Safety Alert: Worker Injured Near Log Pile

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Safety Alert

BACKGROUND
A logger was working at a deck, trimming, bucking and topping logs on a warm spring day in the South.
PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS
The 31-year-old deck hand had 11 years of experience in logging. He was well-liked and did not have a record of working unsafely. His company did not have any type of safety program in place, written or verbal. The logger’s personal protective equipment consisted of a hard hat, work boots, face protection, and hearing protection, but no high visibility clothing.
UNSAFE ACT OR CONDITION
A skidder was operating too closely to the employee working on the deck, who was not wearing high visibility clothing.
ACCIDENT
Throughout the day, the skidder operator pulled logs to the deck, and the deck hand prepared them for loading. Eventually, the skidder bumped the log pile with the front blade, sending a log crashing on top of the deck hand.
INJURY
The deck hand fell face-first onto another log. He smashed his nose and mouth, fractured his skull, all his ribs and his left ankle. He suffers from short-term memory loss and is unable to return to work as a logger.
RECOMMENDATIONS
The deck hand and his co-workers became too comfortable with their work and failed to recognize a hazardous situation. The following are a few preventive measures:

1. Employees should wear high visibility clothing at all times.
2. OSHA requires all logging employees to be trained in hazards they may be exposed to, and it requires employers to hold regular safety meetings.
3. The skidder operator is responsible for ensuring that his work does not create a hazard for other employees.
4. Always stay alert to the task at hand. Regular and varied training helps prevent complacency.
(Source: Forest Resources Assn.)