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WFP Hazard Alert
Click here to view the WFP Hazard Alert.

Click here to view the 2005 Stop The Killing: BC Forest Fatalty Summit video.

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Safe Workplaces... Our Right, Our Responsibility

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Forest Worker Safety Network

fwsn 2008


Safety Alert: Log Truck Driver Loses Brakes
Effective Safeguarding Starts with Risk Assessment Logging Video Feature Pick

fwsn 2008

Air brake systems are used on logging trucks and system consists of service brakes, parking brake, a control pedal, and an air storage tank. Sometimes brake system problems arise.

A loaded logging truck was traveling down an 18-24% grade section of the spur road in first gear when the driver felt the load pushing. As the driver engaged the brakes and pulled on the hand valve, the truck “hopped” and it was apparent the trailer brakes were not engaged.

With no relief for nearly 400 metres further down the road, the driver feared losing control of the truck due to an upcoming switchback. He removed his seatbelt and initially planned to jump from the truck but instead decided to put the rig into the ditch. The driver estimates he was traveling at a speed of 15 – 20 km/h.

Investigation confirmed the brakes on the tractor (lining, drums, etc) were all within acceptable limits and found to be in good working order. However, it was discovered that a compression fitting used to splice the service air line to the trailer’s air tanks had failed and leaked air. The fitting’s furls had not been crimped properly to the air line and the brass fitting not tightened properly to hold the splice in place.

While the driver did conduct a pre-trip inspection and a cursory check to see the air line was repaired, he did not examine the fitting closely. The driver stated he did not have any issues while being loaded (as he would have engaged his maxi’s). The landing bucker stated he did not hear any air leaks however the noise from the loader’s engine would have hampered the ability to hear any leaks. Prior to departing for the log sort, the driver did a tug test with the hand valve and determined all to be okay.

As a result of the incident, the log truck driver suffered some small cuts and bruises but more seriously, had also fractured a vertebra in his neck.

Learnings & Suggestions:

  • The driver acknowledged not following safe job procedures (SJP) regarding seatbelt use, and failed to conduct a thorough check of the air line splice repair

  • The subcontractor acknowledged the repair had not been inspected by a supervisor

  • Prior to leaving the landing with a load of logs, drivers must ensure they complete a tug test and confirm all air systems are functioning normally

  • Steep grade assessments must be completed prior to hauling on grades great than 18%

  • Log truck drivers should always wear seat belts while driving to prevent injuries in the event of an accident

  • All repairs to braking systems should be thoroughly checked and tested for air leaks.

This Industry Safety Alert is courtesy of BC Forest Safety Council.

Air Brake Systems
Air brake systems are typically used on heavy trucks and buses. The system consists of service brakes, parking brakes, a control pedal, and an air storage tank. For the service brakes (the ones used while driving for slowing or stopping) to be applied, the brake pedal is pushed, routing the air under pressure to the brake chamber, causing the brake to be engaged.

The air compressor draws filtered air from the atmosphere and forces it into high-pressure reservoirs at around 120 psi. Most heavy vehicles have a gauge within the driver's view, indicating the availability of air pressure for safe vehicle operation, often including warning tones or lights. A mechanical "wig wag" that automatically drops down into the driver's field of vision when the pressure drops below a certain point is also common. Setting of the parking/emergency brake releases the pressurized air in the lines between the compressed air storage tank and the brakes, thus allowing the spring actuated parking brake to engage.

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Frequent review of safety practices is important, especially in manufacturing where more than one-third of injuries are related to lack of, or improper, safeguarding and lockout.

In the recent issue of WorkSafeBC Magazine, Occupational Safety Officer Mike Tasker noted the importance of safeguarding in manufacturing. And often during inspections there are conversations between a manufacturer and Mike gravitate to whether or not existing safeguards in the operation are adequate. What follows are some frequents questions and answers.

Q. We don’t have problems with safeguarding. Why should we review our procedures?
A. Frequent review of safety practices is important, especially in manufacturing where more than one-third of injuries are related to lack of, or improper, safeguarding and lockout. The question to ask is, do you just keep guarding things the way you always have out of habit, or are you basing your safeguarding procedures on a recent risk assessment? Many mills seem to rely on safeguarding techniques that other industries don’t use anymore. For example, mills often restrict worker access to a hazardous area by installing a handrail; in some circumstances this is adequate, in others a greater level of protection may be required. It’s worth asking whether workers even need access to the area. Very often they don’t. In that case, the better safety barrier — one commonly used in other industries — is a six-foot fence. By safeguarding appropriately, and to the level of risk, you eliminate significant opportunity for human error.

Q. How can we improve our risk assessment?
A. You should look at the hazard points first, rather than just assessing your guards. Recently, we helped one employer with a risk assessment and found 30 to 40 points that needed guarding — points the employer just didn’t see. The employer had been so focused on the existing guards that other hazards were overlooked. You also need to understand the root cause of hazards. Machines often get jammed in mills, for example. While effective safeguarding procedures are a must, it’s important to also explore the cause of the jams. If you figure that out, you might be able to eliminate the hazard.

Q. What safeguarding technology is available?
A. Light curtains, which use photoelectric sensors, are very effective when workers must frequently access a guarded area and physical barriers would be an impediment. You can also consider safety laser scanners to guard large areas. Both technologies use light to detect motion, shutting down equipment when there’s movement. A couple of B.C. firms are in a pilot project using kinetic energy. They’re testing motion detectors that won’t allow safeguards to open until all motion stops. We recently had an incident where a worker was pulled into a log canter while cleaning the machine after using an improper lockout procedure; the worker was seriously injured and could have been killed. An electronic safety device, and costing less than $1,000, used to detect the kinetic energy, could have prevented the incident.

Q. How can investing in safeguarding help our bottom line?
A. Without effective safeguarding, you’re going to pay through injury costs, more down time, and higher assessments. When you protect your employees, you protect your business. Updating equipment or investing in new technology not only enhances safety but can also increase productivity by making operators more confident and faster in their work. As an employer, one of the most cost-efficient steps you can take is to ensure workers are properly trained in safeguarding and lockout procedures. The time it takes to put safety precautions in place is far less than the time it takes to deal with an accident.

Q. Aren’t safeguarding and lockout the same thing?
A. No. Safeguarding is a general term for measures put on a machine to protect workers when the machinery or equipment is operating. Lockout is a procedure to protect your workers once safeguarding is removed, during maintenance or other necessary procedures. Both safety measures must be provided.

Q. Where can we get more information on safeguarding?
A. Our spring campaign, “Attaching a Finger Isn’t as Easy,” gets underway mid-March. We have practical tips and helpful online resources for you to use in your shop. Resources include:

• A guide to new technologies
• Safeguarding guide for manufacturing
• Safeguarding checklist
• Safety tips for safeguarding, lockout, and kickbacks

Visit for more information and resources. Looking for answers to your specific health and safety questions? Send them to us at

Mike Tasker work is the Prince George region of BC and has been a WorkSafeBC Occupational Safety Officer for 17 years.

Courtesy of WorkSafeBC Magazine.                                 [top]

FWSN Media Room

The Forest Worker Safety Network regularly reviews logging videos on The video below is our feature pick for this month. Click the video screen if you wish to enlarge the video for viewing on in new browser window on the website.  [top]

On the Landing - In The Clear Series

This is part one of the four part In The Clear video series from The video below is an introduction to being at the right place at the right time, every time, on the landing. Landings are dynamic and constantly changing, and may present many potential hazardous conditions. It's important that yarding and loading is planned to ensure that the work can be conducted safely and that we ensure everyone is accounted for before any movements of people or machinery. People in the landing need to assess their work and all other activities on the road because all movement in the landing must be coordinated and communicated clearly. Everyone must be accounted for visually and/or auditory before equipment starts to move. Avoid having crew in the “Cone of Danger” as there is the potential for runaway logs and rocks.  Courtesy of

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Safe Workplaces... Our Right, Our Responsibility

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FWSN Tailgate Talk

Safe Workplaces... Our Right, Our Responsibility

Day of Mourning - April 28th


Forest Worker Safety Network

The Forest Workers Safety Network (FWSN) is an initiative of United Steelworkers (USW) District 3, which represents over 20,000 forest workers in British Columbia.

In light of rising forest industry fatalities and injuries, the FWSN has been formed as a response to a demand for a worker-focused information and networking system. The FWSN is available to all BC forest workers, at no cost, whether or not they are members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union.

The FWSN is initiating its activities by disseminating information developed for BC Coastal loggers and woodlands employees, from stump to dump and beyond. We are also collecting information on safety issues in the sector and on urgent and pressing issues that groups of workers and individuals face. We provide general health and safety information and information on the USW’s ongoing efforts to stop needless fatalities and injuries.

There will be regular communications for all workers who sign up.

Join the Forest Workers Safety Network today!  [back to top]

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Forest Workers Safety Network - 2009