A logger was trimming trees between skid trails on an overcast winter day in the South.
The 45-year-old worked as a logger for 25 years and trimmed trees for his company for four years. His company had a good safety program (requiring the use of high visibility clothing) and a supervisor who enforced it. The logger normally adhered to his company’s policy regarding the use of high visibility clothing. The supervisor was out sick the day the accident occurred.
UNSAFE ACT OR CONDITION
When the logger arrived at work, a co-worker pointed out to him that he was not wearing the proper high visibility clothing. The logger shrugged off his co-worker’s observation, thinking nothing serious would happen.
A skidder operator pulling a drag approached within 10 feet of the logger who was not wearing high visibility clothing. As the skidder passed by, a log fishtailed and bounced up, hitting the logger. The skidder operator later stated he never saw the bystander.
The log landed on the logger’s legs, breaking his left ankle and right leg in two places. Because his injuries were so severe, he spent eight months undergoing surgery and physical therapy before he could return to work.
There are at least two preventive measures that can be implemented to avoid a similar accident from occurring:
1) Ensure ground personnel and heavy equipment operators work at safe distances from one another.
2) Ensure all personnel wear high visibility clothing to allow for easier observation by others.