A 42-year-old logger (the victim) was killed when he was struck by a log rolling off a loaded truck at a sawmill. At about 6:10 a.m., the victim and the truck driver arrived at the sawmill with a load of logs on the 20-foot flatbed truck. The stack of logs was rounded above the height of the 53-inch standards and secured by only one chain on the middle of the load. When they arrived, the victim got out of the truck and assisted the driver in backing the vehicle into place for unloading. The victim was in view of the driver during that time. When the truck was in place, the driver put the vehicle in neutral, set the brake and then got out to begin unloading. As he walked around the passenger side of the truck he saw the victim lying on the ground with a 13-foot log nearby. Although the incident was unwitnessed, apparently the victim loosened the chain before the endloader with a log grapple was able to secure the logs. It is likely that the load shifted during transport causing a knotted log on top to move into an unstable position and subsequently roll off. Even though the victim suffered severe head injuries, vital signs were detected. EMS personnel were dispatched after receiving the call for help at 6:15 a.m., arriving on the scene at 6:25. The victim was taken to a local hospital, but died that morning. In order to prevent similar cases from occurring, FACE investigators recommend that:
- The height of the stack of logs should not exceed the standards on the truck;
- Sawmill operators should enforce safe unloading procedures such as not releasing binders until a loader is able to secure the load of logs;
- Loggers/truck drivers should ensure that binders/chains sufficiently secure the logs to avoid movement during transit;
- Sawmill owners should develop and enforce written safety procedures that include policies for unloading log trucks on the premises; and
- Loggers should attend the Master Logger Program to learn safe logging practices.
Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, "Knotted Log Rolls off Truck and Kills Logger at Sawmill" (1999). Fatality Case Reports--Tractors/Logging. 12.