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HAZARD: Hammering hard steel

Safety Alert Type: 
Hand and Power Tools
Location: 
Coastal Woodlands
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-07-27
Company Name: 
INTERFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

After splicing a haulback, the worker used a hard steel hammer to drive a marlin spike to remove a log staple that had been used to secure the wire rope to a log.

While hammering, a shard broke off the marlin spike and hit the Hooktender in the back of the left hand penetrating his glove. He was working approximately 7 feet away.

A plastic surgeon removed the metal shard as it was embedded close to tendons and nerves. This had the potential to be much more serious.

This was a repeat of similar very serious incidents (using hard steel hammer on hard steel) that happened in April 2017 and April 2019.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • NEVER hammer hard steel with hard steel
  • Use the correct tools for the job - A soft steel hammer. “Railway Spikes” are better than staples to hold wire. Mounted splicing box is the best.
  • Always wear proper PPE when hammering or grinding steel.
  • Workers need to take the time to identify hazards, conduct adequate risk assessments and follow Safe Work Procedures, regardless of repetitive or routine tasks.
  • Speak up if you see a safety hazard or potential issue. Help look after fellow workers’ safety.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

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

 

File attachments
Hazard_Alert-Hammering_Hard_Steel-Interfor_Coastal_Woodlands-July_27-2019.pdf

ATV roll-over in cross ditch on deactivated road

Safety Alert Type: 
Vehicles
Location: 
Camoo Creek (near Lillooet, BC)
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-07-12
Company Name: 
Transition Forestry Ltd.
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A crew was using All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) to access a work area on a de-activated resource road.

Riding the ATV through a cross-ditch, with the rear wheels in the bottom of the ditch and the front wheels at the upper lip, something caused the front wheels to spin (possibly a rock was dislodged from the lip of the cross-ditch and went under one of the front wheels).

When the spinning front wheels contacted the ground, the sudden torque caused the ATV to flip straight over backwards. The operator had no time to dismount the ATV and it landed on him, with some part of the handlebar contacting (crushing) his right arm.

The worker was transported to hospital in Lillooet by ATV and pickup. A large cut to the worker’s forearm required a dozen stitches. The worker was unable to carry out field work for a week after the incident.

Note: The crew had negotiated 10-15 similar cross-ditches with no issues before this incident.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Assess all cross-ditches individually for hazards before entry and exit on an ATV
  • With deactivation planning, consider the requirements for access by ATV for follow-up assessments or silviculture work. Give specific parameters for construction, communicate this and supervise machine operators when constructing cross-ditches
  • Consider after-market, bolt on, crash protection devices. These do not prevent roll-overs but can reduce the severity of injuries / machine damage in the event of a roll-over.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Simon Warhurst, RFT Transition Forestry Ltd. transition@telus.net

 

File attachments
Hazard_Alert-ATV_rollover-Transition_Forestry_July_12-2019.pdf

Wildfire water pump fuel can go stale; Pumps may run poorly, or not start at all

Safety Alert Type: 
Firefighting
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-07-09
Company Name: 
MacLeod Forest Services
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Pumps kept at a forestry operation for wildfire response may not be run regularly enough through the season to circulate old fuel. These pumps are emergency equipment.

Modern fuels deteriorate rapidly (as little as 30-60 days) and can cause gumming in the pump fuel system. This may create the possibility of the pump performing poorly or not starting.

Using marked gas makes the problem worse. Fuel stabilizers provide limited success in preventing this problem.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • When storing the pump, even for only a short time, empty the old fuel and fill the tank with *Alkylate fuel. Run for 5 minutes so the carburetor and fuel system have the new fuel throughout. This fuel will remain good for two years and eliminate the potential for gumming jets and fuel lines.
  • Normal gas can be used during ongoing response activities but should be replaced with the Alkylate fuel when the pump is going back into storage.

*While considerably more expensive, the Alkylate fuel will reduce pump maintenance costs and help ensure it is running efficiently when needed for emergency use. There are several brands of alkylate fuel and it is available at most small engine/power tool stores in two and four stroke versions.

Other pump-related issues identified during training and drills:

  • Storage of equipment and supplies - Establish a central location; Secured storage; Pre-hookup of components for readiness (best practices)
  • Shutdown and Storage Procedures - Shutting the fuel off and running the carb dry is a common practice but not recommended as there is always a little bit of fuel left that deteriorates rapidly.
  • Several pumps were observed stored with the fuel supply valve left open. The float valve may stick open and if the fuel supply is open the combustion chamber and crank case can fill with gas rendering the pump inoperable.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Doug MacLeod, MacLeod Forest Services (250) 499-1075 macforserv@gmail.com

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Fire_Pump_Fuel_Issues-MacLeod FS-July 9-2019.pdf

Bear Aware!

Safety Alert Type: 
Wildlife encounter
Location: 
near Tumbler Ridge
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-06-24
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

An experienced hiker and Canfor summer student was mauled by a bear near Tumbler Ridge, luckily escaping serious injury.

In the individual's words,  “… as I turned to reach for my bear spray I noticed the bear cub...I looked back to see where the mother was and in that span of 2 seconds she had already covered 15m towards me. I dropped to the ground and protected my belly along a log. The second I hit the ground she was on top of me. She pounced on me pushing me into the ground several times and then sniffed around my head before she walked away back to her cub.”

Potential Hazards:

  • Encountering a bear with cubs, food or territory it wants to defend
  • Noisy Site Conditions – It is harder for a bear to smell or hear you if it’s raining and/or you’re working in thick brush, into the wind or along a stream
  • Encountering attractants – food, garbage or carrion
  • Working alone – less intimidating to dangerous animals than group

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Watch for signs of bears – fresh scratches high up on tree, fresh kill, diggings and bear dung
  • Carry bear spray on your body at all times and ensure it has not expired and has been stored properly (above -10*C and below 50*C)
  • Work in pairs in areas with high bear activity
  • Make lots of noise to avoid surprising a bear. Talking or singing loudly can be more effective than bear bells and whistles
  • Make more noise if the situation could result in a bear not being able to smell or hear you (If raining, brushy, you are working into the wind or near a flowing stream)
  • If you identify a bear kill site or very recent bear activity, leave the block and don’t return for a few days
  • Know how to identify a grizzly from a black bear and understand behavior that signals different types of attack and how to respond www.bearsmart.com/work/overview
  • If you encounter a bear, keep your eye on the bear and turn your back as little as possible as you move away
  • Communicate bear sightings or aggressive behaviour to others.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Kori Vernier at kori.vernier@canfor.com

 

Stem enters processor cab, close call for operator

Safety Alert Type: 
Yarding and Loading
Location: 
New Zealand
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-05-30
Company Name: 
Rayonier matariki Forests
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A hauler crew was shovelling wood away from the hauler, downhill towards a landing where the processor was positioned. They were running two stockpiles, one where the processor was and another stockpile on the hill, midway between the hauler and the processor.

To mitigate the risk of a runaway stem, they rigged up the winch-assisted felling machine to shovel the wood away from the hauler and down the hill, instead of “throwing” the wood down the hill towards the processor. The two stockpiles were situated at different angles to combat the possibility of a runaway stem heading towards the processor.

The processor had a breakdown and the operator had to change a hydraulic hose. While the processor was away, the other machine continued shovelling wood, creating a substantial stack that was as high as the cab door. The processor came back and the shovelling machine (felling machine) left to do some falling in another part of the block. There were no other machines working the face above the processor at the time of the incident.

The processor operator was cutting up wood, when a stem dislodged itself from the first stockpile. The stem hit some of the heads in the stockpile that the processor was working on. This managed to turn the stem and it went in the direction of the processor. The stem went in between the lift rams, past the boom and had enough force to destroy the operator protective structure and partially entered the cab. It struck the operator on the right arm - thankfully the velocity was reduced and the operator only suffered bruising. The stem hit with such force that it bent both lifting rams.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • The crew performed an operation that they have successfully undertaken before and is not uncommon in harvesting operations, they initially mitigated the risk by ensuring that the stockpiles changed direction to the processor and used the winch-assisted machine to shovel and place stems and to feed the processor.
  • The hauler was due to shift the same day and they had identified an area of gentler slope that would become the “chute” down to the processor.
  • The runaway tree managed to get up to the height of the cab due to the height of the stockpile next to the processor.
  • The shovelling machine should have stopped feeding wood to the processor stockpile after the processor had a breakdown.
  • The processor was working right next to and slightly underneath the stockpile.
  • The operator protective structure performed as it should have and saved the operator from significant harm.
  • Although this machine has current and valid OPS, FOPSand ROPS protection, the escape hatch is unprotected and was exposed to the hazard everytime the processor turned away from the stockpile to place wood in his cut-pile.

Recommendations:

  • Retrofit a guard on the escape hatch that can be opened from inside the cab and from outside the cab. All machines performing a task where there is a potential for a log the enter the escape hatch, should have adequate protection fitted.
  • Avoid working under stockpiles.
  • Always move machines to safe areas to perform maintenance.
  • Don’t presume that stems are stable, and they won’t move.
  • Install higher lift ram guards.

This incident resulted in machine damage exceeding $50,000, but thankfully the operator walked away with only a bruised arm.

Operator protective structures are effective if they are certified and inspected annually. Ensure that protective structures are re-certified after major structural damage.

Although operator protective structures are effective, the operator should not be over confident and believe that they can’t be injured inside the cab.

Always position your machine as safely as possible and don’t hesitate to stop the operation when you feel at risk.

File attachments
Alert-New_Zealand-Stem_Enters_Processor_Cab-May_30-2019.pdf

Splinter lodges in tree spacer’s arm

Safety Alert Type: 
Silviculture
Location: 
New Zealand
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-06-17
Company Name: 
Rayonier matariki Forests
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

As a tree spacer (also known as Thinning to Waste Operator in New Zealand) moved between trees his foot slipped on pine needles, down a small drop off (60cm).

While falling forward and trying to regain his balance, his left arm hit a small branch he had just trimmed. The branch pierced his skin and a large splinter (approximately 40mm long by 7mm wide and 2 mm thick) broke off and lodged in his forearm.

The worker received medical treatment to remove the splinter and returned to work the following day .

Ground conditions as a contributing factor:

  • Small drop off concealed by pine needles
  • Dry conditions combined with rolling to steep terrain contributed to slippery under foot conditions
  • Visibility of surrounding area slightly affected while moving and cutting through undergrowth

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Watch foot placement and be aware of your surroundings.

What worked well during this incident?

  • The crewalways had radio communication with each other and responded to the call for help quickly
  • The worker was working near an experienced tree spacer
  • The injured worker, with only 3 months’ tree thinning experience, followed proper emergency procedure
  • The crew did well to transport the injured worker to the hospital quickly and efficiently.

 

File attachments
Alert_New_Zealand-Splinter_Lodges_in_Tree_Spacers_Arm-June_17-2019.pdf

BC Hydro Public Safety Update - June 2019

Safety Alert Type: 
Other
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-06-14
Company Name: 
BC Hydro
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Workers can be exposed to the serious hazard of electricity in a number of occupations. Members of the public are also at risk.

BC Hydro reminds everyone to avoid downed power lines, always look up and identify overhead hazards, and follow safe excavation practices by calling BC One Call before you dig (at 1-800-474-6886).

Here are some selected incidents for the period of April – June:

Learnings and Suggestions: 

SAFETY INCIDENTS - Trees and Forestry

  • A crew responded to a wire down call. Upon arrival, they discovered that a member of the public had cut a tree into the high voltage line and was still bucking up the tree near the ungrounded line.
  • A crew responded to tree on wire call. When PLT arrived the PLT could see evidence of the tree being cut.
  • A feller buncher operator grabbed a tree and it broke off falling on a high voltage line.
  • A customer decided to clear vines growing on his house service connection with a reciprocating saw (“Sawzall”). During the clearing process he cut through the service wire and experienced an arc.
  • A crew responded to a call of a tree on a service. When they arrived on scene, it was a tree on the high voltage line that was still energized. The tree was approx. 5' from metal gate on driveway. The customer was approaching the gate and the crew told them to stand clear.
  • A crew responded to a call of a tree on a service. When they arrived it was apparent that customer had been trying to remove tree from the service himself.
  • A feller buncher working near a line cut a tree and the top appears to have broken off and come through the high voltage line.
  • A homeowner borrowed a man lift from a friend to trim several large trees in preparation to cut them down. He lost control of a limb and it fell into the line to his property.
  • A customer cut down a tree on his property. It brought down a span of high voltage line and blew the fuse.

SAFETY INCIDENTS - Other sectors

  • An excavator moving in a yard with its boom up hooked onto a communication line and broke a pole. The pole landed on a parked logging truck and 3 spans of high voltage line also came down.
  • An excavator was removing large trees located approximately 40 feet from a high voltage line by pushing them over in the direction opposite to power line. Tree roots caused tree to pivot and fall in wrong direction, contacting a high voltage line.

Electrical Safety Awareness Training BC Hydro provides electrical safety awareness training for trades workers, first responders, and members of the public who may have interaction with our facilities. The training is provided free of charge, and it is available both online and in person. For details visit www.bchydro.com/safetytraining

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Marc Spencer, BC Hydro Public Safety, at 604-528-1952 or by email at marc.spencer@bchydro.com

 

File attachments
BC Hydro Public Safety Update-June 2019.pdf

Machine rolls over on unstable ground

Safety Alert Type: 
Mechanized Harvesting
Location: 
West Kootenay Region
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-05-27
Company Name: 
BC EcoChips Ltd
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

While working with a Hoe Chucker in a cut block the operator placed his downhill track on some unstable brush and organic material. When the material collapsed the machine gently rolled onto its side (see photo in attached pdf).

The operator was uninjured and the machine sustained cosmetic damage only. No fluids or fuel leaked from the machine.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Whenever harvesting equipment operates on slopes care must be taken to ensure the stability of the machine. This includes operators making sure they are always on firm stable ground and not on top of piled debris or organic material.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Bill Sparks bill@bcecochips.ca

 

File attachments
Alert-Machine Roll Over-May 27-2019-BC Eco Chips.pdf

Advisory for Grapple Yarder Crews: Change in voice command

Safety Alert Type: 
Other
Location: 
British Columbia forestry operations
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-06-03
Company Name: 
WorkSafeBC
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

WorkSafeBC has introduced a change to Occupational Health and Safety Regulation that impacts crews working with grapple yarder systems (effective June 3, 2019).

In Table 26-8 Voice Commands for Grapple Yarders, when instructing an operator to grapple the log and go ahead (Item #1), the voice command changes from “CLOSE AND GO” to “TAKE IT”.

The original voice command was found to be too similar to other commands.

Table 26-8 should be amended to refer to “TAKE IT” as the voice command in Item #1 (see attached pdf).

Learnings and Suggestions: 

This table is located in Part 26 of the OHS Regulation (Forestry Operations and Similar Activities).

WorkSafeBC web link: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/law-policy/occupational-health-safety/searchable-ohs-regulation/ohs-regulation/part-26-forestry-operations#SectionNumber:26.99

It can also be found in the BC Forest Safety Council’s Selected Excerpts from Workers Compensation Act, Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and Motor Vehicle Act Regulations (Version: December 5, 2018)

File attachments
Advisory_for_Grapple_Yarder_Crews-Voice_Commands_Table_26-8-June_3-2019.pdf

Steep slope tether line breaks after being damaged by bucket move

Safety Alert Type: 
Winch-Assist Harvesting
Location: 
Washington State
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-05-01
Company Name: 
Washington State Department of Labour & Industries
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The operator of a steep slope machine on a two-line tethered logging system had a near-miss when one of the cables broke at the connection socket after it was damaged during base machine repositioning.

The operator had over 20 years of experience, and had over 500 hours on a tethered system. Before the incident, the operator needed to reposition the base machine to begin cutting a new strip. He disconnected the lines and chains from the cutting machine. The park break was set so that the lines could not feed in or out of the drums.

As he moved the base machine, the termination points dangled near the lower sheaves. While he was digging in the bucket, he heard a “pop” and saw one of the lines whip against the boom. When he finished securing the bucket, he got out of the base machine and reconnected both lines to the steep slope machine. He glanced at the termination points while hooking them up, but didn’t stop to thoroughly inspect them.

When he finished hooking up, he got into the steep slope machine (SSM), took up the slack in the lines, and put it into automatic mode. Then he began walking the machine down the 40% slope. After just a few feet, the operator felt a jerk from the direction of the base machine behind him up the hill. He looked back and saw that one of the tether lines had broken at the termination point. He immediately stopped the machine and called his supervisor.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Root Causes: The 7/8” swaged wire rope tether line was severely damaged at the termination point after the socket was caught on the bucket. When the operator started to walk the steep slope machine downhill, the line broke at relatively low tension.

An investigation found that the flat edge of the socket could catch against the lower sheave housing when the bucket was being moved, which can cause damage to the wire rope.

The line and termination point should have been inspected after the operator heard an unusual sound and saw it whip. The owner and operator both reported that they had regularly seen the lines come tight when repositioning the base machine, but didn’t recognize that it could indicate a problem or potential line damage.

Recommendations:

  • Always inspect cables and connections after repositioning base machine
  • Test components after repositioning the base machine before starting up work by putting the system into auto high tension and move the SSM back and forth on gentle ground while observing the line and connection points
  • Stop and thoroughly inspect lines if something unusual occurs. In this case the “popping” sound and line whip should have triggered an inspection
  • Make sure the termination point sockets are positioned so that they cannot rub or catch on the lower sheaves on the boom arm before moving the base machine or the bucket
  • Bevel the edges on the sheave so that the flat edge of the socket cannot catch on it
  • Keep line tension low and do not set the parking brake when digging in the bucket.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 
File attachments
Alert_Steep_Slope_Tether_Cable_Breaks-May-1-2018.pdf
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