Preventing roll-overs: lessons from the industry; Video on building a good crew; Conference update

Fiona’s Blog

We’re sharing two recent Safety Alerts that highlight the importance of managing the risks of machine roll-overs. (See the alerts below). These Alerts underscore the need for workers, contractors and forest owners/managers to all be involved, so the risks of roll-overs can be managed effectively. Mechanisation has improved safety by taking people “off the hill”. But it brings its own set of risks, including machine roll-overs and maintenance-related incidents. These risks were sadly highlighted in January when a man was killed while maintaining a machine in North Canterbury. 

We don’t know how often roll-overs occur because unless someone is seriously hurt, they generally don’t appear in WorkSafe and ACC data. But anecdotal evidence suggests they are not uncommon. This puts workers at risk of serious injury and is likely costing businesses tens, or hundreds, of thousands of dollars from damaged equipment and lost production. It has also led to insurance premiums rising significantly in recent years, along with higher excesses for those who’ve made a claim. So, preventing roll-overs is good for business and for people. Anecdotal evidence suggests the following lessons for the industry:

  • Tail holds: Often machines are not suitable because they are under-sized.
  • Shovel logging: Ensure shovel logging isn’t being used in conditions that actually require a hauler.
  • Pole and swing yarders: Incidents appear to often be related to inadequate space on the skid site resulting in congestion and causing difficulty in placing guy ropes.
  • Mechanised harvesters: It’s important to ensure that backline machines are properly secured.

For all types of machinery, workers need to be properly trained and assessed to confirm they really understand the risks they’re working with and that they can operate the machinery safety. Forest owners/manager need to work with contractors to ensure the harvesting plan is right for the terrain and conditions, including what machinery will be used and the size of, and access to, skid sites. Imported machinery must also be capable of coping with New Zealand terrain, conditions and log sizes. Thanks again to the companies who shared the Alerts below – this is an important way people can learn from each other.


Excavator roll-over:An incident occurred when an earthmoving excavator tipped over while developing a skid.  

Roll-over blocks machine exits: An incident occurred where a felling machine tipped over and the emergency exit could not be used. A key lesson here is for crews to practice emergency procedures, including how to get someone out of the cab if the exits are blocked. 

Also see these Safetree resources:

Other recent Safety Alerts

New Industry Story – Stirling Logging on Building a Good Team

How can forestry companies look after their teams? See how Gisborne-based contractor Stirling Logging does it with things like top gear, hot food, smart targeting of bonuses and being a good neighbour. And see what their crews think. If you’ve got a story to tell about things helping you to run a better forestry business let us know. These stories are a great way for forestry businesses to learn from each other’s experiences.

Watch the video 

Safetree Conference – we’ve got room for more people!

The lifting of some Covid-19 restrictions has allowed us to re-open registrations for the Safetree Conference. The Conference is on June 16 in Queenstown. The FICA conference and AGM will run on the following two days. There’s a great line up of speakers and this will be an excellent chance to catch up with colleagues from the industry after two challenging years!

Click to see more or register

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