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Safety Alert: Log Trailer Tips Over on Firewood Cutter

A firewood cutter was killed instantly by the impact of a loaded trailer full of wood as it tipped over and fell.

By Staff
Date Posted: 7/1/2011


On a fall weekend day in the Appalachians, an individual was cutting firewood from unmerchantable tops and log pieces at a log deck.

Personal Characteristics

The firewood cutter had previous timber cutting experience. He had asked for, and had been granted, permission from the logging business owner to cut some firewood on the harvest site after hours, when the logging job was inactive. It was unknown whether he was wearing any personal protective equipment.

Unsafe Act

The individual was cutting firewood, alone, alongside a fully-loaded setout trailer that was at the log deck. The loaded trailer, while appearing to be stable, was on a slight incline. Recent rains had left the ground wet.


At some point, the loaded trailer tipped over and fell onto the firewood cutter.


The firewood cutter was killed instantly by the impact of the trailer full of wood.


Be aware of the safety and legal implications of allowing those not associated with the logging operation to be on site.

Do not work alone when operating heavy equipment or a chain saw, or when working around potentially hazardous equipment.

Understand that under certain soil moisture conditions and for certain soil types, even a seemingly stable loaded log trailer can begin sliding and can actually tip over. Never unhook from a trailer unless you are certain that the ground is firm and stable enough to hold up the trailer even in the event of rainy weather. Remember that a driver has to be able to re-hook to this trailer safely.

The only person who should be in the vicinity of a loaded log trailer is the driver when he is binding the load or jockeying the trailer.

Source: Forest Resources Association


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