WorkSafeBC Home

Windfall slides off rock bluff, crushing faller

A faller was attempting to fall two hemlock trees at the base of a rock bluff by using the second tree to push the first. To make the cut on the second tree, he placed himself between the standing tree and a wind-fallen tree's root wad located on a rock bluff behind him. As he began the cut, the windfall slid forward off the rock bluff. The faller was fatally crushed between the root wad and the standing tree.


Findings as to causes

  • The windfall was unstable after the top was removed. Cutting into the standing tree resulted in the windfall moving downhill and the root wad dropping from the rock bluff, crushing the faller.
  • The faller did not carry out an effective assessment of the windfall and associated hazards before beginning his falling cuts on the trees.
  • The faller did not have an effective escape route from the second tree. He was working in an unsafe position beside and under the windfall.
Findings as to underlying factors
  • There were no effective and routine inspections of the faller's work practices. The falling company and general contractor made no hazard assessment of the individual quarters before assigning them to the fallers.
  • The faller's pride in his work and his reputation for doing a good job may have contributed to his decision to maintain the lay of the timber even though it was more hazardous to fall the trees that way.
  • Fallers routinely work alone and do not find it practical to ask for assistance with all the hazards and challenges. As a result, fallers may accept risks and find their own solutions to falling difficulties.

Publication Date: Apr 2005 File type: PDF (218 KB) Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2005137160100