On a dry, autumn day in the Appalachians, a logger was exiting the cab of his grapple skidder.
The logger worked in his family logging business and was in his early twenties. He had approximately five years of previous logging experience and was considered fully trained for the job. He was wearing a hard hat.
This young, athletic individual jumped out of the skidder while facing forward, rather than turning around backwards and using the “three points of contact” rule and slowly stepping down and out of the skidder.
One of his feet landed hard on a two-inch-diameter limb that was lying on the ground, causing his ankle to twist.
The logger suffered a sprained ankle. His injury probably would have been much greater—perhaps a broken ankle—if he had not been a thin, light, athletic individual.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CORRECTION:
Park the machine on a clear section of ground with no tripping hazards or other obstacles to a safe exit.
Always use three points of contact when mounting or dismounting a machine. That means keeping one hand and two feet, or two hands and one foot, in contact with the machine steps or handholds at all times. Face the machine when mounting or dismounting.
Additional safety considerations in dismounting:
• Make sure the bottom step of the machine is serviceable and not missing.
• Ensure that the soles of the shoes and machine steps are clean of mud, oil, and any substance that may cause you to slip.
• Set the machine’s parking brake and lower blades to the ground before dismounting.
• Never mount or dismount from a moving machine.
Southwide Safety Committee;
Appalachian/Southwide Region Manager