Safety Alert: Driver Falls, Injured Improperly Binding Slasher

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Safety Alert

Background

On a hot, summer day in the South, a truck driver was binding a slasher saw to the frame of a knuckleboom loader trailer before transporting the loader to a new tract.
Personal Characteristics
The truck driver had worked for the logging company for three years and had 18 years of experience as a truck driver. He was wearing footwear that provided ankle support. The logging company had a comprehensive safety plan, held regular safety meetings and had a good overall safety record.
Unsafe Act or Condition

While standing on the narrow frame of the loader trailer and without a secure hold, the truck driver attached the chain and break-over binder to the trailer frame and attempted to tighten the binder with a ‘cheater pipe’ to gain leverage.
Accident

The pipe slipped off the binder, causing the truck driver to lose his balance and fall back awkwardly off the trailer. He landed on his feet but felt his ankle ‘pop.’
Injury

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The truck driver’s awkward fall resulted in an apparently broken ankle.
Recommendations

The truck driver should have established a stable position with a secure hand-hold rather than relying on the binder to stabilize himself on the loader. The logging company should consider replacing break-over binders with safer, more convenient ratchet-type binders. Never use ‘cheater pipe’ implements to assist in tightening binders unless they are specifically designed for that purpose.
(Source: Forest Resources Assn.)