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Rollovers – What are we Finding?

Apart from some main causes, attributable to planning, machine positioning and a loss of rope tension during critical times e.g. line shifts there are three other factors that have kept surfacing during investigations:

  • Production Pressure – coupled with slow going e.g. due to piece size and/or undergrowth.
  • Experience – or not being fully trained and/or left without supervision and/or SBO’s completed.
  • Poor Ground Conditions – which have destabilised the setup¹ and should not have been operated on.

Managing Risk – Recommendations!

  1. Ensure that felling and winch machines are parked in stable positions when performing line shifts, especially when the tether rope(s) are tightening.
  1. Ensure that the most experienced person on the job has oversight of the planning – right down to the ‘setup’ – ¹ the placement of machinery and the lines operators will work on.
  1. If using anchors these should be selected, positioned, and/or constructed by a competent person and checked daily. So too, independent winch systems.
  1. Double check ground conditions to ensure maximum holding of the winch machine.
  1. The WorkSafe NZ fact-sheet ‘Winch-assisted harvesting on steep slopes’ notes that PCBU’s should consider emergency back-up systems (that would help an operator to meet the requirements of ACOP 6.4) e.g. a warning device to warn the machine operator of anchor movement.
  1. PF Olsen also requires four-point harnesses and the wearing of strapped helmets.
  1. Focus on training and learning – noting that there are NZQA unit standards available. Call on the skills of mentors and have them come and review how you are operating.
  1. Read information published on other incidents e.g. on the Safetree website – see https://safetree.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Alert-Machine-Rollover-2017.pdf

View this article in Safety Bulletin 121