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HAZARD ALERT - FALLING: In-grown branch causes tree to fall sideways

Safety Alert Type: 
Manual Tree Falling
Location: 
New Zealand
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-08-30
Company Name: 
Forest Management New Zealand Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The terminology might be different, but the hazards are universal.

A manual tree faller had completed his scarf and wing cuts and started on the backcut when he felt the tree put weight on his bar which quickly jammed. He realised the tree was starting to go and quickly retreated up his escape route.

The tree fell sideways in an unintended direction and crushed the faller’s saw.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • A branch was growing out of the base of the tree. It wasn’t obvious during the faller’s tree assessment that it was ingrown to the centre of the tree.
  • This had created a large hollow resin pocket which caused the tree to pull towards the holding wood and fall sideways.

(See photos in attached pdf)

For more information on this submitted alert: 
File attachments
Hazard_Alert-Falling-In-grown_branch-NZ-Aug-2019.pdf

Hooktender struck by rolling rock dislodged from root wad

Safety Alert Type: 
Yarding and Loading
Location: 
Oregon
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-03-29
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.

 

File attachments
Hazard_Alert-Hooktender_Struck_By_Rolling_Rock1.pdf
Hazard_Alert-Hooktender_Struck_By_Rolling_Rock.pdf

Falling limb tied trees

Safety Alert Type: 
Manual Tree Falling
Location: 
Coastal BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-11-12
Company Name: 
INTERFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Worker fell a non limb tied Hemlock. Next was a 24” Green Cedar which was limb tied to a 16” leaning Cedar Danger Tree.

Safe Work Procedure (SWP) when the back tree is a Danger Tree (in this case rotten base), the Faller must stop and seek Qualified Assistance (QA).

The Faller did not call for QA and fell the 24” Cedar. As he cleared the stump towards the Hemlock, the Danger Tree released and fell in between two other spike top Cedars.

A 6 ft long by 3” limb/top broke free from one of the standing spike tops and struck the Faller on upper arm. Impact ripped his skin open which required 3 interior and 7 exterior stitches.

Incident could have been much worse as Faller was in line of fire of the Danger Tree.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Supervisors must pre-walk areas and identify hazards
  • Fallers must properly assess hazards in their quarters
  • Supervisors and Fallers must know, understand and follow Safe Work Procedures
  • Fallers can’t work in terrain and timber types beyond their skills
  • Supervisors must have one-on-one discussions to ensure Fit for Work and Human Factors/Upset Conditions won’t cause incidents
  • Supervisors must observe and document faller’s workmanship
  • Fallers must call for Qualified Assistance as per SWP’s and as written in Interfor’s Falling and Bucking Supervisor Requirements.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Gary Bauer, Coastal Woodlands Operations Gary.Bauer@interfor.com

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Falling_Limb_Tied_Trees-Interfor_Coastal_Woodlands-Nov_12-2019.pdf

Log spills from load; Hits log truck driver

Safety Alert Type: 
Yarding and Loading
Location: 
Harrison Hot Springs, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-05-08
Company Name: 
Western Canadian Timber Products
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Loader operator had completed loading of a log truck. Processor operator recalls hearing “That’s a load”. Truck driver gets out of his rig and places wrappers through the grapple of the loader. The loaderman places wrappers over the load.

During the loading phase a short log which the driver did not notice had slid ahead. Processor operator noticed the short log that slid ahead and proceeded to let the truck driver know. The driver requested the loaderman to reposition the log within the load. Loaderman repositioned the short log.

During this process the middle wrapper became tangled up, requiring the wrapper to be taken off and repositioned. The Processor operator assisted in throwing the middle wrapper over the load. Processor operator recalls the loader’s boom was positioned 90 degrees to the load on the passenger side, and also notices the grapple was not on the ground but suspended several feet above.

Processor operator moved back to the last wrapper closest to the back stake of the log truck and noticed it was tanged and states he was in the process of untangling wrapper when the loaderman took it upon himself to attempt to adjust the logs on top of the load to assist untangling the back wrapper. Seeing this, the process operator held on to the end of the wrapper and walked quickly to the front of the loader to get in to the clear.

Processor operator stated that he was not sure why the loaderman took it upon himself to grab the logs at the back of the load. Loader operator recalls seeing the processor operator standing at the base of the loader on the left side and stated “I thought the Log Truck Driver was in the clear”.

Loader operator stated he observed the short log moved forward again and decided to reposition it once again. The log truck driver stated that once the short log was repositioned and the Boom and Grapple were facing the passenger side of the truck the first time, he proceeded around the front of the truck to apply cinches on the passenger side of the load.

Driver states he told the processor operator he was going around to apply cinches to the wrappers. Log truck driver was positioned on the passenger side of the truck and was not visible to the loaderman. Driver observed the middle wrapper come over.

It was at this time that the loaderman took it upon himself to reposition the same log that had slid ahead earlier for the second time. The loaderman laid the grapple flat on the load to grab the short log to pull it back.

Once he had pulled the short log back, he opened the grapple to release the log. It was then that the grapple struck a 26 foot Alder log which in turn flipped off the load and struck the driver.

Loaderman stated he could not see the log truck driver because of the offset position of the loader cab. The log truck driver stated he was about to cinch the front wrapper when he saw something coming over the side of the load and dove towards the front of the truck to try to get out of the way.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Unsafe condition: Loaderman adjusted log without clear knowledge of the log truck Drivers location
  • Inadequate Communication: Loaderman assumed the log truck driver was talking to the supervisor at his pickup
  • Root Causes: Industry standard horn signals for loading were not being used. Loaderman attempted to adjust log without clear knowledge of log truck driver’s location.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Don Banasky don@wctp.ca

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Log_spills_from_load_striking_log_truck_driver-May_8-2019.pdf

Walking after dark: Be seen and stay safe!

Safety Alert Type: 
Other
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-11-05
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Walking offers numerous benefits, including boosting your immune system, aiding sleep and reducing stress.

But because of limited light with the shortened days, extra precautions should be taken to ensure you are safe when walking after dark.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Here are five tips to help you stay safe at night while enjoying your walking workout:

1. WEAR GEAR FOR VISIBILITY When it’s dark out, make sure other pedestrians and motorists see you. In limited light ensure you can see where you’re walking. Here are some items to keep you safe and seen:

  • Headlamp/flashlight.
  • Reflective clothing.
  • Reflective arm/ankle bands.

2. BRING A FRIEND Recruit a co-worker, friend, or family member, or dog! Not only will it be more enjoyable, but it will also be safer.

3. FOLLOW NIGHTTIME SAFETY RULES While it’s always important to follow basic traffic laws, at night it’s especially important to stay safe. Here are some safety rules you should always abide by when it’s dark:

  • Walk facing traffic so you can react quickly.
  • Always use sidewalks and off-road, multi-use paths when possible. Don’t assume others see you. Take extra precautions and always be alert when crossing the street or using crosswalks.
  • Keep your head up, looking for hazards 10–15 feet in front of you.
  • Avoid distractions that can cause you to lose focus like your phone or listening to music.

4. HAVE A PLAN Let a friend or family member know exactly what route you’re taking and what time you plan to return. Have a way for them to contact you (carry your phone) and let this person know what they should do if you don’t arrive at a specified time. When possible, choose areas that are well-lit and walk in familiar neighbourhoods or places.

5. TAKE EXTRA SAFETY PRECAUTIONS You should always prepare for the worst-case scenario. This could be a dead battery on your phone, an unexpected encounter with an animal on a trail or an injury. While you can’t prepare for everything, there are a few things you can bring on your walk that might help out in the event things don’t go as planned. These basics include:

  • Identification: You don’t need to carry your full wallet, but having your ID on you at all times is a must.
  • Cash: It’s a good idea to have a small amount of cash on-hand just in case you need to catch a ride home.
  • A whistle: This can help scare off attackers and animals or draw attention to you.
  • Smartphone: This helps you stay in touch with loved ones and call for help, if needed.

Resources: Reflective clothing - including wrist, arm and ankle bands - can be obtained at most safety supply stores.

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Walking_after_dark-BCFSC-Nov_5-2019.pdf

Tow chain breaks while pulling a loaded log truck

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
Location: 
Kootenay Woodlands
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-07-14
Company Name: 
INTERFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A Caterpillar tractor was towing a loaded log truck through a muddy section of the landing to the main haul road. During the tow, the chain snapped, whipping back at the truck with force.

The windshield was broken. No injury to driver. All workers were in the clear.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Safe work procedures must be developed and followed for towing trucks
  • Complete a risk assessment which considers communication plan, workers being in the clear, length of pull, choice of equipment used to pull, connections, inspection of line and rigging, and road obstacles (eg, rock, out-sloped roads, corners)
  • Tow chain or cable must be inspected and deemed adequate strength for the estimated breaking force and weight presented in the tow operation
  • Consider postponing hauling until road conditions have improved.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

John Knapik, Safety Coordinator, Kootenay Woodlands John.Knapik@interfor.com

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Tow_Chain_Breaks-Interfor_Kootenay_Woodlands-June_14-2019.pdf

Propane and Tiger Torch Use for Pile Burning

Safety Alert Type: 
Hand and Power Tools
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-10-24
Company Name: 
MacLeod Forest Services
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Pile burning on harvested sites is well underway.

The trend for ignition tools has shifted from the drip-torch containing a diesel/gas mix to a small propane cylinder and tiger torch.

However, use of propane requires some special considerations.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

General Small Propane Cylinder Safety:

  • Transport cylinders upright and secure
  • Always close the cylinder valve when not in use
  • Never store or transport a filled cylinder inside a vehicle, heated structure or location with poor ventilation (propane is heavier than air)
  • Don’t use outdated cylinders. They must have overflow prevention devices and a pressure relief valve.

Tips for use of tiger torches:

  • Open the tank slowly. One full turn of the valve is usually enough for full flow and allows for quick shut off in an emergency
  • Light the tiger torch at very low flow, Turn the torch off or down for moving from pile to pile
  • When travelling across slope carry the torch on your downhill side. (to avoid falling onto the hot torch in case of a slip, trip or fall)
  • Keep the cylinder level and the torch well away from you when igniting a pile. If tilted an increased flow of liquid propane may come out the torch end causing a mini fireball
  • Inspect the hoses and connections at least daily. Avoid snagging hoses on branches and debris when moving
  • When piles are difficult to ignite, workers might operate the torch at full flow for several minutes. This will cause icing of the tank, hose and fittings and make them brittle. The weakest point is at the hose connections at the tank and torch ends. A broken hose could cause a very high volume of propane to escape and if this occurs while close to open flame, could have serious consequences. Use caution when the hoses are frozen. Consider reinforcing the connection points.

For further information on propane safety consult the Canadian Propane Association web site: https://propane.ca/safety-regulation/

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Doug MacLeod, MacLeod Forest Services

macforserv@gmail.com

(250) 499-1075

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Propane_Use_for_Burning_Piles-October_24-2019.pdf

WorkSafeBC Bulletin: Reducing the risk of injury from spring-assisted folding stakes on log transport trailers

Safety Alert Type: 
Log Hauling
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-09-30
Company Name: 
WorkSafeBC
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A worker was seriously injured while attempting to adjust the tension of a spring-assisted folding stake on a log transport trailer.

The stake extension, which was unsecured, swung down and struck the worker.

This bulletin from WorkSafeBC explains the hazards and describes steps employers and contractors should take to reduce the risk of injury.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

How spring-assisted folding stakes work

Log transport trailers have horizontal bunks with vertical stakes to cradle the log load. Some models of stakes include spring-assisted folding stake  extensions. The ability to fold stakes allows the trailer sections to be stacked safely when empty and meet regulations for vehicle height.

Where the base-stake meets the stake extension,  a spring mechanism allows the extension to fold down and to spring back to a vertical position. The spring mechanism, which consists of one or two springs, needs to be inspected and maintained regularly. Its tension should be adjusted periodically.

The spring mechanism is attached to a chain that runs down the hollow inside part of the base-stake. At the lower part of the base-stake, a link of the chain is secured to a hook-latch. The area around the hook-latch is exposed so a worker can adjust the spring tension. The worker does this by:

1. Detaching the chain link from the hook-latch using a purpose-built steel pry bar

2. Pulling the chain down to increase tension

3. Reattaching the chain to the latch on a new chain link

Recognizing the hazards

Before adjusting the spring tension of folding stakes, consider the following:

  • If a stake extension isn’t fully extended and isn’t secured when it’s vertical, it can fold down suddenly when a worker releases the spring tension.
  • Some pry bars are not suited to the task.
  • The risk of injury can increase due to:

o   Inadequate training

o   A lack of written Safe Work Procedures, or not following such procedures

o   Not using Personal Protective Equipment

Safe work practices

Employers and contractors should do the following:

  • Check with the trailer bunk and stake manufacturer for its procedures on how to adjust the spring tension of folding stakes. Follow those procedures, and ask the manufacturer the following questions:

o   Is there a specially designed tool and method for adjusting spring tension? If yes, is the tool clearly labelled with the brand or make of stakes it should be used with? Do you supply such a tool?

o   How would you recommend safely securing stake extensions before releasing spring tension? Can you supply a stake-securement device or a design for one to be purpose built?

  • Conduct a risk assessment, and develop written Safe Work Procedures for specific job tasks when working on log transport trailers:

o   Specify which equipment to use (e.g., custom-built stake extension securement tools). Make sure the equipment is labelled.

o   Identify safe work zones and “no-go” zones for specific tasks.

o   Identify actions that may lead to sprains, strains, and other musculoskeletal injuries. Take steps to reduce these risks.

  • Train workers on how to adjust the spring tension of folding stakes. Only properly trained workers should do the adjustments.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Visit WorkSafeBC’s Log transportation and Managing risk pages for more information on reducing the risk of injury.

OHS Regulation requirements:

·         Section 26.3, Training

·         Section 26.66, Bunks and stakes

File attachments
WSBC_Bulletin-Spring-assisted_folding_stakes_on_log_trailers-Sept_2019.pdf

September rain creates soft shoulders, other hazards to driving on gravel

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Location: 
Resource roads of British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-09-30
Company Name: 
Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The month of September saw higher than normal rainfall in the interior region (among others). This rainfall has saturated the roads, leaving them in rough shape with washboards, potholes, and soft shoulders all creating added risk to driving on gravel.

Gorman Bros. recorded 4 close calls with contractors in September. All the investigations are not complete but the common factors would suggest soft shoulders are a contributing cause. Vehicles are driving on the road’s edge when it gives way.

Conditions can be misleading since the driver may see tracks on the shoulder, or may have once driven on that shoulder without incident. Heavy rains and winds can cause damage to roads and other infrastructure.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Avoid driving on road edges / shoulders when the road is saturated.
  • Avoid over-steepening road shoulders with loose, unpacked material.
  • Avoid driving on shoulders of the road where there’s a natural dip in the road and water can accumulate, making the shoulders heavy saturated and unstable.
  • Heavy rains contribute to hazardous road conditions like soft shoulders, ruts and accumulations of ditch water.
  • Use RADAR as a tool to assess your surroundings and changes in worksite conditions.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Brenden Tostenson, Westbank, Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd. (250) 768-5131

File attachments
Hazard_Alert-Saturated_Roads-Gorman_Bros-Sept-30-2019.pdf

Faller slip and fall on steep ground

Safety Alert Type: 
Manual Tree Falling
Location: 
Coastal BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-07-29
Company Name: 
INTERFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A hand faller had just wedged over a cedar, cleared the stump and was returning to get his saw. He bent down to pick up the saw and stepped in an unexpected hole, which caused a forward fall.

The faller was unable to stop his fall by grabbing brush and tumbled 40+ feet down an 80%+ slope. He was stopped by trees and brush at the base of the slope. The ground was rocky and covered in salal.

The faller sustained a right arm fracture and a rib fracture. Very fortunate as injuries could have been much worse.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • While on steep terrain, ensure solid foot placement before attempting other tasks.
  • Caulks must be sharp when walking in the woods. Supervisors need to check.
  • Faller escape routes and access/egress trails must be planned and properly cleared of brush and other obstacles.
  • If unforeseen conditions are encountered, stop work, re-assess and seek advice.
  • Fallers/Falling Supervisors need to walk quarters ahead of time and identify hazards including terrain.
  • Supervisors to ensure fallers are fit-for-work before the start of each shift.
  • WorksafeBC OHSR 8.11(4) states that chin straps or other effective means of retention must be used on safety headgear when workers are climbing or working from a height exceeding 3 metres (10 ft), or are exposed to high winds or other conditions that may cause loss of headgear.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Gary Bauer, Coastal Woodlands Operations Gary.Bauer@interfor.com

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert-Faller_Slip_and_Fall_on_Steep_Ground-Interfor_Coastal_Woodlands-July_29-2019.pdf
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