Air Evacuation in Forestry Operations: A WorkSafe bulletin

Safety Alert Type: 
Worksites
Location: 
Remote forestry worksites throughout BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-02-01
Company Name: 
WorkSafeBC
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The attached 4-page document from WorkSafeBC describes some important planning considerations for emergency response at remote forestry worksites.

If air transportation (helicopter) is the primary or only way of transporting an injured worker from your worksite, or it may be required for another type of emergency rescue, the following best practices will help get your workers to safety as quickly as possible.

Consider incorporating these practices into your formal emergency response plan (ERP), and train your crew accordingly. Every worksite is different, so remember to revisit these questions before starting new work and as conditions change.

Print copies of the attached bulletin and discuss with your employees if applicable.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

The attached bulletin contains the following sections:

  • Review with the helicopter company (Pg. 1)
  • On-site procedures and training your crew (Pg. 2)
  • Helicopter hand signals (Pg. 3)
  • Regulatory information (Pg. 3)
  • Background (Pg. 3)
  • Key Regulation requirements for helicopter rescue (Pg. 4)
  • Other resources (Pg. 4)

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information on how to improve your ERP, click the links to obtain the following resources from WorkSafeBC's web site:

Every Minute Counts: Emergency Response Planning in Forestry: www.worksafebc.com/en/resources/health-safety/videos/every-minute-counts-emergency-response-planning-in-forestry?lang=en

Every Minute Counts: Emergency Response Planning in Forestry (Video Discussion Guide): www.worksafebc.com/en/resources/health-safety/books-guides/every-minute-counts-emergency-response-planning-in-forestry-video-discussion-guide?lang=en

Emergency Response Planning: 12 Tips for an Effective Emergency Response Plan: www.worksafebc.com/en/resources/health-safety/books-guides/emergency-response-planning-12-tips?lang=en

File attachments
Safety_Alert-WSBC-Air_Evacuation_in_Forestry_Ops-Jan_28-2017.pdf

Backcountry workers should be aware: Unusual snowpack conditions create potential for risk of avalanches

Safety Alert Type: 
Workers
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-01-28
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council / WorkSafeBC
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Workers whose jobs take them into British Columbia’s backcountry are at potential risk of serious injury or death in avalanche terrain. In January, the snowpack in several regions of B.C. showed indications of risk of avalanche. WorkSafeBC is reminding employers of the need to identify, assess, and mitigate avalanche risks.

Since 1998 in B.C., avalanches have caused three worker deaths and 50 accepted time-loss injury claims, including three injury claims in the first nine months of 2016. While the majority of workers injured were in occupations within the ski hill and winter lodge industries, a land surveyor and a truck driver were also injured.


A recent example of the danger of being trapped by avalanche: In the BC Interior, four workers traveling on a Forest Service Road in two vehicles were trapped behind two large snow avalanches approximately 7km apart that occurred on the road behind them after they accessed their logging site. Each snow avalanche was approximately 3m - 5m deep covering 50m - 70m of road.

Helicopter evacuation of the workers was hampered by freezing rain but after a reassessment of the avalanche conditions by a qualified person at the two sites, heavy equipment was able to clear the slide debris allowing the workers to evacuate the area.


Workers in B.C.’s primary resource, construction and adventure tourism industries may be working in avalanche terrain and therefore could face risks of avalanches at their worksites. Examples of worksites which may have avalanche risk to workers include forest service roads, highways, and backcountry areas.

Avalanche risk can be present all year in some areas and snow stability can change daily, hourly or even sooner depending on sufficient snow depth, steep-enough terrain and the right weather conditions.

“We want to prevent employers and workers from being caught by surprise by the risk of an avalanche as a result of the rapidly changing weather and snowpack conditions,” says Patrick Davie, manager of Prevention Field Services for Kamloops region. “Employers in these situations are required under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation to ensure a well-rehearsed safety plan is in place and well-understood by all workers. If the conditions warrant it, the best plan may be to avoid areas of high risk entirely until the end of the avalanche season.”

WorkSafeBC’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 4.1.1 requires all employers whose workers travel through, work around or within a potential avalanche hazard area to have a qualified person conduct a risk assessment and if there is risk of an avalanche, develop and implement appropriate avalanche safety plans and /or a program.

Employers can work with their local WorkSafeBC prevention officer to determine the appropriate compliance measures. To learn more about avalanche safety for workers and employers click here.  

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Visit the Canadian Avalanche Association website for more information including avalanche safety plan resources.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Erica Simpson Media Relations, WorkSafeBC Tel: 604.214.6934 Cell: 778.874.0281

Email:erica.simpson@worksafebc.com 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Snowpack_Increases_Avalanche_Risk_Jan_28_2017.pdf

Charging batteries can be explosive

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
Location: 
Monashee Area, east of Lumby, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-02-02
Company Name: 
Kineshanko Logging Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

It was a very cold morning (-28 at the machine) and the D7H would not start on its own, as it had been sitting for a while. A 324 DLL loader was also on site, being moved to a new block and was sitting on a lowbed.

Worker hooked up the jumper cables from the batteries on the loader to the batteries on the D7H. He normally would hook from starter to starter, but with the loader being on the lowbed, the cables were not long enough to do so.

After leaving the cables hooked up for approximately 10-15 minutes to charge, worker climbed back up on the D7H and looked into the battery box. As he did this, he could hear the battery closest to him making a high pitched sound and then it exploded.

There was debris blown everywhere along with battery acid on the side of the worker’s face/neck area, arm and clothing. A nearby co-worker also noticed his clothing was sprayed with battery acid.

Thankfully no serious injuries occurred during this incident, although a slight burn was taken to the neck. Fatigue and sore muscles were experienced that evening, possibly caused from the force of the explosion.

The company had previously installed a thick piece of rubber that covered over the battery box which most likely prevented serious injuries, as this contained and deflected a lot of the debris of the explosion.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • When charging a battery that fast you are essentially producing a hydrogen bomb. The jumper cables must have become hot and created a spark or created a significant enough heat source causing the ignition. This was not normal company procedure for jump starting equipment, but the upset conditions posed the feeling of having to rush. Employee had loaderman and trucks waiting to get loads to town.
  • Company has longer jumper cables but they were not at that particular site. Longer cables would have allowed proper procedure to take place.
  • Time should have been taken to ensure the appropriate tools were used despite the fact that employees were waiting. Lives are worth more than logs to the mill.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Jeff Kineshanko 4shanks@telus.net 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Kineshanko_Logging_Ltd_2017-02-02.pdf

New Zealand Close Call: Tethered felling machine roll over

Safety Alert Type: 
Mechanical Tree Falling
Location: 
New Zealand
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2016-06-15
Company Name: 
Forest Owners Association of New Zealand
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A felling machine was traveling back up the same path he came down on, towards the tethering machine, bunching trees as he went.

At the time of the incident he was parked on, or near, a rocky outcrop and was moving wind thrown trees out of the way. As he slewed the felling head around the left side track lost traction, which caused the right track to lift off the ground. This in turn caused the felling machine to start tipping over.

The operator hit the control to get the tethering machine to increase the tethering rope tension, which momentarily held the felling machine but because it was at such a high angle it continued to tip, then rolled onto its roof, where it came to a stop. The operator exited the machine, uninjured, through the main door.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • The machine was positioned incorrectly over a small rocky outcrop – it should have been above or below the small rocky outcrop to get stable footing. This was due to the operator being too complacent, as he had been working on relatively gentle slopes for most of this setting.
  • Need to be aware of machine position when on upset terrain and/or slewing to the side with any weight in the head.
  • Travelling down slope – head in front on downhill side.
  • When shovelling from above and throwing down hill, make 100% sure machine has stable footing.
  • Uphill felling – felling head downhill when adjusting line and manoeuvring or moving across slope and tracks pointed directly uphill. The key to uphill felling is having the tracks stable.
  • Always work as if the rope will suddenly break – ask what will happen "how do I stay safe" .
  • Because the operator was following procedure with keeping his cab tidy, he did not have any issues with loose objects striking him when his machine rolled over.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 
File attachments
Safety_Alert-New_Zealand_Rollover-June 15-2016.pdf

ATV winch cable snaps, improper spooling blamed

Safety Alert Type: 
Vehicles
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2016-04-11
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

An employee ended up getting stuck and required the winch to pull themselves out while operating an ATV on a reclaimed road in spring conditions. During the extraction, the winch cable snapped. Luckily no injuries resulted.

The cable snapped at a pinch point caused by a previous user re-spooling the cable incorrectly.

Potential Hazards

  • Compromised integrity of cable strength properties, which could result in the cable breaking, snapping back and striking the ATV operator and others in the vicinity.
  • Potential lacerations or punctures from frayed individual cable wires.
  • A nonfunctioning winch in the case of an emergency or when stuck.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Preventative Actions

  • Ensure pre-trip inspections are thoroughly conducted before using an ATV to check that the cable had been re-spooled properly and is in good repair (no pinch points or frayed wires).
  • Keep clear of the line-of-fire whenever operating a winch.
  • Always re-spool winch cables properly by spooling it side to side while under tension so it loads evenly and ALWAYS wear gloves.
  • All newly purchased ATVs will be equipped with nylon winch cables going forward because they do not “kick back” should they snap.

 

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_WINCH_CABLE_04_11_2016.pdf

Going too fast, checking GPS on the fly leads to ATV crash

Safety Alert Type: 
Vehicles
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2016-07-28
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A Field Ops contractor was riding an ATV at the end of the day along a deactivated logging road, at approximately 45km/h. The rider took their eyes off the road to look at their GPS unit and as a result did not notice a significantly sized pothole down the road.

At the last second the rider stood up and leaned back to help the front tires clear the hole but as a result the back axle took the full force. The rider was ejected off the machine and luckily sustained only relatively minor injuries (i.e., bruising & cuts requiring stitches).

Potential Hazards

  • Driving too fast for road conditions or familiarity with particular road section.
  • Taking eyes off the road to look at GPS unit (i.e. distracted driving).
  • Not effectively using the SIPDE approach (i.e., Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, and Execute).

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Preventative Actions

  • Contractor’s policy, as part of their safety program, will be reviewed with each worker reminding them the maximum speed for travelling on an ATV is 35km/h.
  • Workers will be reminded that they must only ever travel at a speed that is appropriate for the road conditions and their own riding ability.
  • Workers will be reminded that they must always keep their eyes focused completely on the road (i.e., SIPDE) and that they must safely pull over to a complete stop to check navigational aids (i.e., GPS, maps etc).

 

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_contractor_ATV_FLIP_7_28_2016.pdf

Trailer reach breaks, loaded log truck crashes on Forest Service Road

Safety Alert Type: 
Log Hauling
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2016-08-25
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A loaded logging truck (tandem axle jeep configuration) was travelling down a forest service road when the driver noticed the trailer tracking off the road. The trailer reach came apart, causing the trailer to go into the ditch on the other side of the road while pulling the tractor in with it and consequently spilling the load of logs.

The driver had previously noticed a small piece of the stopper on the reach was broken, which caused the trailer to inadvertently unhitch before, but was ignored because the damage was thought to be insignificant.

As a result of the incident the driver sustained luckily only minor injuries but the damages were estimated to exceed $15,000.

Potential Hazards

  • A very serious incident can result whenever a trailer comes unexpectedly unhitched from the tractor towing it, especially one fully loaded with logs.
  • Loose objects can cause personal injury to the occupants during a flop over/rollover. A coffee thermos in the cab of tractor struck driver in the head during incident resulting in minor injuries (i.e., scrapes & bruising).

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Preventative Actions

  • The contractor has clearly communicated to their subcontractors that all trucks must be 100% in a safe working condition before starting work.
  • The contractor has mandated that all of this particular subcontractor’s trucks pass a maintenance safety inspection before being hired back for work.
  • All drivers have been told to park trucks if they ever notice any potential mechanical or safety issues that they can’t address.
  • All truck cabs will be inspected and any loose objects will be removed or securely stored.

 

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_contractor_REACH_STOP_8_25_2016.pdf

Logging Trailer - Broken pole trailer reach leads to tip over

Safety Alert Type: 
Log Hauling
Location: 
Shuswap region
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2016-12-12
Company Name: 
INTERFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Upon exiting the FSR, while having to negotiate a road obstruction, this unit had to make a sharp left-turn. Turning the cab into the West-bound lane, the driver felt something was not right – “like something was dragging”. Immediately after the unit completely rolled over.

Investigation revealed that the reach broke within the trailer body housing. This action caused the bunk slipper to drop below the bolster plate, thus not allowing the trailer to track in its proper path, causing the trailer and truck to roll over.

Fracture lines within the reach showed the fresh break on the drivers-side of the reach, however it also showed three other fracture lines that were of an old nature.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Driver unable to detect a defect during trip inspections because, the previous cracks were well within the trailer body housing and out of sight.
  • Legislated Government Commercial Vehicle Inspections performed by a certified inspector, require that during the inspection process the reach must be inspected for its entire length. The reach must be fully extended for the inspection. Owners need to confirm that this procedure is followed.
  • It is recommended that operators of these types of units slide their reaches on a periodic basis to free up any debris or rust that may cause issues where the reach and trailer housing may seize.
  • Owners of these types of units, should check with the manufactures of their reaches to find the expected life-span of their specific reach.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Erik Kok, Interfor Adams Lake Division. erik.kok@interfor.com

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Interfor-Logging_Trailer-Broken_Pole_Trailer_Reach-Dec_12_2016.pdf

Changing a flat tire is easier with a wire brush and some wood

Safety Alert Type: 
Vehicles
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2016-07-30
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 
  1. After the sidewall blew out an employee had to change a tire but was unable to get one of the lug nuts off because the tire iron was inadequate.
  2. An employee was changing a flat tire in the field but had a difficult time placing the jack on a flat supportive surface due to the road condition at that particular location.
  3. An employee was changing a flat tire but had difficulty replacing it because the posts and hub were so dirty.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

 Potential Hazards

  • If tires are installed with incorrect torque they can be difficult to remove manually.
  • Not having the correct tools can lead to the inability to change the tire and ultimately the potential to be stranded in the field.
  • The jack could slip from not being properly placed on a stable surface, which could result in serious injury.
  • If lugs, posts, and hubs are dirty or rusted then a proper replacement will be difficult and the wheel might not be secure.

 

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_FLAT_TIRE_PREPAREDNESS_07_30_2016.pdf

NEAR MISS: Log Truck and School Bus Safety

Safety Alert Type: 
Vehicles
Location: 
Nazko Highway (Cariboo Region)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2016-12-01
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

There have been several incidents reported by school bus drivers where log trucks have passed school buses with lights flashing and stop signs out.

These incidents have fortunately been near misses to date, as the school bus drivers were able to keep the children in the bus when these incidents occurred.

We are all cognizant that a near miss is an opportunity to identify causes and prevent a more serious incident from occurring.

Remember! It is illegal to pass a school bus when its lights are flashing and the stop sign is out.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

 

  • Plan ahead: Be aware and take note of the bus stops along your route. Observe the time of day when school buses are operating (7:00am-9:00am and 3:00pm-5:00pm)
  • Be prepared to accommodate (buses or other traffic)
  • Drive according to conditions
  • Under no circumstances is it ever ok to pass a school bus when its lights are flashing and stop sign is out.

 

File attachments
SchoolBus-LogTruck-NearMisses-Dec_2016.pdf
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