UNLOADING INCIDENT DAMAGES TRUCK
BACKGROUND: A tractor-trailer with a sleeper cab, delivering a load of tree-length pulpwood to a Northeastern mill on an early winter day, was positioned under the overhead grapple crane for unloading. The mill's unloading policy called for the driver to exit the vehicle and wait in a designated visible safe location during unloading, with any passengers remaining in the scalehouse. The mill also required trucks to have an adequate headache rack in place behind the cab. The weather was cold and clear but was not a factor in the incident.
PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS: The operator of the unloading crane had several years of experience with a good safety record and was considered competent.
UNSAFE ACT OR CONDITION: As the crane picked up the grapple of wood to move it toward the pile, one log slipped out from the bottom of the bundle, dropping on the front of the load and striking the top of the headache rack protecting the sleeper cab.
ACCIDENT: The dropped log struck the top of the headache rack and continued on to penetrate the sleeper portion of the cab, inflicting heavy damage. Upon investigation after the incident, a child's teddy bear was found in the sleeper cab. Although no child was with the driver on this trip, it was apparent that he occasionally took a child with him as a passenger.
INJURY: Fortunately, there were no personal injuries resulting from this incident. The discovery of evidence that a child sometimes accompanied the driver and could have been in the cab shocked the yard personnel.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CORRECTION:
- Drivers should not depend on headache racks to protect the cab completely from overhead hazards during unloading, and neither driver nor any passenger should remain in the cab during that operation.
- Unloading procedures and specifications for truck and trailer requirements as well as driver and passenger safety procedures need to be clearly spelled out and consistently enforced.
Northeast Region Manager