On a cloudy, cool, fall morning in the Appalachians, a log truck driver had temporarily left the cab of his loaded triaxle log truck at the sloped landing of a harvesting operation.
The 35-year-old driver had more than eight years of truck driving experience.
UNSAFE ACT & CONDITIONS:
The truck was parked on a 13-percent grade. After the truck driver started the engine of the loaded log truck, he exited the cab for a moment. Although the driver says he set the brake, it is unclear whether the brakes were really able to hold the truck on the road grade when loaded. Apparently when the air pressure built up in this nearly 30-year-old truck, it released the low air brake. The wheels were not chocked or otherwise prevented from rolling.
The unattended truck rolled off the landing, across the haul road and through a field. The truck ultimately ran into the woods where it overturned and smashed into standing trees.
The truck was totaled. Fortunately no one was standing in front of the truck when it started rolling, and no one was injured.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CORRECTION:
- The parking brake should always be set whenever a truck is unoccupied.
- Brakes should be checked and adjusted regularly to assure proper function and stopping ability.
- Chock or otherwise block the wheels on a loaded, parked, unoccupied log truck when it is located on a grade.
FRA Southwide Safety Committee;
Appalachian/Southwide Region Manager
Please follow equipment manufacturers’ recommendations for safe operation and maintenance procedures.