Choker setter struck when hung-up turn clears

Safety Alert Type: 
Yarding and Loading
Washington State
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Washington State Department of Labour & Industries
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A three man rigging crew was logging buncher piles on a flat area below an 80% slope near an RMA. They were about 850 feet (260 metres) from the landing.

After the crew set a single choker on a four log pile, the rigging slinger cleared out into the Riparian Management Area (RMA) and the choker setter and hook tender cleared up the hill and under the skyline. The rigging slinger asked the choker setter and hook tender if they were in the clear and they answered that they were.

As the turn started to move, the tops hung up in another pile next to it. Then the butts hung up on a stump directly below the choker setter and hook tender. As the lines tightened, the turn cleared from the stump and it swung up the hill and struck the choker setter.

The crew radioed the company owner. When he arrived, the choker setter was sitting up and alert. His ankle was hurt, but he did not have any life threatening injuries. The crew packed him to the road and took him to an urgent care clinic where he was treated for a sprained ankle and released.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Root Causes The choker setter and the hook tender were directly up the hill under the skyline and were not in the clear.


  • To be in the clear, you must be out of the swing radius of the longest log in the turn, including the length of the choker and dropline, and any deflection that could occur
  • The rigging slinger must ensure that all members of the crew are in the clear before giving the go ahead
  • Train all rigging crew members on “in the clear” safety requirements, and do periodic retraining.


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