Safety Alert: Deck Hand Injured Near Log Pile

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Safety Alert

BACKGROUND
A logger was working at the 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 by his co-workers 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 hardhat, work boots, face protection and hearing protection, but no high visibility clothing.
UNSAFE ACT OR CONDITION
A skidder was working too closely to the deck hand, who was not wearing high visibility clothing.
ACCIDENT
Throughout the day, the skidder operator pulled logs to the deck, and the deck hand prepared the logs for loading. Eventually, the skidder bumped the log pile with the front blade, sending a log rolling on top of the deck hand.
INJURY
The deck hand fell face-first onto another log. He smashed his nose and mouth and 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 the employer to hold regular safety meetings.
3. The skidder operator is responsible for ensuring that his operations do not create dangers for other workers.
4. Always stay alert to the task at hand. Routine and varied training helps prevent complacency.
(Source: Forest Resources Assn.)