Un-Secured Dozer on Float Causes Fatality
Dozer Carried on Float Not Secured — Truck Operator Fatality
An experienced truck operator was carrying a large D-8 bulldozer on a float trailer to a remote site on a logging road. The operator was found dead at the scene of what appeared to be an accident involving the dozer, the float trailer and the tractor he was operating. The tractor unit was demolished and the dozer, still running, was found immediately in front of the truck with its tracks still turning in the loose soil. There were no witnesses to the fatality.
The dozer had been transferred from another float to the one involved in the accident. At that time, reports suggest that after loading, the dozer was shut down and the brake applied. The dozer was not tied down to the trailer. Further evidence showed that the tractor and float trailer may have become bogged down in loose sand on an incline as they travelled to the drop site. What happened from this point on cannot be known with certainty.
Apparently the truck operator, perhaps hoping for more traction on the drive wheels of the tractor, started up the dozer and moved it to the front of the float trailer with the blade raised and the tracks placed part way up the incline to the goose neck. Since the dozer was found running and in gear, it is surmised that the operator probably left it running at idle and in gear to keep it from sliding while going up the hill. The tractor and float were then able to proceed up the incline.
Investigators suspect that while proceeding over the crest of the hill and beginning a long sloping decline, the rough road may have advanced the throttle on the dozer. Since it wasn’t secured to the trailer and the tracks already placed part way up the goose neck, it then apparently moved rapidly forward, climbed the goose neck of the float trailer and demolished the tractor unit, killing the operator. Another worker, following a few minutes behind in another truck, found the truck and dozer.
Recommendations to Prevent a Recurrence
- Even though a load is being carried on a logging road, any forestry equipment being carried on float trailers must be secured to the trailer in ways that meet the requirements for load security as defined by Section 614 of the Highway Traffic Act.
- Firms engaged in the delivery or transfer of forestry equipment by float trailer must ensure that their company’s standard operating procedure makes this load security requirement mandatory and that truck operators are advised of the policy and provided with adequate training.
- Supervisors must be vigilant for any infractions and take the necessary steps to ensure that workers comply with the requirements and are properly trained.