Safety Alert: Driver Falls Off Trailer While Cleaning Bark

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            On a fall day in the Appalachians, a truck driver was clearing the loose bark and wood debris off his log trailer at a mill woodyard before pulling out to the public highway. Conditions were wet.

Personal Characteristics:

            The driver was approximately 60 years old and had many years of driving experience.

Unsafe Acts & Conditions:

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            The driver climbed onto the trailer to wipe off loose bark with his hands. Wet conditions made trailer slippery.


            The driver slipped and fell off the trailer. He broke his shoulder and arm. It took extensive surgery and many weeks for the driver to recover fully.


  • Drivers should keep a broom or other device in the truck to clean the bark off the trailer, so they do not have to climb onto it. Some mill woodyards have elected to designate specific bark cleaning areas and have provided brooms, shovels, compressed air hoses, or other cleaning aids. (See FRA Technical Release 06-R-2, for example.)
  • Never climb on to a log trailer to remove debris.
  • Always wear a hard hat and eye protection when cleaning debris off log trailers.

            Source: Forest Resources Association