On a late winter afternoon in the Southeast, a log truck driver was unbinding his load of treelength pine pulpwood at a mill’s unbinding station.
The approximately 70-year-old log truck driver had many years of driving experience and was considered a productive, motivated log truck driver who gave the impression of frequently being in a hurry. He was wearing all required Personal Protective Equipment, which included a hard hat, safety glasses, and gloves.
In the past, the mill’s wood procurement manager had noticed this driver not wearing his safety glasses on the woodyard. After the second warning, the manager gave him a pair of safety glasses and explained that the driver would be banned from the woodyard the next time he failed to wear his safety glasses. After that warning, whenever the driver would see the procurement manager on the woodyard, he pointed to his safety glasses to show the manager that he was wearing them. The procurement manager rewarded his improved safety performance with a cap.
UNSAFE ACTS AND CONDITION:
When the driver strapped down his load at the logging job, there was a tree limb, approximately two inches in diameter, sticking out somewhat beyond the standards. He ratcheted the strap down tightly such that the limb was under significant tension. Then when the driver arrived at the mill’s unbinding station, he placed himself in a position where the path of the release of the tension of this limb was directly in line with his face as he loosened the tension on the strap.
When the tension was released, the limb snapped quickly outward and hit the driver in the face, with the force of the blow mostly against his safety glasses.
The safety glasses protected his eyes. He did receive a cut and was bleeding somewhat on the bridge of his nose—a minor injury.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CORRECTION:
• Before binding a load on the logging job, try to remove potential tension on side limbs and other pieces sticking out by trimming them off first.
• When unbinding a load at the woodyard, do not stand directly in the path of any woodunder- tension during binder release.
• Always wear a hard hat, safety glasses, and other PPE while unbinding a load, and adhere to all the mill’s woodyard safety policies.
• Enforcing woodyard safety policies pays off.
Southwide Safety Committee;
Appalachian/Southwide Region Manager