Over-extending boom on steep slope, snowy ground leads to buncher rollover

Safety Alert Type: 
Mechanized Harvesting
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

An experienced buncher operator was working on a southern aspect with 54% slopes and approximately 6 inches of snow. The daytime temperature increased to +2 degrees in the afternoon.

The buncher was working at the top of the slope when the operator over extended to grab a tree. With the now slippery snow conditions, the machine slid sideways and then flopped onto its side.

The machine began to roll down the slope before coming to a rest against a stand of trees, 163 metres from the starting zone.

Badly shaken, the worker drove himself to the hospital and was released that night with some cuts and bruises.

Potential Hazards

  • Changing snow conditions during the day due to temperature fluctuations
  • Steep Slope Hazard Assessment plan not up to date and did not match the current site conditions
  • Operator needs to identify changing conditions and work with the supervisor to make necessary changes to the steep slope assessment plan
  • Buncher was newer to this operator. New equipment may handle differently than equipment you are used to.


Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Design site and logging plans that put the safety of the operator first
  • Maintain a “live” Steep Slope Hazard Assessment plan. If conditions change, update the plan
  • As an operator, if you notice that conditions are changing, re-assess what you are doing and move to a safer location to work
  • New equipment may feel different than equipment you are used to. Take the time to become familiar with the way it handles before tackling challenging terrain
  • Do not overextend the boom of the machine. Move to a safer location instead
  • All workers have the right to refuse unsafe work. Do not hesitate to say no if you are uncomfortable with the work in front of you.


For more information on this submitted alert: 

Kori Vernier at kori.vernier@canfor.com

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