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

Safety Alert Type: 
Booming and Towing
BC's northern interior
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
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



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