Skidder Falls Into Iced-Over Pit
Close Call – Skidder Falls Into Iced-Over Pit
A grapple skidder operator went to drive his machine off a main haul road at what seemed to be a level spot. However, as soon as his front wheels left the road, they broke through the ice on a pit just over six feet deep that had been dug by a backhoe when the road was being constructed. The machine plunged into the hole, which was filled with water, and came to rest at the bottom. The operator was not injured, but damage to the machine was extensive.
Recommendations to Prevent a Recurrence
- All terrain hazards, especially deep holes that may fill with water, freeze over and be covered by snow in winter, should be identified and marked when the cut is being planned.
- Train construction crews not to create these potential death traps: the sides of pits, ditches and sumps can be sloped gradually to avoid creating a dropoff.
- Train mechanized logging operators to watch out for smooth, flat, snow-covered areas with no vegetation showing through the snow as these may indicate ice.