Rigging Slinger Seriously Injured By Log
On a spring day in the Pacific Northwest a logging crew was working in a partial cut timber sale. The ground was fairly flat, and the crew was presetting chokers by using two sets of chokers. While one set of chokers was being sent on the carriage, the other set was being hooked on the next turn of logs. The Rigging Slinger (victim) would stop the carriage at the desired location and remove the set of chokers that were on the T-bar and give them to one of the two choker setters. The chokers were then taken to the opposite side of the skyline and were preset. The Rigging Slinger would then take the empty T-bar on the end of the dropline to the other set of preset chokers and hook them up to be sent to the landing.
The employee had been working for the company for approximately nine months. It is unknown if he had received any formal training.
Unsafe Acts and Conditions
The Rigging Slinger stopped the carriage and one of the choker setters took his set of chokers and went to the westside of the skyline. The victim took the dropline to the eastside of the skyline and hooked up a turn of logs that another employee, the other choker setter, had preset. After hooking up the turn of logs, the victim walked out ahead of the turn and blew the whistle for the yarder engineer to start pulling the logs. The turn of logs started moving towards the skyline and once it got to the carriage, the victim gave the signal for the carriage to start to the landing.
As the turn of logs started forward, the victim was only approximately 40 feet from the skyline. He was standing beside a standing tree when the turn of logs bumped into an old stump and one of the logs in the turn, approximately 62 feet in length, hooked the stump and swung around. It struck the victim in the upper body and head, and he was knocked to the ground where he laid unconscious.
One of the choker setters saw it happen, immediately called for help and the crew initiated their emergency medical plan. There was no cell phone service at this remote location and the company radio did not work, so another employee, drove the crew transport vehicle to get cell service. While he was driving to gain service, the rest of the crew carried the victim out of the unit and loaded him into the back of another crummy where they covered him with blankets and started driving towards town. The employee who had driven in the crew transport vehicle was able to get service and Life Flight was sent to pick up the victim.
The victim was flown to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a broken shoulder, broken arm, punctured lung and a skull fracture. Recovery and return to work are unknown.
Recommendations for Corrections
- Personnel must be in the clear of trees, logs, root wads, chunks, rolling material, all lines and rigging before any lines are moved.
- Each worksite must have at least one serviceable and operable two-way radio, phone or radio/phone combination available to reach ambulance service. Citizens’ band radios are permitted only as a secondary means of communication.