MECHANIC INJURES ARM WHILE WORKING ON SKIDDER BLADE
BACKGROUND: On a late winter morning at a log landing in the Appalachians, a maintenance mechanic and a logging crew member were installing a replacement cutting edge on a skidder blade. Weather conditions were fair and cold.
PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS: Both the maintenance mechanic and the logging crew employee were about 50 years old. The maintenance mechanic had been employed with this logging company for six years. He was considered fully trained and had no physical disabilities and no previous accident history. Both workers were wearing hard hats, eye protection, and gloves.
UNSAFE ACTS & CONDITION: The 115-inch-long cutting edge weighed 160 pounds. The two workers supported the skidder blade by using a safety chain connected from the blade to the limb riser, but they did not support the weight of the cutting edge with jack stands or other blocking material.
The mechanic began clamping the cutting edge in place with a C-clamp while his helper held up the cutting edge. The cutting edge started to move, and the mechanic grabbed the edge with his left hand to prevent its movement.
ACCIDENT: As the mechanic grabbed the cutting edge, he felt and heard a pop in his left biceps.
INJURY: The mechanic suffered a torn left biceps that required surgery and rehabilitation. He lost 51 days of work.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CORRECTION:
- Use the appropriate number of employees to replace heavy items such as this cutting edge.
- Use jack stands or other blocking to support the weight of the cutting edge.
- When it is necessary to keep a blade, grapple, or attachment in a raised condition during machine maintenance or repair, support the item by using blocks, or use mechanical lockouts on the hydraulic cylinders. Always “block and chock” the equipment before beginning repairs.
- Think through the safety of the job at hand: do not try to accomplish two things with one hand (such as holding the cutting edge while tightening the C-clamp).
Appalachian/Southwide Region Manager
Please follow equipment manufacturers’ recommendations for safe operation and maintenance procedures.