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Author Topic: Helper hit by falling tree  (Read 1497 times)

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Offline Jim_Rogers

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Helper hit by falling tree
« on: June 10, 2004, 08:56:50 AM »
The other day, my logger showed up to deliver some logs to my sawmill yard.
During our talk that morning we were discussing rates, I asked him if he charge more when he was doing jobs with his helper than when he worked alone.
He told me he didn't have a helper any more.
I asked him what happened to "Bob".
He said he had hit "Bob" in the head with a tree!
I asked him: "how did that happen?"
Well he said they were at a customer house cutting down a small ash tree, and that they were pulling it over with a rope.
I didn't get the exact layout of where the rope was tied to the tree or to the dead man end but usually he wouldn't take a rope hook it up in the object tree, come down threw a pulley or snatch block which was fastened to a stump or other tree and tie it off to another tree at 90 to the pull line. This way they could pull on the line and get it very tight and tied off before they started a saw. Then as he was making the felling cut after the notch cuts, the helper could just lean on the tied off rope and pull the tree over. The position where he would be standing would be out of the "fall zone" of the object tree. And if necessary he could just let go of the rope and run away out of danger.
That was the procedure we used when I worked with him years ago.
As I said I'm not sure if that was the setup this time.
Any way Bob didn't run away. He had an escape path clear and available to him. But he didn't use it. He stepped behind a tree there in the yard, and just stood there. He figured he was safe and hidden behind this tree.
Well as the object tree came down, on path and in the right direction, it hit another large dead oak tree with no branches on it, on it's way. This large dead oak, had been dead for some time and it's root system had all rotted away, making it just a large chunk of dead standing wood. Well this large dead oak was heading for the tree where Bob was standing.
The feller, yelled at Bob to "look out". Bob didn't move. He was hiding behind the "safe" tree. He yelled again: "Bob!!!!" "Look out!". Bob just stood there. Well he screamed the next time. "BOB---LOOK OUT!!!!!" Well this time Bob did look out. Out from behind the safe tree, just as the large oak passed along the trunk of the safe tree, and hit him in the only part of his body that was exposed, his head.
If he had leaned back and looked behind the tree he wouldn't have gotten hit, but he leaned forward to see what was happening just as the tree passed by and got hit in the head.
I asked if he was killed?
He wasn't killed, he didn't break his neck, he didn't even get a concussion. He was very lucky.
Proper planning prevents poor performance.
Look at the intended path of the object tree for other hazards.
And work safely.
Jim Rogers

PS. Bob doesn't work for my logger any more!!

Whatever you do, have fun doing it!
Woodmizer 1994 LT30HDG24 with 6' Bed Extension

Offline Tom

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Re: Helper hit by falling tree
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2004, 09:21:13 AM »
I'll bet he's wearing a new pair of trousers though.

That's what all the safety rules are for.  If  a man doesn't heed the call of experience he's ignoring them and it can be disastrous.  I'm sure glad that "Bob" wasn't hurt.  That would have ruined your day too, eh? :)

Offline beenthere

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Re: Helper hit by falling tree
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2004, 09:52:53 AM »
The words "Look out", no matter how loud, don't mean much. If the helpers' eyes were open, he was looking out. He wasn't looking up, or out in the right direction, but the logger didn't tell him that either. It reminds me of a non-english man riding a train, and the windows were open, and the train coming to a narrow tunnel. The conductor, seeing he was close to the window, told him to "look out"!  Hmmm?  Don't know if he followed those directions or not.

I think the logger is a bit at fault here as well as the helper.

But it is a good lesson, as they all are, and great that it's one experience they walked away from in one piece. Hard hats, anyone?
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline Bruce_A

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Re: Helper hit by falling tree
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2004, 07:07:01 PM »
Sure don 't blame Bob for getting another job.

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Helper hit by falling tree
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2004, 06:39:25 AM »
The shouting "Bob-Lookout" didn't help him and probably if he didn't he might not have been hurt at all.
But Bob didn't follow the instruction to "run away" after the object tree starting falling as he was instructed to do.
So I'm sure there's enough blame to go around for everyone.
And he probably wasn't wearing a hard hat, either.
But as mentioned he probably is wearing a cleaner pair of pants.
Jim Rogers
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!
Woodmizer 1994 LT30HDG24 with 6' Bed Extension

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