On a cool, rainy, fall day in the South, a mechanic was replacing hydraulic lines on a tracked feller-buncher.
The mechanic was in his early 50’s and had been a mechanic for over 13 years. He worked for this employer for 2 months prior to the incident. He was experienced in the task at hand, and he was wearing a hard hat, safety glasses, high-visibility vest, and steel-toed boots.
UNSAFE ACT OR CONDITION:
The hose was deep inside the hydraulic compartment of the feller-buncher, and the track only offered limited room for access to the area. The mechanic decided to work from the ground while another individual helped while lying on the track. When the mechanic realized he could not reach the hose from the ground, he decided to stand on a 5-gallon bucket of hydraulic fluid to gain extra height to reach the hose. The bucket was an unstable work platform, and due to water and oil residue, the surface was slippery.
The mechanic had reattached the hose when he slipped off the bucket and fell to the ground.
His left arm caught the track on his way down, and he dislocated his shoulder.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CORRECTION:
• Use proper tools for the job. A step ladder or work platform should have been used.
• All work surfaces should be free of fluids or loose particles.
Southwide Safety Committee;
Rick Meyer, Appalachian/Southwide Region Manager