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Worker seriously injured when cab of log loader broke loose

Date of incident: September 2013
Notice of incident number: 2013161740270
Employer: Equipment repair company providing workers for logging operation

Incident summary

A load of logs got hung up on the ramp at a log dump. A tracked log loader with a grapple was being used to get the logs into the water. The loader operator commented that the cab felt loose, but he continued to use it. A number of times he abruptly placed the grapple on the ground and then repositioned the tracks to the loader. In the last attempt, the cab broke free from the frame and hinged forward, striking the ground. The worker was not restrained and suffered serious injuries.

Investigation conclusions

Causes

  • Inadequately secured cab tipped over during aggressive handling: The loader was being operated aggressively and improperly by the loader operator. The cab bolts failed to keep the cab in place and it unexpectedly tipped forward.
  • Operator unrestrained: The loader operator did not wear a seat belt despite one being available for use. When the cab tilted forward, he hit the windshield and suffered serious injuries.

Underlying factors

  • Failure to follow manufacturer's repair procedures: A few months before the incident, the loader's boom pin was replaced. Both the foreman and a mechanic were aware that there were procedures available from the manufacturer of the loader to assist them with the replacement of the boom pin. However, these procedures were disregarded. Neither worker was a licensed heavy-duty mechanic; they learned about mechanics on the job.
  • Removal of the cab tilt cylinder: Both the foreman and a mechanic did not realize that the primary means of holding the cab in place was the cab tilt cylinder. When they had completed the boom pin work, they did not ensure that the cab tilt cylinder was repaired and reinstalled. Thus, a crucial safety aspect of this loader was overlooked.
  • Improper installation of the cab bolts: It is uncertain if the proper number of cab bolts were reinstalled upon the completion of the boom pin work. What is certain is that the torque specification for these bolts was not followed. Accordingly, the cab bolts were not installed according to the manufacturer's instructions, and this led to their eventual failure.
  • Inadequate supervision: The workers conducting the boom pin replacement were not properly instructed or supervised to ensure that the loader was repaired to safe operating condition.

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Publication Date: Sep 2013 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2013161740270