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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

Operator's arm trapped in falling head during repair

Safety Alert Type: 
Mechanical Service (Field)
Location: 
New Zealand
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-02-02
Company Name: 
Rayonier Matariki
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A small pin hole leak had been identified on a Waratah FL95 falling head ram responsible for opening and closing the grapple.

The machine was parked for repair and a service provider called in to carry out the welding needed. Prior to the repair there was some discussion then agreement between the operator and service agent on the best way to approach the task.

To repair (weld) the crack, hydraulic oil had to be removed from the ram. This required the hose connection to the ram valve bank to be released. The operator put his arm through a narrow gap at the grapple hinge point to loosen the connection. This released some but not all of the pressure and as the welding proceeded the ram began to weep oil.

The repair was stopped and the operator put his arm back through the gap and released the residual pressure. This caused the grapple to open (creep) and trap his arm between the super structure and grapple ram. There may have also been some movement in the boom that contributed to the head’s movement.

Compression on his arm involved approximately 25mm of closure movement and it took approximately 20 minutes to free him.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Contributing causes:

  • The crew’s Job Safety Analysis (JSA) for R&M wasn’t followed. If it had, a different process would have been used (ie: Position the falling head in a safe and stable position before removing the valve bank cover and releasing any stored pressure. Then move the falling head to a suitable work position for the welding) – in other words the machine had been positioned to best suit the weld, not the hose removal
  • The recommended isolation and tag out procedure was not followed (the harvester was isolated but not tagged out - the tag was in the harvester)
  • The most experienced member of the crew was working on another machine at the time of the incident. He had been involved in the earlier induction of the service agent onto the site but not directing overseeing the repair, as he normally would
  • Despite good production, prior breakdowns may have put perceived pressure on operator
  • During the hose removal the machine’s boom may have crept forward. This may have contributed to the rolling of the falling head and movement of the grapple arm.

Preventative Measures:

  • Always ensure those carrying out the task are familiar with and follow established safe practices for the repair or maintenance task at hand (includes crew procedures and the manufacturer’s maintenance manuals)
  • If there in insufficient guidance, ensure a risk assessment is carried out
  • High risk work must be adequately supervised, where skill or experience is still being developed
  • Where two or people are undertaking an R&M task, agree on who is in charge
  • Ensure the boom is stable.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 
File attachments
Alert_New_Zealand-Operators_Arm_Trapped_in_Falling_Head-during_Repair-Feb-2-2019.pdf

Faller suffers from heat exhaustion without realizing it; Narrowly escapes danger

Safety Alert Type: 
Manual Tree Falling
Location: 
New Zealand
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-02-01
Company Name: 
Rayonier Matariki
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A manual tree faller was working on a hot day. As the afternoon progressed he noticed he was having trouble sharpening his saw. He then made a small mistake on a cut.

At this point the faller thought, ‘What’s going on here?’ He then felled a tree which got hung up. As he was walking to the next tree to drive out the hang up, the hung up tree snapped due to the loading the tree was under. The butt bounced up and brushed past the faller knocking him to the ground. Whilst on the ground the faller saw the head of the hang up flying through the air directly towards him. He rolled out of the way and the head landed next to him.

The faller called it quits after this and went up to his vehicle. The temperature gauge in the vehicle was reading 35° celsius.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

The faller was fatigued and dehydrated despite the fact that he had consumed 5 litres of water over the day. Given the heat of the day his brain was too hot and not able to recognise the signs of fatigue kicking in.

Normally an experienced faller like this would be able to sharpen a chain without issue, however, due to heat exhaustion and fatigue he was struggling with the simple tasks. The concerning aspect is that due to heat exhaustion the faller could not recognise where the issues were coming from!

This compounded the problem as the chain was not cutting right, then the cuts became hard to get right. This resulted in the direction of the fall being affected leading to the hang up. When the brain is not working correctly because it is too hot, how does it tell you to stop?

Controls: Heat exhaustion risks need to be managed before a situations like this develop. Ie: stop fallers (or other workers in physically demanding tasks) before they get to a heat exhausted state. On days that are predicted to be 30° + make sure a suitable plan is made at the morning tailgate. That might mean reviewing work at noon.

The faller may need to stop work to avoid working through the heat of the afternoon. What are 2 hours less of falling going to achieve in the overall scheme of things = Nothing. It is also a responsibility of the crew to check in on the faller and make sure he is feeling ok and managing the conditions. Have they had a break recently? Do they have enough water on board? How are the concentration levels? Do they need an observer?

  • Check in with your faller and make sure he’s feeling ok
  • If it gets hot, 30°+, reassess. Can the work be done safely? Pulling the pin and continung tomorrow morning when it’s cooler may be the better option
  • Site aspect (north facing), slope, degree of difficulty are additional considerations. Would an observer or rotating fallers assist?
  • Be aware - warning signs are hard to recognise when the brain and body is running at a hot temperature.
  • Make sure you have cold water as it will help cool your internal body temperature (and therefore cool your brain) whereas warm water only hydrates and does not cool.
  • Use Squencher to keep the electrolyte levels up in your system.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 
File attachments
Alert_New_Zealand-Heat_exhaustion_while_falling_trees-Feb_1_2019.pdf

Stabiliser ram failure & Tower collapse

Safety Alert Type: 
Yarding and Loading
Location: 
New Zealand
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-08-01
Company Name: 
Rayonier Matariki
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

While repositioning the hauler, the stabilizer ram failed resulting in the pole collapsing backwards.

Sequence of Events: The hauler (Madill 172 - tracked) was being turned on the same landing for the next setting. Guy ropes had been slackened (not connected to stumps) and had big bellies. The tower was positioned at 70ft.

The main rope was connected to an Acme carriage with the clamps on. The carriage was located in front of the hauler and no other working ropes were connected at the time of the incident. The crew were running straw line ready for the hauler to pick up after it had been repositioned and the guy ropes re-tensioned. There were no other persons working on the landing or behind the hauler at the time.

The hauler driver was about to push the lever that would place the tower in its correct pulling position, when he saw the Acme carriage moving toward the hauler. There was a bang and the tower fell to the ground behind the hauler.

Contributing Factors:

  • Failure of the stabilizer ram - there was a failure with the connection of the piston to the ram. The piston is normally done up very tight and held in place by a grub screw and sometimes Loctite (or similar). In this case the stabilizer ram didn’t have grub screws installed. This allowed the stabilizer ram to pull apart after the piston unscrewed from the end of the ram. The grub screws are not visible so without taking the ram apart there would be no way to know they were installed. Standard annual tower inspections would not pick this up. Photo 3: Safety Strop (chain) example Photo 4: Severed lifting ram (consequence of stabilizer ram separation and tower collapse)
  • A snap guy (front guy rope) was not in use as a safety precaution. The snap gut would not have prevented the stabilizer rams from failing, but would have reduced the risk of the tower falling
  • The tower should be in the travel position or at least lowered to 50 foot to move and rig. This greatly increases stability and reduces the chance of failure due (as per manufacturer’s recommendations)
  • A safety strop (chain) could have been fitted on the stabilizer ram. While a strop would not have prevented the ram failing, it would have prevented the tower falling over when the ram failed.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Prevention - what can be done to prevent recurrence?

  • In this scenario it is best practice to use a snap guy to counter forces from behind the hauler. It is recommended that this is put in place at the same time as the guy ropes are connected and before lifting/tensioning. A snap guy can be any of the 3 working ropes (Sky, Main or Tail, depending on the system being used.) This process should be carried out at 50 foot before any of the guy ropes are tensioned.
  • It is not recommended that the hauler is moved whilst the tower is at 70 foot. This could create a pendulum effect and make the hauler unstable. This will create extra weight and stress on the stabilizer ram and other parts of the tower. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for shifting machine.
  • Install a suitable strength safety strop (chain) on the stabiliser ram. This will help prevent the tower from falling over in the event of stabiliser ram failure.
  • Do not assume that the area directly behind a hauler is a safe zone. In this case there were log stacks behind the hauler.
  • Mark and monitor the length of exposed hydraulic ram to confirm separation is not occurring.
  • Ensure that only competent and qualified experts perform maintenance / repair work on machinery, especially safety critical components.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 
File attachments
Alert_New_Zealand-Stabiliser_Ram_Failure_and_Tower_Collapse-Aug_1-2018.pdf

Choker setter struck when hung-up turn clears

Safety Alert Type: 
Yarding and Loading
Location: 
Washington State
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2018-04-01
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.

Recommendations

  • 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.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 
File attachments
Alert_Choker_Setter_Struck_When_Hung-up_Turn_Clears-Apr-1-2018.pdf

INCIDENT INVESTIGATION REPORT - Worker struck by cedar slab during log loading

Safety Alert Type: 
Yarding and Loading
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2016-07-29
Company Name: 
WorkSafeBC
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A log loader operator had just finished loading salvaged logs onto a logging truck as part of a roadside log-salvaging operation. The truck driver was standing next to the logging truck. A cedar slab weighing about 380 pounds fell from the top of the load and struck the truck driver, who sustained serious injuries.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

WorkSafeBC Investigation Conclusions:

Cause: Worker in active loading zone. A log loader had just finished putting salvaged logs onto a logging truck and trailer. Before the loader operator lowered his grapple to the ground to signal that loading was complete, the truck driver moved to stand beside the rear of the truck cab to begin putting binders on the load. While the truck driver was near the rear of the cab, the loader operator was swinging the boom toward the side of the truck where the truck driver was standing. As the operator was swinging the boom, he noticed a slab of wood sticking out of the load and moved the loader’s grapple toward the slab to adjust it. Just then, the slab slid off the truck, striking the truck driver, who sustained serious injuries.

Contributing Factors:

  • Worker did not follow safe work instructions. The truck driver had attended a worker discussion where the prime contractor gave specific instructions that truck drivers were to stay in their trucks during loading and unloading procedures. Contrary to the instructions, the truck driver moved next to the log trailer while log loading was underway.
  • Work activities not coordinated. The prime contractor did not coordinate the work of the loader operator and truck driver, and failed to ensure that these workers followed safe work procedures while loading the salvaged logs.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 
File attachments
Incident_Investigation_WSBC-Worker_Struck_by_Cedar_Slab-July_2016.pdf

INCIDENT INVESTIGATION REPORT - Skidder operator fatally struck by tree

Safety Alert Type: 
Yarding and Loading
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2015-07-31
Company Name: 
WorkSafeBC
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Workers were performing downhill cable logging (grapple yarding) at a forestry operation. A yarder was landing timber onto the single-width road, and a loader was forwarding the timber to a skidder that was just outside the cutblock boundary.

The skidder operator was beside the skidder with the slope above him. A small, non-merchantable tree slid downslope, treetop first. The yarder operator and then the loader operator sounded audible signals to alert all workers of the potential hazard.

The skidder operator, with his back to the slope and the runaway tree, began to move farther away. The tree continued downslope, went outside the cutblock boundary, and fatally struck the skidder operator.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

WorkSafeBC Investigation Conclusions:

Cause: Tree struck worker after being disturbed by yarding activity. A small, non-merchantable tree was disturbed by yarding activity and slid downslope outside the cutblock boundary toward the worker, who was standing on the road outside the skidder. The tree struck the worker, and he died from his injuries.

Contributing Factors:

  • Hazards not adequately identified. The holder of the forest licence, in the harvest plan, identified steep slopes and the potential for rolling boulders to move downslope toward workers. A safety meeting was not conducted when the workers moved to the new workplace, where the incident occurred. Workplace inspections would have identified additional evidence of uncontrolled hazards that could move downslope as well as hazards that had moved downslope — other non-merchantable trees that had slid toward the same area as the incident location. Workplace inspections were inadequate, and unsafe working conditions occurred.
  • Inadequate work procedures. Work procedures in place at the time of the incident positioned the yarder, loader, and skidder operators in a hazardous location. While yarding downhill, the yarder disturbed timber and debris on the slope. Even though rocks and debris had previously come downslope uncontrolled, work procedures were not changed to mitigate the hazards.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 
File attachments
Incident_Investigation_WSBC-Skidder_Operator_Fatal-July_2015.pdf

Hazard Alert: Avalanche warning issued for BC back country (including Vancouver Island)

Safety Alert Type: 
Ground Conditions
Location: 
British Columbia mountain ranges
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-03-18
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Avalanche Canada has issued a Special Public Avalanche Warning, in effect immediately. The warning is widespread and applies to all the forecast regions in western Canada. For a detailed view of the regions involved click here for map (also posted on page 3 of attached pdf).

Due to the major warming trend this week and the persistent weak layers in the snowpack, people are cautioned to select Simple Terrain. Simple Terrain implies lower angled slopes generally under 30 degrees where multiple options exist to eliminate your exposure to avalanche terrain.

In forested areas, keep an eye up for tree bombs as vegetation will continue to shed snow from their limbs over the next few days. Those heading to the mountains for work or recreation should also be aware that many popular summer trails are exposed to avalanche terrain. Plan ahead and research your route to make sure you are avoiding these areas.

There is a Special Public Avalanche Warning (SPAW) on Vancouver Island due to the sustained warming trend taking place for the next several days on the coast.

Avalanche Problems:

• Cornice Fall - Above mountain top freezing levels will further weaken cornices that developed over the past week from extreme winds and new snow. Be very cautious in terms of your route selection and do not travel below slopes with overhead exposure from cornices.

• Wet Slab - Recent snowfall and wind events from this past week may provide appropriate bed surfaces for initiating avalanches due to major heating trend over the next few days. Slopes steeper than 30 degrees that received rainfall or wet snow will be further aggravated by rising warm temperatures.

• Loose Wet - The increase in temperature will add increased stress to the upper snowpack. Expect isothermal type conditions below treeline as the upper snow pack has undergone a major temperature shift from cold to warm and snowfall to rainfall. Slopes steeper than 30 degrees are now exposed to a major warming trend over the next few days and will become very likely areas to trigger avalanches.

• Deep Persistent Slab - Two persistent weak layers (PWL’s) down 40-60cm and 60-80cm (depending on aspect and elevation) will become likely to trigger on unsupported terrain steeper than 30 degrees. The upper snowpack will begin a sustained melting process for the next few days which will bring additional load and stress to these PWL’s, further increasing the likelihood of triggering.

• Persistent Slab - There are several reactive persistent weak layers in the upper 60cm of the Vancouver Island snowpack. These issues will become increasingly more hazardous with forecasted wind loading (Thursday), rain loading (Friday) and the general warming air temperatures this weekend. Be extremely vigilant as these layers remain a main concern despite no new reports of human triggered avalanches. As temperatures rise, expect the likelihood of triggering to increase for these layers.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Recommended Preventative Actions: Avalanche Canada warns all backcountry users to keep careful track of their regional avalanche forecasts at www.avalanche.ca. Everyone in a backcountry party needs the essential rescue gear - transceiver, probe and shovel - and the knowledge to use it.

Avalanche risk assessment and safety plan: Forestry operations should keep in mind Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 4.1.1(2), which states: if a person working at a workplace may be exposed to a risk associated with an avalanche, the employer must ensure that no work is carried out at the workplace until

(a) a written avalanche risk assessment is completed, and

(b) if the avalanche risk assessment indicates that a person working at the workplace will be exposed to a risk associated with an avalanche, a written avalanche safety plan is developed and implemented.

(3) The avalanche risk assessment must be conducted by a qualified person.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Avalanche Canada (250) 837-2141 or by email: info@avalanche.ca

File attachments
Hazard_Alert_Avalanche_Warning-Rising_Temps-3-18-2019.pdf

Trailer reach failure leads to load of logs spilling from tipped trailer

Safety Alert Type: 
Log Hauling
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-03-04
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

The log truck driver was not familiar with the ANSER Trailer Reach operation, and overextended reach. The air lock system pin on the trailer did not lock into the telescoping reach and the only thing holding the telescoping reach together was the Reach Stops. However, the Reach Stops were not of adequate strength and the trailer broke free, flopped onto its side, spreading logs onto the pavement and ditch. This was a single vehicle incident with no injuries.

Potential Hazards:

  • Loss of control of vehicle
  • Trailer or load could cause a multi-vehicle accident
  • Potential for injury or fatalities

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Reach Stops should be of adequate strength to prevent trailer separation
  • Telescoping reaches should be inspected at every Trip Inspection and maintained as per the manufacturers’ specifications
  • In some cases, a secondary set of safety chains may be required (as pictured in the attached pdf)
  • Drivers should be trained on the correct operation of trailer reaches.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 
File attachments
Safety_Alert_Canfor-Trailer_Reach_Failure_Mar-4-2019.pdf

Serious Incidents: Driving and Radio Use

Safety Alert Type: 
Vehicles
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-03-01
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Incident Summaries

Jan 30: On the North road in Vanderhoof, a logging truck was passing a grader when a lowbed came around a corner. Both vehicles tried to brake but slid on ice and hit the ditch sustaining property damage.

Jan 30: A truck heading up on the North road met a truck coming around the corner, which was on the wrong side of the road. The vehicles almost collided.

Feb 14: Another near miss on the North road at the 20km mark. A logging truck heading down was in the middle of the road forcing a pickup heading up to the far edge of road, narrowly missing the other truck.

There have been several clipped mirrors and property damage with vehicles passing by each other too fast.

Near Prince George, a driver slid on icy roads and got stuck in a snow bank on railway tracks. Luckily help arrived in a timely manner and no incident occurred.

Potential Hazards:

  • Vehicles travelling on wrong side of road
  • Slippery road conditions
  • Losing control when braking on icy roads
  • Driving surface of road is narrower in winter with snow banks
  • Inexperienced drivers not recognizing risk
  • Not using radio to communicate location
  • Other users of resource roads not driving responsibly
  • Brushed in roads reducing sight lines
  • Missing km signs
  • Animals on road.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Call km’s and let drivers know where other vehicles are on the roads
  • Recognize slippery conditions and slow down
  • Pull over early - Don’t rush pull outs
  • Stay to the right side of the road
  • Expect the unexpected and drive with enough time to safely react
  • Up traffic should clear for down traffic
  • Recognize driving surface of roads might be reduced in winter with snow banks
  • Follow-up with Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure regarding road hazards on public road systems.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Kori Vernier at Kori.Vernier@canfor.com

 

File attachments
Safety_Alert_Canfor-Driving_Radio_Use_03-1-2019.pdf
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