In December 1998, a 31-year-old male (the victim) sawmill employee was killed when struck by a log that rolled off the top of the truck. He was preparing the truck to be unloaded when the log rolled off. While most of the logs received by the sawmill were delivered by independent loggers, the company did own one boom truck that their employees used to pick up timber. This was the truck the victim was driving the day of the incident. At the time of the incident, he was working alone.

When the victim returned to the sawmill, the logs were stacked well above the standards with poplar logs. Three straps had been placed around the logs to keep them in place. There were signs posted at the gate and office of the sawmill that stated the logs were not to be unloaded until secured. The victim was waiting in line to unload his logs on a concrete unloading platform. The ground on which truck was parked was slightly sloped towards the passenger side. Although he was not in position yet to be unloaded, he exited the truck and loosened the straps on the driver side and then went to the passenger side to remove the straps. As he neared the passenger side door, he was struck by a falling log. The sound of the fallen log alerted the truck driver in front of him. He initiated the call to Emergency Medical Services (EMS). EMS arrived at the scene at 9:12 a.m. and transported the victim to the hospital. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

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 with an unloading device [1910.265(d)(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 [1910.265(d)(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 (hard hat) to protect against head injuries from falling objects [1910.265(g)].

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