Concussion, torn knee ligament the result of fall from cab of log truck

Safety Alert Type: 
Log Hauling
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
New Zealand Forest Owners Association
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The following information is from a member company of the New Zealand Forest Owners Association (NZFOA). The information provided has relevance to forestry operations in British Columbia as well. Link to the NZFOA alerts web page: https://nzfoa-iris.com/SafetyAlerts.aspx

After a log truck had been loaded, the driver got in the truck and drove up the road a short distance to a flat area to chain down the load. He did this to get clear of the landing and allow the yarding crew room to continue working. Where the driver stopped to chain down his load was out of sight of the crew due to an adjacent crop of younger trees.
When the driver climbed down the steps of the truck, his left foot became caught between the bottom step and the truck mudflap. The driver lost his balance and fell backwards, twisting his leg. He then hit his head on the ground and was knocked unconscious.
The driver lay there unconscious for approximately 80 minutes until the next truck driver coming along found him lying on the side of the road.

At that point the emergency response was initiated - an ambulance was dispatched, but upon arrival the ambulance crew subsequently ordered the rescue helicopter. As well as the concussion, the driver suffered a torn ligament in his knee.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Truck drivers are required to get in and out of their cabs on a regular basis every day. Some of these times will be within view of other people, and occasionally it will be when they are by themselves (for example in this situation, or when they stop at the forest entrance to check their chain tensions). The main control to avoid slips/trips/falls is for workers to use 3 points of contact when getting on and off vehicles and machinery. As an added control however, Port Blakely would also recommend that truck drivers chain down their load in view of the harvesting operation wherever possible, so that help is quickly available if required.

In addition, the following points have also come from this incident:

  • Hazards associated with vehicles and machinery, where other objects may interfere with people’s ability to safely use the steps, are to be reviewed
  • When dealing with a suspected serious injury in isolated areas, the person contacting emergency services should suggest that a rescue helicopter would be the best initial response option.


For more information on this submitted alert: 

PDF copy of this alert from New Zealand Forest Owners Association: https://nzfoa-iris.com/SafetyAlerts/ShowSafetyPDF.aspx?id=185

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