stepping off a log onto another with loose bark.
  • Delayed evacuation as satellite phone was not fully charged and poor reception, forced to use handheld radio & relay messages to random road users.
  • Carried injured worker on stretcher through 550m of thick bush & difficult terrain. Help is never close enough!

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Reviewed the importance of assessing hazards and taking the time necessary to mitigate the associated risks
  • Reiterated the importance of never walking along or jumping off blowdown, and to avoid stepping on it as much as possible
  • Programmed all handheld radios with RR & repeater channels
  • Satellite phones will be carried in protective case to ensure batteries aren’t drained when they are accidentally switched on
  • Map showing the planned route & radio channel used for the day will be required to be left at the truck going forward
  • A formal review of evacuation procedures will be completed.

 

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-ERP_Gaps-Aug_4-2017.pdf

Radio channels: Is yours the right one?

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Location: 
near Houston, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2016-09-08
Company Name: 
Tom Neufeld Trucking Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

An employee of Tom Neufeld Trucking Ltd. was driving home after work; he switched to channel 18 on the radio.

The employee drove for approximately 10-15 minutes and met a few vehicles he thought were failing to call their kilometres. At that time he noticed that he was on the wrong bank of channels; he should have been on channel RR18 instead of channel 18.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

When changing channels always ensure you are on the correct bank.

For additional information about radio channels for resource roads, view the BC Forest Safety Council’s Resource Road Radio Channels Bulletin: http://www.bcforestsafe.org/node/2878


For more information on resource road radio channel use contact: Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development District Engineer within your area via Service BC 1-800-663-7867 or the BC Forest Safety Council’s Transportation Safety Program 1-877-741-1060.

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Tom_Neufeld_Trucking-radio_channels-Sept_8-2016.pdf

Excavator bucket falls off during loading of pick-up truck

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
Location: 
Campbell River, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-08-21
Company Name: 
BC Timber Sales
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A bucket fell off the boom of an excavator while loading chains into the back of a pick-up truck.

After unloading bridges the excavator operator attached a bucket with a quick change hitch to the boom and proceeded to lift the chains into the truck. While uncurling the bucket over the truck it fell off the boom damaging the tailgate and jockey box of the pickup truck.

All workers were in the clear a safe distance from the excavator. No injuries occurred.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • When working around mobile equipment maintain a safe distance from the activity. Confirm with the equipment operator where the designated safe area is located prior to commencing the activity.
  • Excavator operators need to ensure buckets are secure by following appropriate safe work procedures. As a recommended best practice ask the operator to ensure that the bucket is fully secure before use around workers, vehicles, and other equipment.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Mike Gelz RFT, BC Timber Sales (250) 286-9353

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Excavator Bucket Damages Vehicle-BCTS-August_21-2017.pdf

Log hauling can present many hazards - including debris in loads

Safety Alert Type: 
Log Hauling
Location: 
British Columbia; New Zealand
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-09-06
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council; New Zealand Forest Owners Association
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

There have been reported incidents involving rocks or other debris in loads of logs and wedged between tires. Rocks have fallen out of a load of logs, have been ejected from between the truck or trailer tires, or “kicked-up” by a passing truck.

Most recently, a rock the size of a tennis ball hit the roof of a truck, causing significant damage and narrowly avoiding impacting the windshield - which could have been catastrophic.

This hazard was the subject of the March 2013 Alert of The Month "Preventing Debris in Loads of Logs". Here is the link: http://www.bcforestsafe.org/aom_mar2013_debris


Also, From New Zealand - a series of alerts related to log loading and hauling:

 

Ride out the rollover

Safety Alert Type: 
Road Building/Deactivation
Location: 
near Mackenzie, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-07-20
Company Name: 
KDL Group
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A grader operator was travelling to a new pit. He cleared the belly dump and went to continue, but the grader was in too high of a gear and so it stalled and started rolling backwards immediately.

The operator stepped on the brake, but no response. He tried to steer into the bank but it would not turn. He looked behind, undid his seatbelt and stood up to look at the side of the road and embankment.

As the back wheels were getting close to the edge, he decided to jump clear of the machine instead of staying in the cab.

The operator was not hit by the machine but sustained serious injuries from landing on the road. The injuries could have been avoided through proper training and following Standard Operating Procedures.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Prior to operating equipment -

  • Inspect the guarding and Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) for structural soundness
  • Ensure the escape hatch is in good working condition
  • Stow any loose items in the cab

During operation –

  • Gear down as speed decreases when travelling uphill
  • Know how to apply the brakes in a stall situation
  • Keep seatbelt on
  • Keep the cab door closed
  • Always ride out any rollover

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Mark Pride, KDL Group (250) 997-3333

File attachments
Safety_Alert-KDL Group-Rollovers-July_20-2017.pdf

WorkSafeBC Bulletin: FAQ's about wildfire smoke

Safety Alert Type: 
Weather
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-07-31
Company Name: 
WorkSafeBC
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

This publication from WorkSafeBC provides responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs) from employers during the wildfire season.

The information is intended to help employers understand the hazards associated with exposure to wildfire smoke, and to outline some measures you can implement to minimize worker exposures.

This general information is not intended to address the specific hazards and exposures faced by wildfire fighters. It is intended for other workplace environments where workers may be exposed to wildfire smoke.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

See the attached document for full details or read it online: http://www.worksafebcmedia.com/enews/ppd/170728/170728.html

File attachments
WorkSafeBC_Bulletin-wildfire-smoke-faq-July_2017.pdf

Roll over incident shows how quickly things can go wrong

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Location: 
Northern Interior
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-06-26
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A loaded gravel truck met an empty pickup on a logging road in dusty conditions with poor visibility. The gravel truck had just passed a grader, and was travelling in the middle of the road to avoid the windrow that the grader had just created.

The pickup truck swerved to avoid a collision and ended up rolling over into the ditch. The pickup sustained major damage and the driver of the pickup ended up breaking his thumb, while the passenger suffered a sore back.

Neither vehicle involved in the incident heard the other call their location in an area known to have very poor radio transmission.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Potential Hazards

  • Poor visibility due to dusty dry conditions.
  • Poor radio transmission (i.e., “blind spot”). It is suspected that Resource Road channels have caused transmission to become even less clear in this area.
  • A windrow of gravel in the center of the road.
  • No signage warning traffic the presence of heavy machinery operating nearby.
  • Complacency during shift change as drivers do not expect other traffic during the end of the day when road is not as busy with active hauling.

Preventative Actions

  • Vehicles must follow the “Rules of the Road” and clear traffic as required to allow unimpeded travel. In certain conditions such as poor visibility, narrow roads, dusty conditions this may require stopping in a pullout and waiting.
  • Vehicles must call all required KMs as per the radio calling procedures, including all “MUST CALL” signs in areas that have limited transmission.
  • Always post required signage if temporarily blocking or working on the road (e.g., “Grader Working”).
  • Only pass a grader or slower vehicles when there is a clear line of sight and it’s safe to do so.

 

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-RolloverOnResourceRoad_June_21-2017.pdf

Downed Power Lines: BC Hydro urges public safety, avoidance

Safety Alert Type: 
Hazardous Materials
Location: 
Anywhere energized power lines may be downed, in contact with objects / ground
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-07-13
Company Name: 
BC Hydro
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

In the past few months BC Hydro workers have come across several situations where caution tape had been applied either directly to downed power lines or to poles or trees that were in contact with power lines.

They also discovered numerous instances where members of the public, in an effort to clear debris from a road, had cut trees that were in contact with power lines. In at least one of those instances the person suffered an electrical contact and was rushed to hospital.

It is important to remember that power lines often remain energized while on or near the ground and that anything touching a power line can provide a path for electricity. First responders and members of the public should maintain a distance of 10 metres from any downed line and anything that is in contact with a power line.

Forestry and Tree Trimming Incidents – April to May 2017

  1. A logging truck snagged a telephone line that was crossing the street and broke the pole. The BC Hydro 25kV line dropped from the top of the pole onto the truck. The line remained energized as the load and tires on the truck caught fire (see photo in attached pdf). Passers-by attempted to extinguish the fire using portable extinguishers, unaware that the 25kV line was energized on top of the truck.
  2. A work crew was using an excavator to remove a large tree near a power line when they lost control of the tree causing it to fall through the line. The work crew continued to clean up the tree before BC Hydro crews arrived on scene.
  3. A member of the public felled a tree onto a 25kV line and then tried to cut the tree. He received an electrical contact and was transported to medical aid.
  4. A self-loading logging truck was cleaning up a load of logs from the side of the road when the picker contacted the telephone line. The movement shook the BC Hydro 25kV line off of the cross-arm and the line sagged and touched a tree.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

 

 Key Messages from BC Hydro

  • Never approach a power line. Always assume that it is energized. Never touch anything that is in contact with a power line and always assume that it is energized too.
  • Look up and identify overhead hazards. Know your distances and plan your work to allow for inadvertent movement.
  • Follow safe excavation practices. “Call before you dig” by contacting BC One Call at 1-800-474-6886.

Looking for Training? BC Hydro provides electrical safety awareness training for trades workers, first responders, and members of the public who may have interaction with their facilities. The training is provided free of charge, and it is available both online and in person. Visit www.bchydro.com/safetytraining

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Marc Spencer, Public Safety, BC Hydro marc.spencer@bchydro.com

 

File attachments
Hazard_Alert-BC_Hydro-Downed_Power_Lines-July_13-2017.pdf
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