Logging Safety: A Field Guide

Section Seven: Machines and Vehicles

Machines are self-propelled power plants designed to be used off-road, primarily as material movers.

Vehicles are personnel and material conveyances operated on highways as well as off-road.

  • Safe machine and vehicle use to prevent injury requires operating them in a manner that will protect all employees.
    • Know how to inspect, operate, and maintain your equipment.
    • Have effective safety guards installed and used.
    • Know the equipment limitations, your limitations and do not take risks!
  • Machines/vehicles can present hazards to the operators and other employees in or on the machines or vehicles or in the vicinity of the operations.

General Safety for Machines/Vehicles

  • Machines/vehicles must be maintained in serviceable condition and inspected at the beginning of each shift.
  • If any defect or damage is found that would affect safe operation, the machines/vehicles must not be used.
  • Operating and maintenance instructions should be in each machine/vehicle; operators and maintenance employees must comply with these.
  • Machines must be started and operated by designated employees
  • The employer must assure that each vehicle operator has a valid operator's license for the class of vehicle being operated.
  • Seats must be securely fastened and seat belts used by persons operating or riding in or on mobile machines or vehicles.
  • Tools being transported must be secured by racks, boxes, holsters or other means so that a hazard is not created for any machine/vehicle operator or passenger.
  • Machines and vehicles used to transport employees off public roads or on logging operations must meet applicable requirements.
  • Operators of stationary machines with Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS), Falling Object Protective Structure (FOPS) or overhead guards must wear seat belts.
  • Machines must have a portable fire extinguisher that is properly maintained and fully charged.

Inspections are Important

  • Perform inspections at the beginning of each shift.
  • Report problems to your supervisor.
  • Correct defects that affect safe operation immediately
  • Do NOT use the machine/vehicle if defects are not corrected.

Defective machines can kill!

What Should You Inspect?

  • Obtain the manufacturers' pre-start inspection lists.
  • Keep a laminated copy on each machine/vehicle.
  • Start at the same point each time and work your way around the machine/vehicle.
  • Look for any defect which could affect the operation or safety.
  • Report any problems to your supervisor.
  • Correct the problem immediately or take the machine/vehicle out of service until the defect or damage is repaired.

Protective Controls for Operators

  • Protective controls include cabs, rollover protective structures (ROPS), falling object protective structures (FOPS), overhead guards and operator restraint devices.
    • The controls must meet applicable OSHA standards.
    • The controls must be used to protect workers from injuries and fatalities from rollovers and falling objects.
    • The controls must provide maximum visibility.
    • The seat belts confine operators to the protective zone.

Seat Belts: Make It a Habit!

  • Each year many operators are crushed and killed due to rollovers. Many of them were not wearing seat belts.
    • Seat belts must be used by all persons operating or riding in or on machines and vehicles.
    • Seat belts must be worn by operators of stationary machines with ROPS, FOPS or overhead guards.
    • Seat belts must never be removed.

Visibility and safety

Visibility and safety go hand-in-hand!

  • Keep all vehicle and machine glass clean and free from scratches.
  • Replace any broken, missing or cracked glass.
  • Install deflectors in the front of cabs to deflect whipping saplings and branches
  • Ensure that deflectors do not block visibility or access.

Fire Prevention

  • Portable fire extinguishers must be installed in each machine or vehicle.
  • Fire extinguishers must be the correct type for the hazards to be encountered.
  • Fire extinguishers should be inspected at the beginning of each shift as part of the vehicle or machine inspection.
  • Fire extinguishers must be properly maintained and fully charged.

Machine Operation

  • Machines must be operated at a distance from other workers and equipment so that the operation will not create a hazard.
  • Before leaving a machine, the operator must secure it by:
    • Placing transmission in park position.
    • Applying the parking brake or brake locks.
    • Placing each moving part (such as blades, buckets, saws and shears) to the ground and securing properly.
    • Discharging any stored energy or pressure in moving pneumatic or hydraulic elements.
  • The operator must follow the proper shut down procedure specified by the manufacturer.

Brake and Exhaust Systems

  • Each machine must have:
    • Primary and secondary brakes that work properly.
    • Brakes that hold machine and its load under all conditions of use.
    • Parking brakes that continuously hold the stopped machine stationary.
  • Exhaust pipes must be:
    • Effectively muffled with muffler in place at all times when machine is in operation.
    • Located to direct exhaust away from the operator.
    • Guarded or mounted to protect operator from burns.
    • Equipped with spark arresters unless engine has turbochargers.

Getting In and Out

  • Each machine or vehicle cab must have a second means of exit.
  • Walking and working surfaces of each machine and machine work area must be slip-resistant.
  • Surfaces must be kept free of waste, debris or other material that could cause fire, slipping or falling.

Moving Parts and Flying Debris

  • Factory guards must be kept in place at all times.
  • Guards must protect worker from exposed moving elements such as gears, shafts, pulleys and belts.
  • Machines for debarking, limbing and chipping must have guards in place to protect workers from flying wood chunks, logs, chips, bark, limbs and other debris.

Know Your Equipment Limitations

This may prevent mishaps.

  • Follow manufacturer's instructions for all machines and vehicles.
  • Don't take unnecessary risks by pushing your equipment to the limit.
  • Learn the limitations of all machines and vehicles used.
    • Do not exceed the rated capacity of any vehicle transporting a machine.
    • Do not exceed the rated capacity of any machine to prevent rollovers and tipovers.
    • Do not place undue shock loads on wire rope.
    • Do observe speed limits and adjust speeds with changes in weather and road conditions.
    • Do not exceed the stated capacity of pallets and trailers.

Stabilize Equipment

Poorly or partially stabilized equipment is dangerous. Workers have been killed when loading or unloading logging equipment that has been inadequately supported.

  • Follow manufacturer's instructions.
    • Anchor or otherwise stabilize stationary logging machines and their components to prevent movement during operation.
    • Attach trailer equipment to the vehicle in such a way as to allow for full 90 degree turn and to prevent overturning of the towing vehicle.
    • Follow load size and proper load handling guidelines.
  • Weather and physical environment may also change equipment stability.
    • Use mud sills in bad/rainy weather as needed.
    • Do not operate on any slope greater than maximum slope allowed.

Machines and Vehicles Checklist

  • Are machines/vehicles inspected at the beginning of each shift?
  • Are machines/vehicles with defects that affect safe operation tagged and pulled from service until repaired?
  • Are the manufacturer's instructions located on each piece of equipment and are they followed?
  • Are machines/vehicles operated only by designated, trained and licensed workers?
  • Are machines with ROPS, FOPS or overhead guards equipped with seat belts? Are the belts worn by the operators?
  • Does each piece of equipment have its own fully charged portable fire extinguisher?
  • Are machines operated to maintain "two tree length" safety zone for other workers?
  • Before leaving a machine, does the operator place the transmission in park, set the parking brake and ground each moving part?
  • Are cabs free of unsecured tools and other loose items?