12-S-15: Driver Climbing Side of Log Truck Slips Falls

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BACKGROUND: On a winter morning in the Southeastern U.S., a log truck driver was unstrapping a load of logs at a woodyard’s unbinding station.

PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS: Information about the driver’s age, experience, past safety record, and wearing of Personal Protective Equipment (including type of footwear) was not reported.

UNSAFE ACT & CONDITION: When the driver pulled the load strap over the top of the load, the strap over the rear wheels hung up in the logs. The driver then climbed up on the logs along the side of the trailer to free the strap.

26-INJURY ACCIDENT: He lost his footing and fell approximately six feet to the ground. He fell on his right side, and his face hit the concrete.

INJURY: The driver reportedly was knocked unconscious briefly. He suffered some minor injury to his mouth and some bruising to his right side. Another driver who witnessed the incident called the local EMS, who arrived shortly and asked the driver if they could transport him to the hospital to be checked out. The driver refused the offer, and he returned to his log truck to complete the unloading. He was very fortunate that he was not severely injured.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CORRECTION:

• Do not climb on loaded log trailers for any reason.

• Use appropriate extension poles, catwalks, or assistance of other equipment if you must free a snagged strap. (Note: The woodyard has since erected a large sign with a visual depiction and the words “Do Not Climb on Log Trailers.”)

• Always wear a hard hat, safety glasses, and other PPE while unbinding a load. Sturdy shoes or boots with lug soles or other non-slip bottoms will improve drivers’ footing at the landing and on the woodyard.

• One safer but time-consuming procedure would be to grab the hook after releasing the load tension and pull the strap completely out of the ratcheting spool end, rather than pulling the hook end back over the load.

• Refusing a checkup after a fall can have severe consequences. Injuries that seem minor at the time may be more severe if left untreated.

Reviewed by: Southwide Safety Committee; Rick Meyer Appalachian/Southwide Region Manager

Please follow equipment manufacturers’ recommendations for safe operation and maintenance procedures.