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Logger killed as skyline cable whips free of slash pile.

Oregon Department of Human Services
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 03OR007, 2003 Oct; :1-7
On April 28, 2003, a 37-year-old logger, working as a hooktender, was struck and killed by a skyline cable as it whipped free from a large pile of logging debris, known as a slash pile. The hooktender, the employer's representative responsible for supervising the logging crew, and a choker setter, had extended the skyline to a new tailhold, without running the lines in and pulling a new layout in a straight line to the new location as originally planned. The jump put a 90-degree angle in the cable, with the slash pile in its path as it was drawn taut. The hooktender gave a signal to raise the skyline before he and the choker setter were in the clear. They were standing in front of the tailhold stump, less than 15 feet away, and had just turned to move uphill to a safe spot, when the skyline cable broke through the slash pile and whipped outward and back. The heavy cable struck the hooktender in his chest, knocking him into the choker setter. The choker setter sustained a fractured arm. The hooktender was knocked unconscious. The call of a man down brought the whole crew of eight to the scene, plus the employer and landowner who were also onsite. The victim was put on a stretcher and carried to a nearby logging road. He regained consciousness briefly and complained of intense pain. He tried to stand, but immediately fell, no longer breathing. Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. Local ambulance personnel arrived and transported the victim to a landing site for a life-flight helicopter, where he was pronounced dead. Recommendations: 1. Where possible, string lines to avoid hang-ups, and always position yourself in the clear of all lines being moved. 2. The hooktender must plan operations in advance and effectively communicate with coworkers to assure the safety of the logging crew. 3. Employers and employees should avoid extended work schedules, or drug and alcohol use during work hours, to reduce the risks created by fatigue or impairment.
Region-10; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Forestry; Forestry-workers; Logging-workers; Substance-abuse; Lumberjacks; Lumber-industry-workers; Lumber-industry
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-03OR007; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-021204; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008324
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Oregon Department of Human Services
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division