Safety Alert: Winch / Tiedown Bar Strikes Driver’s Face

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On a dry summer morning in the Appalachians, a log trucker was binding down a load of pine pulpwood at the landing.

The 57-year-old driver was a contract trucker with 30 years of bus driving and contract log hauling experience. He was considered capable and had no physical disabilities. He was wearing gloves as he began tightening one of the binder straps on a triaxle truck.

Unsafe Act & Condition:
The trucker was distracted as a crew member talked to him. He took his eye off the winch/tiedown bar and did not fully insert the bar into the ratcheting-wheel spindle as he was tightening the strap. His face was directly above the travel path of the winch bar.

When the driver pushed down with the weight of his body to apply the final turn to the spindle, the winch bar popped out of the spindle hole and catapulted backward. The end that was near the spindle struck his face.

The log trucker suffered a bloody nose and black eye. He received medical treatment and lost two days of work.

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Recommendations for Correction:
1 Ensure that the winch/tiedown bar stays fully inserted into the spindle when tightening a binder strap.
2. Make sure the cranking mechanism is working properly and ensure that the ratchet pawl is fully engaged in the ratchet wheel.
3. Always keep head and body away from the strike zone of the bar/handle.
4. Wear the required PPE—gloves, hard hat, and eye protection—when binding a load.
5. Give full attention to the task at hand; stop if distracted.

Source: Forest Resources Association