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Runaway tree injured three workers

Date of incident: April 2015
Notice of incident number: 2015163800844
Employer: Forest management company

Incident summary

At an upslope cable yarding forestry operation, intermediate trees (used to gain lift when yarding trees) were being felled before moving the skyline to another location on the slope. The skyline was lowered, and the motorized carriage was placed on the ground. An intermediate tree was felled toward the lowered skyline. Downslope, a second intermediate tree was felled and hit the skyline where it was elevated. The first intermediate tree, 65 feet long (measured at its resting location), was dislodged and rolled downslope, injuring three workers.

Investigation conclusions


  • Worker felled trees onto a skyline: The force of the second tree hitting the elevated skyline dislodged the first tree and propelled it down a steep slope, where the runaway tree hit and injured three workers.

Underlying factors

  • Uncertified faller permitted to fall trees: An uncertified faller was permitted to fall trees toward a stationary line during a forestry operation. This worker had received only a few hours of falling instruction and was not in a certified faller training program.
  • Inadequate planning: Activities surrounding the falling of the intermediate trees were not planned to ensure the safety of the workers. Two workers were within two tree lengths of the trees being felled.
  • Inadequate supervision: The workers, including the supervisor, did not receive adequate training, instruction, supervision, and information to ensure their safety or the safety of nearby workers. None of the workers identified the hazard above them.

Request the full report

Publication Date: Jul 2017 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2015163800844