Use of High Lead Winches
Lessons learned from a high lead winching incident in England have been shared with FISA.
The incident occurred during uphill extraction by high lead winch where the chokerman had been stood to the side of the load, where he believed he was in a safe zone. The chokerman had been unable to see the load becoming snagged with brash and stumps on the ground concealing the load, and had been unable to react quick enough to avoid the branch swinging towards them. He was knocked over resulting in facial injuries and taken immediately from site to the nearest A&E for medical treatment. He was able to return to work the following day.
The lessons learned included;
- Operators using high lead winches need to ensure they are not positioned where they could be struck by the moving load and consider ground conditions that may increase risk of the load snagging. A safe method of work should be agreed prior to work commencing and documented through risk assessment. The risk assessment may need to be revised and updated as extraction operations move across a site.
- Operators must refer to the machine’s operation manual for safety information, including risk zones and safe distances to be maintained.
Should this information be unavailable this can be requested through the machine supplier / manufacturer. Where there is still uncertainty regarding safe positioning, teams must seek clarification from management.
Lessons learned from Forestry England and a Toolbox talk from Scottish Woodlands are shared below.