Base and Tail Hold Machines Can Create Hazards on Haul Roads
On a spring day in the Pacific Northwest, a log truck driver was proceeding down a haul road. Earlier in the week, a base machine had been located on the road, and the crew had to dig a hole in the road to bury its bucket during tethered logging.
The base machine operator was experienced and had worked in the woods for many years. The truck driver was also experienced and had driven a log truck for several years.
Unsafe Act and Condition
When it was time to move the base machine from the road, the operator filled the hole with dirt, but did not pack it down. Soon after, a rainstorm came through this area and made the ground even more soft and unstable. This all led to a large rut left in the road.
When the log truck drove over the spot where the base machine had been on the haul road, the front tire sank into the hole. The driver was traveling slowly and was able to minimize the effect by quickly assessing the situation and moving the truck so as not to get stuck.
No one was injured. However, if the driver had been traveling faster, the insufficiently-filled hole could have caused damage to the truck, or even a roll-over. The truck may also have gotten stuck on the road, causing unsafe conditions for others traveling on the haul road.
Recommendations for Correction
- Fill and compact holes left in the road. This may require bringing in rocks if the roads are too saturated.
- Smooth the road out if it has rutting or damage from turning equipment.
- If the hazard cannot be immediately eliminated or made safe, mark the area and warn drivers.
- Drivers should remain alert and cautious while navigating haul roads.