Alert of the Month April 2009 Faller Fatality

Bella Coola area
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Alert of the Month April 2009 Faller Fatatlity
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

A certified faller with several years of experience was falling trees along a highway with the assistance of an excavator.  

The faller and the excavator operator were using the excavator’s rake to control and guide the felled trees to the ground. During the process of falling a 14” alder, the tree barber-chaired and the faller was struck and fatally injured. 

The purpose of this safety alert is to provide industry with timely notice of this incident, to raise awareness of potential hazards, and to encourage preventative actions. 

Final incident investigation reports will take some time for the employer and WorkSafeBC to complete. Preliminary investigation information and photos are meant to create a visual perspective of the incident and are not intended to provide investigation evidence or to establish causal factors. 

Photo 3: Close up of incident scene. Location #4 is where the faller was found pinned by the incident tree. #3 noticeable scar on small alder appears to be caused by the barber-chair when it shot back then slid down to the base. Above the scar are small marks which may have been caused by the chainsaw chain.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Based on the limited information available at this time, it is recommended that all fallers and falling supervisors / contractors take the time to review this alert and discuss the following suggested preventative actions:

  • Treat all leaning deciduous trees as danger trees, especially those with a heavy lean, and those that may be frozen.
  • Make stumps at a comfortable height to provide maximum visibility and freedom of movement, along with adequate escape-to-cover if available.
  • Consider using a ¼ undercut to allow for cornering-up or boring techniques. Trees that already have a heavy lean may be more likely to barber-chair as the load increases due to a deeper undercut.
  • If using alternative means for falling, such as pulling over or restraining with an excavator, conduct a hazard assessment and create a written safe work plan to control the hazards and minimize the potential risks.


For more information on this submitted alert: 


Disclaimer: This Safety Alert has been produced in the interests of injury prevention. The BCFSC accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of the contents of this Safety Alert or any advice contained in it. While every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, recipients are advised that the release of this Safety Alert may have preceded full investigation of an incident and include detail that may not have been directly verified with the parties involved. Implementing any suggested actions from this Safety Alert is entirely a matter for recipients, in light of their own safety management system and related work procedures.


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For a colour version of this alert click here.pdf
For a faxable version of this alert click here.pdf

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