Use caution in areas burned by wildfires

Safety Alert Type: 
Worksites
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-09-14
Company Name: 
BC Wildfire Service
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The 2018 wildfire season has been one of the most challenging in British Columbia’s history, and some areas of the province have sustained considerable damage.

Hunters, recreationalists and anyone else heading into the backcountry should use caution when travelling in areas affected by wildfires, since there may be safety hazards present. These hazards could include:

  • danger trees (fire-damaged trees that have become unstable and could fall over without warning)
  • ash pits, which may be hard to detect and can remain hot long after the flames have died down
  • unstable soils and terrain
  • increased potential for landslides or rock falls
  • damaged trails or irregular trail surfaces
  • increased water runoff, which could lead to flooding or debris flows
  • damaged fencing, which could allow livestock to enter roadways

In areas that have been severely burned, post-wildfire risks may last for two years or more. However, the increased risk of floods or debris flows in severely burned areas may persist much longer.

Every year, post-wildfire hazard assessments are completed on significant wildfires to identify potential threats to public safety, buildings or infrastructure. Risk mitigation and rehabilitation planning are already underway in some areas.

The BC Wildfire Service reminds members of the public that they also need to use extreme caution in regions where fires are still burning. Wildfires are active worksites where fire suppression efforts may be ongoing.

People can expect to see smouldering ground fires and smoke within the perimeters of existing wildfires over the coming weeks. This is common with large wildfires and may continue for some time. If smoke is rising from well within a fire’s perimeter and the area is surrounded by black, burned material, this is typically not a concern. However, smoke rising from green, unburned fuel or from outside a fire’s perimeter should be reported immediately.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call *5555 on a cellphone or 1 800 663-5555 toll-free. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit: www.bcwildfire.ca

You can also follow the latest wildfire news:

Quick Facts:

  • Area restriction orders are still in effect for Crown land in the vicinity of some active wildfires, to help protect public safety and avoid interference with firefighting activities.
  • A list of areas affected by area restriction orders is available online at: www.gov.bc.ca/wildfirebans
  • Even if an area restriction order has been rescinded, officials engaged in fire control (including firefighters) have the authority under the Wildfire Act and its regulations to order anyone to leave the area.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

A “Landslide and Flooding Risks Due to Wildfires” brochure describes how wildfire activity may increase the risk of landslides and flooding, lists warning signs that people should watch for and advises what they should do in an emergency. The brochure is available online: http://ow.ly/WKGJ30lNvX4

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Kevin Skrepnek, Chief Fire Information Officer - BC Wildfire Service Provincial Wildfire Coordination Centre (250) 312-3051

File attachments
Hazard_Alert_Use_caution_in_areas_burned_by_wildfires-BCWS-Sept 14-2018.pdf

Carrot pin bracket detaches from log truck, strikes vehicle on highway

Safety Alert Type: 
Paved Roads
Location: 
Kootenay Region
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-08-14
Company Name: 
INTERFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A logging truck driver heard the sound of a blown tire, and pulled over.

While inspecting the tire, the driver of a public vehicle approached the logging truck to explain that a piece of metal had flown off the logging truck, and broke through the hood of the vehicle on the driver’s side (see photos in attached document).

Upon further investigation, the logging truck driver discovered that a carrot pin bracket was missing off the forward bunk.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Remove the carrot pin from the bracket while the truck is loaded
  • Complete pre & post trip inspections on logging trucks, and correct identified issues
  • Schedule routine maintenance inspections to inspect all welds, including carrot pin welds.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Kait Baskerville, Woodlands Safety Coordinator, Kootenay Operations: Kait.Baskerville@interfor.com

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Interfor-Carrot_Pin_Bracket_Maintenance-Aug_14-2018.pdf

Staying Hydrated: Vital for forest worker health, especially on the wildfire lines!

Safety Alert Type: 
Workers
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-08-10
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

When the topic of dehydration is raised, don’t think it only happens on the fireline. All forestry workers including those working in logging, silviculture and other field positions can be affected by dehydration.

To many, thirst is the first indication that they need something to drink. In reality, by the time you are thirsty it is too late and you could already be 2% dehydrated. At 4%, you are unable to do your job efficiently, at 7% you likely will be throwing up. At 10% you are near death.

Keep this in mind – the best way to determine if you are drinking enough is to:

  • Check your thirst – if you have dry mouth or are thirsty, you most likely have not been drinking enough fluids
  • Check your urine – if your urine has a strong smell and is a dark yellow colour, you may not be getting enough fluids. Your urine should be clear in colour or light yellow and you should frequently urinate throughout the day
  • Observe your state of mind – if you are tired, light-headed, have many headaches, or are unable to focus, you could be dehydrated.

The constant intake of fluids is essential. Fluids help to:

  • lower your risk of dehydration and heat stroke
  • control your body temperature
  • keep a normal blood pressure
  • protect and cushion your joints and organs
  • move nutrients and waste through the body

It is hard to quantify the amount of fluids an individual is required to drink on a daily basis. This is because there are many factors involved including the level and type of physical activity, age, gender and the environment the person is working in.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Tips to meet your fluid needs

  • Be aware of your thirst and drink fluids often throughout the day
  • Choose water when you are thirsty. Avoid soft drinks
  • Keep water nearby when you are at work, at school, exercising or out and about
  • Enjoy other fluids to help you meet your fluid intake such as milk, fortified soy beverages, vegetable or fruit juices and soups
  • Choose decaffeinated drinks more often to keep you well hydrated. Drinks with caffeine should be limited to 3 cups per day
  • Take sips of water while eating meals and snacks
  • Keep a container full of ice water with lemon, lime or other flavours, in your fridge at home or at work
  • When going to the field, ensure that crews and individuals have plenty of water
  • Remember to drink additional water in hot weather and when you are very active.

Everyone must be diligent in monitoring themselves and their co-workers for proper hydration habits.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Gerard Messier at messier@bcforestsafe.org

 

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Dehydration_in_forestry_workers-August-2018.pdf

Keep your mind on task (crew cab rolls over)

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-06-29
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council (Transportation Safety)
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

On an active resource road in the Prince George area, a crew cab truck carrying 5 passengers and the driver rolled after meeting a loaded logging truck.

Road calling procedures required that only loaded traffic call kilometres. The driver of the crew cab thought they were at a different kilometre on the road and therefore failed to find a pullout when hearing a loaded log truck call his kilometre.

The two vehicles met on a narrow stretch of road and passed without incident. However the shoulder was soft and steep which contributed to a slow roll-over of the crew cab. Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Always be aware of your location (mind on task). Even experienced drivers can become distracted with thoughts, conversation and forget the importance of knowing their location.
  • As a precaution, use a 2km rule. When you hear a loaded vehicle coming within 2kms, find a pullout and wait. Roads can be narrower than normal making it difficult for vehicles to pass by each other. There may be fewer pullouts than you expect.
  • Ensure adequate planning to help contractors reduce travel on busy haul roads. • Always wear a seatbelt.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Call the BCFSC Transportation Department at (250) 562-3215

File attachments
Resource_Road_Alert-BCFSC_June_29-2018.pdf

Fire Danger Ratings High to Extreme in BC

Safety Alert Type: 
Weather
Location: 
Province-wide
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-07-31
Company Name: 
BC Wildfire Service
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Forestry companies are reminded to be vigilant with industrial and/or high-risk activities, as hot and dry weather has resulted in High to Extreme fire danger ratings throughout British Columbia. As the wildfire risk increases, the standard of care used by industry should change accordingly to reflect current conditions. Human-caused wildfires divert critical response resources away from naturally occurring wildfires.

Please pay particular attention to the Fire Danger Class rating in your area, ensure that you are using the appropriate weather station data for the area where you’re operating, and adhere to the shutdown formulas outlined in the province’s wildfire regulations.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

To view the Fire Danger Class Report, please visit www.bcwildfire.ca and click on the “View Fire Danger Ratings” button.

Remember that if you see or cause a wildfire, you have an obligation to report it, take action with available resources and extinguish the fire if it’s practicable to do so. Please ensure that you carry out your industrial operations in accordance with the Wildfire Act and the Wildfire Regulation.

Wildfire Act: http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/00_04031_01

Wildfire Regulation: http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/11_38_2005

A summary of good practices related to fire preparedness for the forest industry can be found at: https://www.bcfpb.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/SIR30-Summary-of-Good-Practices.pdf

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on your cellphone.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Provincial Wildfire Coordination Centre Information Line (250) 312-3051

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Fire_Danger_Ratings-August_2018.pdf

Rattlesnake Encounter on Forest Trail

Safety Alert Type: 
Wildlife encounter
Location: 
Horn Creek (near Keremeos, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-06-07
Company Name: 
Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A worker unexpectedly happened upon a rattlesnake on a trail at the end of the day.

The snake was well blended in so they both startled each other. The snake lunged at the worker but did not strike. The worker backed up and the snake slithered off.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

From the WildSafeBC website: https://wildsafebc.com/rattlesnake/

The Northern Pacific Rattlesnake: Habitat

Found in our province’s dry south-central interior valleys. They live in a variety of habitats, from open forests to riparian areas. Often you will find them among sage brush and antelope brush in shrub-steppe habitat. They overwinter in communal dens (often with other snake species) found in talus slopes and rock slides, which usually face south-west. They spend all winter in these dens, from approximately October to April.

Rattlesnake Safety: Bites

Rattlesnake bites are very rare in British Columbia and are almost never fatal. Most snake bites are due to people deliberately trying to handle or harm rattlesnakes. The most important thing to remember is to get the victim to the hospital.

If you are bitten:

1. Stay calm and remove yourself from the area. Move slowly or be carried.

2. Remove any constrictive clothing or jewelry, which otherwise would act as a tourniquet and concentrate the venom and prevent fresh blood from entering the area (which is not desirable).

3. Go to the nearest hospital. Phone ahead if possible, or phone 911. Preferably, have someone else drive you.

4. Mark swelling with lines and times every 10 minutes or so. This will help doctors assess the severity of the bite.

5. If necessary, you may clean the bite area to prevent further infection.

6. Do not:

• Apply a tourniquet

• Make an incision

• Attempt to suck out the venom

• Ice the wound

• Kill the snake

• Bring the snake to the hospital. Snakes are protected by law and doctors do not need to identify a snake to treat snakebites in BC.

Working safely in rattlesnake habitat:

If you know you are working in known rattlesnake habitat, be observant and follow these rules for safety:

Clothing

• Wear long loose pants

• Use high leather or rubber boots while working in tall grass or shrubs.

Actions

• Don’t put your hands and feet where you cannot see them

• Use a stick to turn over an object under which you think a snake could be hidden

• Be careful stepping over large logs and rocks- step around and not over

• Familiarize yourself with rattlesnake ecology and timing of behaviours. (ie: are snakes in hibernation? Are you likely to be working near potential den sites or rookeries?)

Encounters - If you hear a rattlesnake:

• Stop immediately

• Locate the snake

• If you are close to the snake, remain still and allow the snake to calm down and back away

• Once you are one snake body length away, step back and go around the snake.

Remember, all snakes including rattlesnakes are protected under BC’s Wildlife Act. It is illegal to kill or harm snakes, or to remove them from the wild.

If you encounter a dead rattlesnake, don’t touch it! The biting reflex remains intact even after death.

Do not expect all rattlesnakes to rattle at you. Their first response to disturbance is to stay camouflaged and hide. Their second response is to escape. They usually will only rattle when cornered, surprised or when they feel very threatened. Striking is usually a last resort. Warning signs of a strike include a body in a coil, head slightly raised with the neck in an ‘s’ shaped curve, and rattling.

Pets

If you are concerned about your pet’s safety while out playing or hiking, keep it on a leash while walking in rattlesnake habitat. Snakebite can be serious for small animals, but larger animals often recover with treatment for pain, swelling, and infection. If you believe your pet has been bitten by a rattlesnake, seek veterinary care immediately.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Doug Campbell, Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd. (250) 768-5131

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Gorman_Bros-Rattlesnake_Encounter_June_7-2018.pdf

Log truck with ineffective brakes forced to ditch to avoid children

Safety Alert Type: 
Log Hauling
Location: 
Northern Interior
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-01-21
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A logging truck driver was descending a steep decline on a logging road. Upon attempting to slow down he applied his brakes, however, he felt that the brakes did not respond as he was expecting.

He continued to drive down the hill without effective brakes for 3.5 kms; at this point he had no braking control over the vehicle.

The driver noticed children ahead walking near a bus stop so he decided to drive the truck straight into private property, causing considerable damage, rather than putting the children at risk.

Potential Hazards

  • Mechanical issues associated with the incident were due to improper maintenance
  • Driver did not conduct proper pre-trip inspections
  • Use of engine retarder and compression brakes on full while travelling on icy roads.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Always follow manufacturer’s recommended maintenance procedures and schedules.
  • Always remove debris and dirt from around air lines to adequately inspect for defects.
  • The use of brake line anti-freeze in air lines during winter months must follow the industry standard:

- A (50:1) ratio of 50 parts brake line anti-freeze is mixed with 1-part air tool oil.
- A (one) tablespoon or 1/8 ounce is added to the “emergency” or “red” line per 15,000 km. service intervals, and only in winter months.

  • Always STOP once you suspect something is “not right” to determine if your truck is safe to operate.
  • Chains should be used whenever the driver has concerns with vehicle traction.

Follow up questions to ask your driver:
1. Do you know when your truck was last inspected and/or serviced by authorized personnel?
2. How do you descend an icy road with your compression brake or engine retarder?
3. How do you ensure your brakes are working properly?

For more information on this submitted alert: 
File attachments
Safety_Alert-Canfor_contractor_safety_alert_brake_lines-Jan_21-2018.pdf

CLOSE CALL: Blasting

Safety Alert Type: 
Road Building/Deactivation
Location: 
Vancouver Island
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-04-25
Company Name: 
Island Timberlands LP
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The road construction lead operator (*1) granted access to Forest Planners stopped at a “Blasting Area. No Entry Without Clearance” sign.

The Planner’s intention was to drive to 8km (*2) on the mainline and then into a spur to park at (*3), and then walk up into their work site (*4).

The road construction lead assumed the Planners were working at 8km on the mainline, outside the blast danger zone. The Planners were given clearance and assumed they could work off the spur. The Planners were approximately 100 metres below the blast when the shot was detonated (*5).

*Note: refer to map on page 2 of the attached PDF.

Contributing factors:

  • The spur was not checked or barricaded prior to blast as it was deemed too brushy to access.
  • The Planners had outdated maps for the area that did not show the new road construction.
  • There were two active road construction sides in the area, each with a drill.
  • No clear work plan was communicated between the parties. Too many assumptions were made and not enough questions asked to clarify the work plans.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

  • The Blaster should ensure all spurs within the blast danger zone are checked, guarded and/or barricaded prior to initiating a blast.
  • Forest workers planning to work in/near an active road construction area will meet (face-to-face) with the lead operator to develop a clear work and communication plan.
  • Planners should use the most up-to-date mapping as part of their office / pre-work review.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Chris Vukovic (250) 468-6826

File attachments
Safety Alert_BlastingCloseCall_Island_Timberlands_April_25-2018.pdf

HARD HAT RECALL: Honeywell Fibre-Metal E2 and North Peak A79 models

Safety Alert Type: 
Workers
Location: 
North America
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-04-24
Company Name: 
Health Canada, Honeywell
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

This recall involves Honeywell type 1 Fibre-Metal E2 and North Peak A79 hard hats sold in a variety of different colours.

Hazard identified: The hard hats can fail to protect users from impact, posing a risk of head injury. As of April 11, 2018, the company has received no reports of incidents in Canada, and no reports of injuries.

Approximately 65,550 units of the affected products were sold in Canada. The products were sold in stores at industrial protective equipment distributors in Canada and through their e-commerce portals and online at Amazon from April 2016 to January 2018.

Place of origin: Manufactured in Mexico.

Products with the following description, manufacture date and mold identification number are included in the recall:

Product Description #1 - Fibre-Metal E2 hard hat

Manufacture Date - April 2016; May 2016; December 2017; January 2018

Mold Identification Number - ALL

Product Description #2 - North Peak A79 hard hat

Manufacture Date - April 2016 through January 2018

Mold Identification Number - 4

"North by Honeywell", the mold identification number, and the manufacture date can be found on the underside of the hat's brim. The date code is in a clock format: The numbers around the circle correspond to the 12 months of the year, the arrow points to the month of manufacture and the numbers on either side of the arrow represent the last two digits of the year.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled hard hats and contact Honeywell to receive a product credit or voucher equal to the purchase price of the recalled hard hat.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Consumers may contact Honeywell toll-free at 1-888-212-6903 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online and click on Voluntary Product Recall for more information.

This recall is also posted on the OECD Global Portal on Product Recalls website. You can visit this site for more information on other international consumer product recalls.

BC Hydro May 2018 safety update: Forestry and tree trimming incidents

Safety Alert Type: 
Other
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-05-10
Company Name: 
BC Hydro
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

BC Hydro's May 2018 safety update includes a number of incidents related to forestry work and tree trimming activities

  1. Logging equipment was driving along a newly constructed access road. A communication line was contacted, and when the tension was released, the BC Hydro high voltage conductor came loose from the top of the pole.
  2. Equipment at a sawmill was clearing snow and struck a BC Hydro pole, causing it to break. The circuit remained energized and the wire did not fall to the ground.
  3. A logging truck contacted a transformer pole causing an outage and an oil spill. A BC Hydro crew safely removed the driver from vehicle.
  4. A logging contractor was removing trees along a power line. As the operator moved to reposition the arm the top half of the tree snapped off and fell onto the high voltage line, pulling it off the insulator.
  5. A feller buncher was working adjacent to a distribution line with multiple stems in the buncher when one made contact with the top of the blade and launched about twenty feet, landing on a BC Hydro high voltage line.
  6. A logging truck contacted a communication line, which wrapped around a BC Hydro transmission line.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Visit BC Hydro's web site for additional information about safety around trees and power lines:

https://www.bchydro.com/safety-outages/trees-power-lines.html

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Marc Spencer, Public Safety (604) 528-1952

marc.spencer@bchydro.com

 

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