Non-pinned fire extinguisher discharges in cab of skidder

Safety Alert Type: 
Hazardous Materials
Location: 
BC interior region
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-02-08
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A fire extinguisher was inadvertently discharged in the cab of a skidder, dispersing the chemicals throughout the cab while the machine was in motion.

The extinguisher was missing the required safety pin thereby allowing the lever to be engaged when the operator was moving other objects in the cab.

As a result, the operator inhaled a significant amount of the chemical before exiting the cab after a number of unsuccessful attempts, and later that day was forced to visit the hospital.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Potential Hazards:

  • Inadvertent discharge due to a fully charged fire extinguisher missing a safety pin.
  • Potential flying projectile due to a fully charged fire extinguisher not being properly secured.
  • Fire retardant chemical dispersed in a very confined space while moving:
    • Disorientation resulting in a collision.
    • Chemical inhalation.

Preventative Actions:

  • OHS Reg Sec 16.34 – Start of shift inspection.
    • The operator must inspect the equipment before the start of operation on the shift…
  • OHS Reg Sec 16.35 – Securing tools and equipment.
    • The operator must maintain the cab, floor and deck of mobile equipment free of material, tools or other objects…
  • According to the Canadian National Fire Code (which is adopted both Provincially & Territorially), fire extinguishers must be inspected as part of a monthly safety regimen, as well as serviced annually.

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Canfor-Extinguisher_Discharge_In_Cab-Feb_8-2017.pdf

Hazard Alert: Unstable road edge during spring melt

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Location: 
BC interior resource roads
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-02-21
Company Name: 
Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

With spring arriving, the banks of snow on the resource road’s edge melt and saturate the road. To remove these slumping banks of snow the grader operator uses the wing blades to move the snow away from the road.

By doing this the road may appear wider than it really is.

In the mornings, this false road surface may be frozen and vehicles drive on it leaving tracks. Later in the day when it warms up, this false road surface becomes a hazard when vehicles drive on it and fall through.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Ask grader operators to angle the snow down the bank
  • Know your road - if you need a place to stop use an existing plowed pullout.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Shawn Clerke, Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd, (250) 768-5131

File attachments
Hazard_Alert_Unstable_Road_Edge_Spring_Melt-Gorman_Bros-Feb_21-2017.pdf

Trap snares dog, injures worker

Safety Alert Type: 
Worksites
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-01-19
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Three employees were walking through a plantation while their dogs walked alongside the road in the bush when they heard a metallic “snap” and noticed one of the dogs caught in a “conibear” style trap.

The group had a difficult time getting the trap to release but managed to set the dog free before it asphyxiated.

One employee’s left middle finger, ring finger and right thumb were injured during the struggle with the trap but luckily not seriously, as the doctor confirmed there was no nerve damage or broken bones.

Potential Hazards:

  • Unknown whereabouts of actively set traps that can be harmful to an unaware person and/or animal.
  • Trappers are not legally required to make the locations of their traps known.
  • Unfamiliarity with traps and their release mechanism.
  • Trapping is most active late fall through late December but activity can go on into spring.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Inform yourself of potential trapping activity in your area before heading out and discuss with crew during pre-work.
  • Contact local trapper, build a relationship, and attempt to coordinate activities. Trapper may be able to provide trap locations or agree to mark with ribbon.
  • Look for signs of recent trapper activity (i.e., sled or foot tracks, ribbon trail).
  • Inform yourself on how traps work & how they release (see links below).
  • Leave dogs at home if you suspect traps could be in the area.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

1. Link to a video that provides clear instruction on how to release a “conibear” style trap and how they generally work should you or your dog ever encounter one in the field: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=trapping.sharing

2. Link to a second video on trap release technique: http://www.terrierman.com/traprelease.htm

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Canfor-Traps-01-19-2017.pdf

Tree Wells: A potentially fatal trap in the snow

Safety Alert Type: 
Workers
Location: 
Throughout British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2017-02-14
Company Name: 
Pro-Tech Forest Resources Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

(Note: This alert has been re-posted as a timely reminder of this seasonal hazard)

As a worker stepped away from his snowmobile, he fell in a deep tree well of a small balsam. The tree well had over 6 feet of snow depth. The fallen worker’s head was below the level of his co-worker’s feet on top of the snow.

The co-worker was able to help the worker by carefully digging enough snow away from the worker and then using the snowmobile, which was on packed ground, as a base of support for pulling the worker out. No injuries occurred.

Related Information: The branches of the tree shelter the area surrounding the tree trunk from snowfall. Thus a pocket of air or loose snow can form in the vicinity of the trunk. The risk of encountering a tree well is greatest during and immediately following a heavy snowstorm.

Low hanging branches further contribute to forming a tree well, as they efficiently shelter the area surrounding the trunk. It is a potential risk with trees in deep snow no matter the diameter of the tree. Wells can also occur near rocks, along streams and in heavy regen with snow press.

When a person falls into a tree-well, it’s incredibly difficult to climb back out. The loose snow can prevent the person from breathing, resulting in what is known as a Non-Avalanche Related Snow Immersion Death, or, in plain English, suffocation by snow.

Two experiments conducted in the U.S. and Canada found that 90 per cent of volunteers who were placed temporarily in tree wells were unable to rescue themselves. Furthermore, it was also noted that most people will not call out for help right away as they either feel that they should be able to dig themselves out or are embarrassed to ask for help. However, the more the person struggles the more entrapped in the snow they become as more snow falls into the hole, re-burying them.

Calling for assistance should be your first course of action. Take precautions working in areas where deep tree wells are a concern!

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Here are some suggestions for avoiding and dealing with entrapment if you fall in a deep tree well:

  • Work in pairs
  • If you slide into a well try to remain upright. Landing head first creates a much deadlier scenario.
  • Grab a tree trunk or branch, or hug the tree if possible. Anything to stay above the surface!
  • Yell, radio or use a whistle to alert partners. Getting help en route may save your life, especially as fatigue and hypothermia may become a factor.
  • Create and maintain a direct line of air if your head is below the snow line. Being able to breathe is priority.
  • Try to remain calm and wait for help. Move your body carefully in a rocking manner to hollow out and pack the snow. This will give you space and air.

As a co-worker:

  • Know where your partner is working and remain in close distance/ communication.
  • Remember, if your partner is buried under the snow, time is of the essence and your quick actions to pull or dig them out are your partner's best hope for survival. In most cases, you are the only hope.
  • Make sure the ground you are standing on is packed and will not cause a further cave in. Radio for help, but stay there until you have recovered your partner. Make attempts to uncover the head first and help create an airway.
  • When you uncover their head, make sure there is no snow in the mouth and that they can breathe. Proceed to help dig them out, but ensure that the direct line of air is maintained.

This winter has seen a high volume of snow. Always be alert and watch your footing around the base of a tree or large rocks. Slow down when approaching these dangerous zones and make sure that your footing is on ground that will hold you. If you feel yourself starting to sink down, try to back away to avoid sliding into the well. For your safety, you should assume all trees have a hazardous tree well.

Fortunately, the risk of falling into a tree well is completely avoidable.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Brad or Scott, Pro-Tech Forest Resources Ltd. (250) 846-5060  scott.rowsell@ptfr.ca

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Tree_Wells-Feb-2017.pdf

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
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