12-S-07: Cable Hook Strikes Driver’s Face During Unbinding


Safety Alert www.loggingsafety.com 12-S-7

BACKGROUND: On a fall morning in the South, a log truck driver was pulling the cables off his load at a woodyard unbinding station. Personal Characteristics: The contract log truck driver was fully trained and had over 20 years of experience. He was wearing a hard hat, safety glasses, gloves, and a high-visibility vest.

UNSAFE ACT & CONDITION: While pulling the cable off the front of the load, the cable hook snagged somewhere on top of the load. The driver jerked the cable forcefully to free the hang-up.

ACCIDENT: The hook pulled free suddenly, falling and striking the driver on the left side of his face.

 INJURY: The driver received lacerations and contusions on the left side of the face around the eye, and the left eye was swollen shut. The driver parked his tractor-trailer outside the woodyard and departed to seek medical attention. His physician gave him two prescriptions for his injury, and he was out of work approximately three days due to the swelling.


• Never stand directly underneath the path of the cable or other tie-down hook if you must pull it back over the top of the load. Stand back and to the side.

• Always wear a hard hat, safety glasses, and other Personal Protective Equipment while unbinding a load. PPE probably prevented a more severe injury in this incident.

• Some pivot-arm unbinding racks at woodyards have added a metal ledge just under the pivoting arms to protect the driver from being hit by the binder hook when it is pulled off from above. See FRA Technical Releases 11-R-19 and 12-R-16 for two innovative means to prevent injury when pulling off load straps or cables.


Reviewed by: Rick Meyer Appalachian/Southwide Region Manager