Summary of Mark Crawford Logging – Decision After Reconsideration

The Division investigated an accident where Employer operated a cable and pulley system powered by a logging machine (known as a yarder) to pull a group of felled and trimmed logs up the hillside to a landing area for storage prior to transport of the logs by truck. During its operation, one load of logs was pulled with the drop line cable exerting force against a standing dead tree because the logs were not in a straight line with the carriage at the upper end of the cable system. The exertion of force by the drop line against the downhill side of the standing dead tree caused it to fall over in the uphill direction striking and seriously injuring a worker. The appeal from the citation for a serious violation of section 6259(a) requiring that all trees and snags which appear to be dangerous to any logging operation shall be felled, was granted. While the plain language in the safety order describes an employer's duty with sufficient clarity and is based upon how a reasonable person experienced in logging would view the matter, the Division failed to prove that the subject dead tree appeared to be dangerous for the operation. No "reasonable person experienced in logging operations" testified that the dead tree appeared to endanger the operation when considered in the context of the terrain, the set-up and execution of the operation. Employer’s appeal was granted and the civil penalty set aside.

January 30, 2003