Worker narrowly missed by tumbling root ball

Safety Alert Type: 
Road Building/Deactivation
New Zealand
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Kohntrol Forest Services Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A worker breaking out for a road-line logging operation was almost hit by a tumbling root-ball.

The picture in the attached pdf shows a typical root-ball extracted from the ground by an excavator clearing pilot tracks for a road-line logging crew. The root-ball was extracted and placed in what was thought to be a safe location that would not allow the root-ball to roll down-slope.

The near-miss incident coincided with a period of heavy rain.

Key contributing factors identified from the incident review were:

  • Heavy rain dislodged the root-ball.
  • The tracking excavator operator misjudged the stability of the slash and soil holding the root-ball in place.


Learnings and Suggestions: 

It is important to acknowledge the worker for reporting the incident – it has been an opportunity to review the hazard control systems by the companies involved.

Remind all earthworks (road building) contractors that extracting material which could later move, such as boulders and root-balls, must be done taking into account:

  • Changing weather conditions.
  • The legal responsibility for all workers to avoid creating a hazard for any other people on site, either in the current operation or in future operations (for example hauler breaker-outs and fallers who could be on site in 1-2 years after the road work is completed).


For more information on this submitted alert: 
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