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Snag changes direction, strikes faller

Summary
A production faller was felling a large yellow cedar in the proximity of a free-standing snag. As the yellow cedar fell, it caused the snag to fall in the direction of the faller's escape route. The faller observed the snag and changed direction. The snag also changed direction and struck the faller on the upper back and head, resulting in fractured vertebrae.

Conclusions
Findings as to causes

  • The faller did not accurately assess the snag's condition.
  • The faller felled the yellow cedar knowing that the limbs were sitting close to the snag.
Findings as to underlying factors
  • Production quotas may have induced the faller to take shortcuts in the work procedures.
  • It is possible that cognitive distraction may have been an underlying factor since there were ongoing union/management issues that had not been resolved.
  • The lack of supervision and communication was evident since role definitions and knowledge of responsibilities were not clearly communicated.
  • There is a relationship between the time of day of the incident and an expected, reduced level of alertness. This may have heightened the probability of task performance errors.

Publication Date: Oct 2004 File type: PDF (176 KB) Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2004100536