On a February afternoon in the Lake States region, a log truck driver was hauling 100-inch pulpwood to a local mill. The truck was equipped with a center-mount grapple to load and unload logs. It was a cold, sunny day, and the roads were free from ice and snow. Driving conditions were good.
The log truck driver had more than 20 years of experience as a truck driver.
The truck driver entered the access ramp onto a highway. The entrance ramp was slightly curved. The driver entered the curve at too high of a speed, and the load was not properly secured.
As the driver navigated the curve of the access ramp, the load of pulpwood logs shifted and spilled off the truck onto the pavement. The access ramp was closed for several hours while the logs were removed from the pavement.
No injuries were reported.
Recommendations for Correction
Drivers must follow posted speed limits and be aware of conditions they encounter. Use extreme caution when entering turns and cornering. Ensure loads are properly secured per Federal Regulations (49 CFR 393.116) when hauling shortwood logs cross-wise.
- Logs must be solidly packed.
- Each log not held in place by contact with other logs or the stakes, bunks or standards must be held in place by a tie-down. Additional tie-downs must be used when the condition of the wood results in low friction between logs.
- The end of a log in the lower tier cannot extend more than one-third of the log’s total length beyond the nearest supporting structure of the vehicle.
- When wood is loaded cross-wise, it must be secured with at least two tie-downs; they must be positioned at one-third and two-thirds of the length of the logs.
- Trailers more than 33 feet long must be equipped with center stakes. Each tie-down must secure the highest log on each side of the center stake and must be fastened below these logs.
- Securement components must be built to withstand all anticipated operational forces without failure. Each log on the top of the load must touch the tie-down. Each section of the load should be ‘rounded’ so that each log below the top is subject to the downward force of the tightened tie-down.
(Source: Forest Resources Association. To access this and other Safety Alerts, visit www.forestresources.org and click on Resources.)