On a clear summer morning in the Southeast, a skidder was moving a loader from one log deck to another. The terrain was level.
The 23-year-old skidder operator had approximately five years of logging experience and had been employed with this logging business for two years. He was considered fully trained and had no known previous accident history. He was wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment.
UNSAFE ACTS & CONDITIONS:
Heavy rains the day before caused a hole at a road intersection to be muddy and soft. The skidder operator was traveling a little too fast for the muddy conditions and carrying the tongue of the loader too high as he was turning the loader around at the woods road intersection. The slasher saw (bucksaw) was chained to the tongue of the loader, also raising its center of gravity. The skidder operator thought the loader’s trailer tires may have been underinflated at the time of the incident.
While the skidder was turning the loader, the loader tires on one side hit the dip in the hole, causing the bucksaw’s weight to shift and turn the loader over on its side.
Fortunately no one was injured. The accident broke two windows on the loader and slightly bent the cab and the loader trailer’s front guard. The cost to repair the damage and to reset the loader upright was approximately $2,000.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CORRECTION:
- When moving a loader, consider the center of gravity and the implications of keeping the outriggers in a fully raised position.
- Ensure the loader tires are properly inflated, move the loader slowly with the skidder, and keep the tongue as low as possible.
- Check out the road surface before moving the loader. Also, consider using a lowboy or log trailer to move the bucksaw, rather than chaining the bucksaw to the loader tongue and raising the center of gravity.
Southwide Safety Committee
Appalachian/Southwide Region Manager
Please follow equipment manufacturers’ recommendations for safe operation and maintenance procedures.