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Worker killed maintaining seismic track drill

By COS staff

A driller was killed last month in Northern Alberta conducting maintenance on a seismic track drill that was in the drive mode and not properly locked out in the park mode, according to an Enform Safety Alert.

On Dec. 16, 2010, the driller was conducting maintenance on a seismic track drill and had an engine side cover removed to access the motor. The engine side cover was placed outside the machine while repairs were completed. The driller finished repairs and had started the seismic track drill's engine. The driller climbed outside and placed the engine side cover back inside the cab. The engine side cover came to rest against the two hydrostatic drive levers used to engage the left and right movement of the tracks.

The unmanned seismic track drill moved forward rapidly pinning the driller between a parked pick-up truck and the seismic track drill. The driller was fatally injured.

Through the investigation, it was discovered that the seismic track drill was in the drive mode and not properly locked out in the park mode. The engine side cover had the two hydrostatic drive levers forced in the forward position.

As for recommended corrective actions, Enform says all equipment must be locked out from unintentional movement when not in care and control of the operator.

Additional corrective actions:

    * Equipment or Vehicles unit must be in park and shut off when completing any fuelling and/or maintenance operations.

    * During maintenance procedures for pre-start up, equipment and vehicles should be parked with extra clearance.

    * Consider installation of secondary safety features to lockout hydrostatic drive levers when the operator is not in the driver's seat. This safety feature would provide an extra control to the park mode.

According to Enform, a Safety Alert is designed to prevent similar incidents by communicating the information at the earliest possible opportunity. Accordingly, the information may change over time. It may be necessary to obtain updates from the source before relying upon the accuracy of the information contained herein. Managers and supervisors should evaluate this information to determine if it can be applied to their own situations and practices.

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