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Worker engulfed by wood waste material

Summary
A crew of three workers at a sawmill were working to unplug a machine known as a "hog." The hog pulverizes waste-wood products. The hog was locked out and the doors opened to allow the crew to manually remove the waste-wood products using hands and hand tools. In the process of hauling out the waste-wood products, one of the crew climbed inside the hog and began working to clear the plug. Between 15 and 30 minutes later, workers checked on his progress and got no response. The accumulated waste-wood products in the hog had shifted and engulfed the worker. He could not be revived.

Conclusions

Findings as to causes
  • Waste-wood materials bridged inside the "hog" machine collapsed and engulfed the clean-up worker who was inside.
Findings as to underlying factors
  • The safety communication system failed. Workers and line supervisors communicated some of the high-risk hazards of unplugging the hog over the course of at least three years. Higher levels of mill management did not heed this message and control or eliminate the hazards through engineered controls and interim safe work procedures.
  • Mill maintenance management did not identify and categorize the work procedure of unplugging the hog as a high-risk activity in which workers could be engulfed by collapsing waste-wood materials.

Link:
Hazard alert

Publication Date: Nov 2004 File type: PDF (2 MB) Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2004110576