A truck driver was delivering a load of tree-length hardwood pulpwood to a pulp and paper mill on a clear, dry spring afternoon in the South. The driver had scaled in, proceeded to the unbinding station, removed the binders from the load, and begun to leave the unbinding station to proceed to the cranes to be unloaded.
The 55-year-old truck driver had been driving a log truck for his company for 12 years and was considered fully trained. He had no physical disabilities and had a clean accident record. The driver was wearing a hard hat and safety glasses at the unbinding station.
UNSAFE ACT OR CONDITION
The loader operator at the harvesting site loaded the stems above the trailer’s standards. The truck driver had failed to recognize the height of the stems on the trailer and have the load corrected.
As the truck driver proceeded to the cranes to be unloaded after unbinding the load, several stems of pulpwood fell from the trailer. Apparently either the movement of the truck or the bumping of the swing arms of the unbinding station against the standards was all the force needed to make the stems fall from the trailer.
Fortunately, no one was near the truck when it departed the unbinding station, so no one was injured.
Stems should never be unloaded above the standards of a trailer. Drivers should carefully inspect loads before departing for delivery points. If stems are loaded above the standards, drivers (or anyone on the logging site) should instruct the loader operator to remove stems from the load.
All unloading facilities should be equipped with an unbinding station, and truck drivers must be required to use it. In this case, if the wood had fallen during unbinding, the unbinding station would most likely have caught the falling stems. However, if the driver had unbound the load outside of the station, or a station had not been provided, a serious or fatal injury could have occurred.
(Source: Forest Resources Assn.)