Worker run over by large pickup truck

Safety Alert Type: 
Williams Lake, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Summit Reforestation Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A new tree planter was driven to camp. After the camp orientation, the planter went and laid down on a large section of grass that was being used for a parking area. The planter lay down behind a row of crew trucks that were parked perpendicular and adjacent to the road. Beyond this was a large grassy field.

All the crew trucks were parked facing outward, other than the last crew truck, which parked facing inward and perpendicular to the road. It had just arrived and was not able to back in due to the lane being blocked by another vehicle.

The driver of the crew truck left his vehicle to use the washroom. The driver returned to his vehicle a few minutes later along the road where the visibility to the location of the planter was blocked by the other crew trucks. The rear door of his truck was open and was obscuring his line of sight along his vehicle.

The driver walked around the back of the truck to the driver side door and then got in. The driver pulled forward and turned right, driving around and behind the end vehicle. His front tire missed the planter; however, as he made his turn the rear wheels went directly over the planter’s torso.

The planter received extensive crush injuries.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

HAZARD - Upset Condition: When someone is forced to do something that is outside of established policy or best practice of the normal course of duty, the risks associated with that act are increased. In this incident, there were at least two “upset conditions”

  1. The driver could not safely back into his parking space so chose to pull in forwards.
  2. The planter arrived in camp early before other employees, and before the planned orientation and training.

PREVENTATIVE ACTIONS - Ensure employees understand “why” a best practice such as backing in to parking spaces is in place. In understanding the intention of the best practice, the employee can mitigate the risks involved in taking alternate action.

HAZARD - New Employees: When new employees first arrive on site, they are yet to receive full orientation and training.

PREVENTATIVE ACTIONS - Designate safe spaces where new employees can be so they will be protected from the hazards associated with the worksite. Ensure new employees are not left unsupervised outside of these designated areas until orientation is completed.

HAZARD - Blind Spots and the DANGER Zone: Large vehicles have large blind spots both in front and behind them; for some drivers, these blind spots can extend over 12 metres from the vehicle. Employees and drivers may not be aware of the size of these areas.


  1. Ensure drivers are consistently doing circle checks any time they have lost track of what may have entered this “Danger Zone”. Typically, this would be whenever they leave their vehicle for any period but may also include time spent talking or making notes where their attention had not been on the task of driving.
  2. Drivers should honk their horn before moving from a parked position.
  3. Drivers should adjust their seats to the highest comfortable driving position to maximize their field of vision around their vehicles.
  4. All employees need to be aware of this “Danger Zone.” Ensure employees are trained on how large this zone is and ensure that they are paying full attention when in this space. Do not allow employees to loiter in the immediate vicinity of vehicles. They should only be in the “Danger Zone” when necessary and exit as soon as possible.
  5. Keep parking areas as far from common areas as possible so employees are not tempted to loiter near them – ensure employees are only in designated parking areas when conducting relevant business.

HAZARD - Headphones limiting situational awareness: The use of headphones can severely limit a worker’s ability to hear what is happening around them.

PREVENTATIVE ACTIONS - Headphone use is not safe in a work environment –ensure policy limits use to safe spaces around camp (mess tent or personal tents etc). When a worker is on duty they must be aware of the possible dangers around them.

HAZARD - Travel fatigue: Workers often have extended travel to get to us. Their level of fatigue from this travel may be very significant.

PREVENTATIVE ACTIONS - Organize pick‐up times so that we pick up employees in a fresh state of mind. Know the flight and bus times and when they arrive in town. Encourage people to arrive a day earlier and spend the night in town where they can rest before you pick them up to start work.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Summit Reforestation Ltd. (250) 847-5125

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