Wednesday, 17 April 2013 09:10



Very early in the morning on a clear, cool fall day in the Appalachians, a triaxle haul truck operator was unloading his load at a woodyard.



The 55-year-old truck driver had been employed for 16 years and was an experienced triaxle truck driver/operator. He was wearing a hard hat, gloves, and safety glasses. He was considered fully trained and had no previous accident history.



The operator was unloading pulpwood from his triaxle truck. He grabbed a grapple full of random-length pulpwood to the point where he was unable to close the grapple completely around the bottom piece. He may have been in a hurry to unload.



As the operator was swinging his load toward the woodyard’s pulpwood pile, the far end of a piece of his load caught the top of the left rear standard. This contact caused the piece of wood to fall out of the grapple. The end towards the operator fell on top of the guard in front of the operator—almost hitting him—and then slid off to his right. The piece of wood struck the top of the truck cab and fell to the ground.



No one was injured. However, the falling piece of pulpwood did approximately $500 worth of damage to the truck cab roof.



  • Do not over-fill the grapple. Make sure the amount of wood in the grapple allows the grapple jaws to be closed tightly enough so that the load is completely locked.
  • Make sure that the grapple full of wood is lifted high enough to clear all the log truck standards before swinging the boom toward the wood pile.
  • Always pay attention to the task at hand, even when you have performed it daily for many years. Remember that being in too much of a hurry is often a contributing factor to logging and trucking accidents and injuries.


Reviewed by:

Southwide Safety Committee

Rick Meyer

Appalachian/Southwide Region Manager


Please follow equipment manufacturers’ recommendations for safe operation and maintenance procedures.