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Logger killed by log during helicopter logging operation in Washington State.

Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 99WA011, 2003 Jun; :1-16
On March 3, 1999, a 42 -year-old logger died when he was struck by a log at a helicopter logging landing site. The victim was assisting the loader operator by bucking and limbing logs at the log loading area, which was adjacent to the drop zone, when a turn of logs was brought into the landing by a helicopter. The victim left the log loading area and ran towards the drop zone to help with the turn. When the helicopter released the logs from its suspended hook, a tagged out choker hung up on one side of the double hook. Within seconds after it had hung up, the choker released, dropping a large Douglas fir log, which struck the ground, then the victim on the head. First aid and CPR were given to the victim immediately. The victim was airlifted to a local medical facility but he died in flight. To prevent future similar occurrences, the Washington Fatality Assessment & Control Evaluation (FACE) Investigative team concluded that persons working in the logging and helicopter logging industry should follow these guidelines and requirements: 1. All ground personnel need to be in a safe zone when a helicopter approaches with a turn, until the chokers have been released from the remote controlled hook and the helicopter has left the landing's drop zone. 2. After a turn has been dropped, chasers and other personnel must wait for the logs to settle before entering the drop zone. 3. Consider using an audible and/or visual alarm system to establish an all clear signal to notify ground personnel that it is safe to enter the drop zone. 4. Landings should be constructed to ensure that there are safe distances between people and support operations taking place near the drop zone. 5. Consider conducting a research or engineering study on possible hook failure mechanisms. 6. Proper personal protective equipment (PPE) needs to be worn by all ground crew personnel.
Region-10; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Forestry; Logging-workers; Lumber-industry; Lumber-industry-workers; Traumatic-injuries
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-99WA011; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-013928
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division