Defective Oil Heater Causes Harvester Fire

Hazard Alert

Defective Oil Heater Causes Fire and Destroys Harvester

A fire started in the engine compartment on a harvester shortly after the harvester had started up on the morning shift. The fire destroyed an 8-month old Timberking 711 harvester.

A forwarder operator (on the site) first noticed fire coming from the rear of the engine compartment and called the harvester operator by radio to inform him. The harvester operator tried to activate the fire suppression system, but it had already discharged. The forwarder operator approached the harvester with another fire extinguisher, but the fire was too intense to suppress. The operators called 911, and the fire department was dispatched.

The fire crew arrived approximately one hour later. Water and foam were used to extinguish the blaze. The cab of the machine was completely destroyed, and it appears that the rest of the carrier was also severely damaged. The harvesting head did not appear to have damage externally. As per the insurer’s investigation, the source of ignition was an oil heater used to warm up the hydraulic system fluid.

Recommendations to Prevent a Recurrence

  • The fire investigator suggested that the oil heater may have been defective.

Goals of the FSSNS

  • Save lives and reduce injuries.
  • Reduce all costs associated with work place accidents.
  • Improve profits.
  • Maintain compliance with regulatory bodies.
  • Manage and establish ownership of industry managed loss control programs.
  • Reduce Workers' Compensation rates.
The Forestry Safety Society of Nova Scotia is registered under the Societies Act of Nova Scotia. It is a separate entity, having a Memorandum of Association and By-Laws. The Society is governed by a Board of Directors, representing all sectors of the forest industry.