In November 1998, a 32-year-old male truck driver was killed when he was struck by a log that rolled off the top of his tractor trailer truck while preparing the truck for unloading at a sawmill complex. The victim accompanied by his father, had picked up a load of logs and transported them approximately 220 miles to the sawmill complex. He arrived at the mill with the logs secured by straps and stacked well above the standards of the trucks trailer. He drove to an unloading area. The victim and his father exited the truck and while the father waited at the front of the truck, the victim released the binders on the driver's side of the trailer. He then walked to the passenger's side of the trailer apparently to pull the straps off of the logs. One of the logs rolled off of the stack striking him. His father heard the thump of the falling log, walked to the passenger side of the trailer and found the victim. Sawmill employees initiated the call to EMS and began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). EMS arrived in eight minutes and transported the victim to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
In order to prevent similar incidents from occurring, FACE investigators recommend:
- The height of the logs should not exceed the height of the standards on the truck;
- Binders on logs should not be released prior to securing the logs with an unloading line or device [Sawmill regulations - 1910.265(d)(1)(i)(b)];
- Binders should be released only from the side on which the unloader operates except when the person making the release is using a remote control device or is protected by racks or equivalent means [Sawmill regulations - 1910.265(d)(1)(i)(c)];
- Written policies should be in place regarding unloading procedures for loggers at the mill, and the policies should be enforced by the mill owners; and
- Loggers should consider wearing head protection (a hard hat) to protect against head injuries from falling objects [Sawmill regulations - 1910.265(g)].
Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, "Log Rolls off Truck at Sawmill Killing the Truck Driver" (1999). Fatality Case Reports--Tractors/Logging. 14.