November 2012 www.forestresources.org/members/serpub/12-S-14.html
BACKGROUND: On a fall day in the Appalachians, a logger was performing maintenance on the sawbar of his feller-buncher.
PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS: The 38-year-old logger had approximately 20 years of logging experience and was considered fully trained to perform this type of maintenance. He was wearing personal protective equipment, including gloves.
UNSAFE ACTS & CONDITION: His gloves only covered his hands—they did not provide any wrist protection. He began loosening the saw blade by turning one side using an open-ended wrench with a cheater bar extension and turning a long-handled socket wrench on a nut in the other direction.
ACCIDENT: While applying upward pressure on the open-end wrench with the cheater bar extension, his hand slipped off the cheater bar, and the back of his hand and wrist smacked into the sawbar.
INJURY: The logger severely lacerated the back and side of his wrist behind the thumb and severed a tendon. The four-inch-long cut required a hospital visit and surgery to repair the cut tendon. Later, the tendon separated and follow-up surgery was required to repair. All told, he lost 3 to 4 days of work. If the cut had occurred an inch to the inside of the wrist, the artery could have been severed—a life-threatening injury.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CORRECTION:
• Wear cut-resistant gloves that provide protection over the wrist and a portion of the forearm. They can prevent injuries to tendons and arteries when sharpening or working on saw chains or chipper knives. (See FRA Technical Release 12-R-1 for one example of a protective arm guard: http://www.forestresources.org/app/bulletin_pdfs/12r1. pdf)
• Use the correct, safe tools for the maintenance job required, and know when to ask for assistance in loosening tightly held nuts or connections.
• Place a protective covering such as a rubber strip or a plastic sleeve over the sawbar when loosening the bolts to prevent this type of injury.
Southwide Safety Committee; Rick Meyer Appalachian/Southwide Region Manager
Please follow equipment manufacturers’ recommendations for safe operation and maintenance procedures.