Work Safe Bulletins

UNWITNESSED FATALITY

The owner of a small logging operation took a new hire to where he would be felling trees. They talked for a few minutes, then the owner left on the bulldozer.

Not hearing the chainsaw running, he returned 20 minutes later and found the logger lying on the ground with no vital signs. Although the incident was unwitnessed, it was apparent that he had been hit in the head by a falling limb. A broken- off branch lying nearby was about 4 inches in diameter and 4-5 feet long. The victim apparently had been standing near the stump of the tree he had felled when the limb from a nearby tree broke off and struck him on the head.

The owner ran back to the truck about 3/4 mile from the scene to call 911 using his cell phone. The logger was pronounced dead at the scene from blunt force injuries to his head.

Fatal Mistake: The victim was not wearing any personal protective equipment. A hard hat may have saved his life.

Reminder: A hazard assessment of the logging site should be completed before beginning work to identify and control potential hazards.

(Source: KY FACE Report)

WORKER PINS SELF IN LUMBER STACK

A forklift driver with a load of lumber moved it to a covered storage area and parked the lift truck 20 feet from where he intended to stack the lumber. Leaving the engine running, he walked over to place separators on the previ- ously stacked unit of lumber. As he did so, the forklift rolled forward and pinned him between the units of lumber. He was hospitalized with internal injuries.

An investigation revealed that the emergency brake was not working and that the operator was in the habit of using unsafe practices. He commonly left the lift without setting the brake, left the load in an elevated position and left the forklift transmission in gear while stopped on inclines.

Points to Remember:

  • When leaving a forklift unattended, the mast should be fully lowered, controls must be neu- tralized, power must be shut off, and brakes set.
  • Block wheels on inclines.
  • Lifts must be examined before being placed in service, and if found in need of repair, taken out of service until restored to safe operating condition.
  • Forklifts must not be driven up to anyone in front of a fixed object. Workers are not allowed under the elevated forks, whether loaded or empty.

(Source: FRA Safety Alert)

NOSE TROUBLE

A logger was working on an island when a steel cable broke and lodged inside his left nostril causing uncontrollable bleeding.
His coworkers consulted a doctor for advice and a Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched to airlift him to the nearest hospital where he was treated and released.

Recommendations:

  • Make sure cables and chains are maintained to withstand the strain for which they are intended.
  • Wear your face shield to protect against flying debris.

(Source: U.S. Coast Guard Press Release)

HYDRAULIC BURNS PROVE FATAL

A damaged hydraulic hose on a crawler tractor that had become worn and frayed as it rubbed against the engine cowling, burst and showered the operator with hot hydraulic oil. The operator's clothing which was flammable polyester, melted to his skin. The operator died from his injuries.

Recommendations for Hydraulic Equipment:

  • Workers should not wear clothing that has the potential to melt on their skin.
  • Regularly inspect and maintain equipment.
  • Replace worn and damaged hydraulic hoses immediately.
  • When making repairs or doing service or maintenance work always follow the manufacturer's recommended safety procedures.
  • Park in safe position and apply the parking brake.
  • Ground or secure all attachments and place the transmission in the park position.
  • Engage hydraulic safety locks.
  • Test lockout/tagout devices by trying to controls before leaving the cab.
  • Shut off the ignition, and if working on the engine, turn off the master switch.