Hooktender struck by rolling rock dislodged from root wad

Safety Alert Type: 
Yarding and Loading
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Forest Resources Association (USA)
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

In March of 2019 in Oregon, a hooktender was badly injured when he was struck by a rolling rock that dislodged from a windthrow’s root wad by a moving turn of logs.

The site was located on a 70% slope with steep side slopes. The choker setter set a three-log turn, and then went uphill to the opposite side of the draw with the rigging slinger. The hooktender remained on the other side of the draw, downhill of the skyline.

The hooktender gave the all clear, and they went ahead on the turn. As the turn started to move uphill, the hooktender started walking across the hillside toward the skyline to set the next turn.

The turn went up and over an old windthrow, causing it to roll and dislodge three large rocks from its root wad.

The choker setter saw the rocks start to roll and yelled to the hooktender. The hooktender was able to avoid the first two, but the largest rock struck him, throwing him 25 feet / 7.6 metres downhill. He suffered four breaks in his leg, two fractured ribs, and a ruptured lung.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Recognize the risk of unstable objects rolling downhill. The risk of rolling rocks was acknowledged in a safety meeting, but the hooktender did not follow the plan to stay in the clear until the turn reached the landing
  • Develop and follow a plan to keep the rigging crew in the clear and safe from the hazard
  • Lead workers should set a positive example for the crew by following and promoting safe practices.


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