Saws, Rocks, & Trees

By Travis Dotson

Here are a few more pieces of the 2020 Infographic.  This portion simply lists a few numbers we added up based on reports we received. The numbers alone may be enough to generate discussion, but a bit of context is always helpful.

Chainsaw cut to the arm from a 2020 incident.

We get reports of chainsaw cuts almost every year (so, it happens with some regularity). The cuts are often to the leg, arm, or fingertip. We have also received reports of cuts to the belly and to the face. This year it was one in the leg, one to the boot, one to the arm.

If you or anyone you supervise runs a saw, you might want to review these three reports to facilitate a conversation about how you can “tighten up” your saw operations: 2020 Chainsaw Cuts

You should also ask yourself if you are truly prepared to deal with a chainsaw cut medical emergency (remember – they happen). This blog may be helpful: Tourniquet Anyone?

ROCK! We have all heard it. We have all feared it. Rocks roll down hill and sometimes they hit firefighters.

This is always a tough one to figure out what the lessons are. Don’t be in a spot where you can get smashed by a rock? Well, that doesn’t really seem possible.

Is one lesson to always wear your helmet? Maybe. Read this blog from the perspective of someone who has been in the way of a rogue rock: Rocking a Different Hard Hat.

Here are the events from 2020: 2020 Hit by Rock Incidents.

For Discussion:

How will you deal with this hazard?

How do you decide when the risk of rolling rocks is too great? (If you have a formula, please share in the comments!)

“I could see a crack two fingers wide inside his head down to his cracked skull.” Crew Boss, Crew A

This topic is similar to the rock category. How do we reduce the danger of getting smashed by a tree? Kinda hard when you work under trees. And they are on fire.

But when people experience a tree strike or close call–they always have lessons.

Here are the ones from 2020: 2020 Hit by Tree Incidents.

As is always the case, people got hit by trees that were not involved in chainsaw ops. That is a good thing to keep in mind. Just driving or parking poses a dilemma – check this one out:

Again – what are the lessons? You can talk about how exactly you will decide what level of exposure to accept regarding this common hazard.

How will you reduce risk? And are you prepared for the bad day? Those are always good questions to ask and answer.

Tell us what you think in the comments section.

3 thoughts on “Saws, Rocks, & Trees

  1. Not sure how Lessons Learned compiles its information on incidents but I know of one that is not reported in this article. On the Bighorn fire a hotshot sawyer was struck in the back by a rolling rock and thrown into his swamper cutting his face badly and required a red medical and life flight off the hill. I would of figured thought it would have been reported?

      • JD – Thank you for the comments – and thank you for paying such close attention!
        To answer your original question about how we compile our information – it all comes from incident/accident reports. Much of our information comes from Rapid Lesson Sharing submissions (usually generated by the people involved). Also formal accident reviews such as a Facilitated Learning Analysis or an Accident Investigation.
        Bottom line is we rely heavily on those close to the accident sharing their lessons with us. We are always willing to help facilitate that process if needed – our contact info is here:
        Thanks again for chiming in – it’s much appreciated.

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