On a late fall morning in the Northeast, a flatbed truck delivering logging equipment to a site had stopped at the beginning of an icy logging road to put tire chains on.
The truck driver was in his mid-twenties, and was relatively new to trucking forest products and equipment. He was assisted in chain installation by the logger, who was in his early fifties and had significant experience in the industry.
Unsafe Acts and Conditions:
Installing the chains requires work on the ground placing the chains onto the tires, and the truck driver was assisted by the logger. When all chains had been installed, the truck driver entered the truck and moved it forward, necessary to complete the tire chain installation process.When moving the truck forward, the driver struck the logger, who had been assisting him. The driver had verbally communicated with the logger that he was moving forward, but had not made visual contact to confirm that the logger was safely clear of the truck.
After moving the truck forward, the driver exited the cab to complete the truck chain installation process. Upon doing so, he discovered that he had struck the logger, who was non-responsive.
First aid was administered and an ambulance called; the logger was declared dead at the scene.
Recommendations for Correction:
Anytime a second person is involved with installing tire chains (or any similar operation), it is the driver’s responsibility to not only communicate with the assistant but to establish visual contact with the assistant prior to moving the truck. This clearly did not happen in this instance, with fatal consequences.
Eric Kingsley, Northeast Region Coordinator