Tighten Your Chaps & Talk About Rocks

By Travis Dotson

Here are a couple lessons from 2020. These particular lessons are highlighted in our 2020 Infographic. These lessons sound very basic—because they are.

Basic lessons are fantastic because you can very easily implement them.

Remember where these lessons come from—actual incidents.

You all get the picture. If the chaps are loose the chain can pull the protective material aside and get ahold of your leg. Then it’s like not having chaps.

Many of us likely never really thought about how this could happen, but it makes sense as soon as you read about it. You have now read about it. You now have the lesson in your head. Please implement the lesson by tightening your chap straps. You might also want to share this lesson with whomever you swap tanks with (it’s hard to run the saw from the back of an ambulance).

Chaps: Cinch ’em snug.

This lesson will prove particularly useful if you happen to be a Heavy Equipment Operator or Heavy Equipment Boss.

If you are neither of those, you should still file this lesson away for the next time you encounter heavy equipment operating on rocky ground. You may be able to pass this lesson on to the folks doing the scouting. You can say: “Hey, just thought I’d mention that I have seen multiple accident reports where heavy equipment rolled because of rocks shifting their operating angle. Just a heads up.”

You might also add: “I got those reports from the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center. That outfit sure is helpful!”

OK, don’t add that second part. That would be a little weird and they might not focus on the valuable lesson about rocks and heavy equipment, but rather why you are are going out of your way to promote the Lessons Learned Center.

Focus on the lessons please.

Let’s Review:

  1. Tighten your chaps.
  2. Beware of Heavy Equipment on rocky ground (communicate this lesson to those who can put it to use).

3 thoughts on “Tighten Your Chaps & Talk About Rocks

  1. As an operator, I have felt the effects of running a track up over a rock on a slope (thankfully not a very steep slope). It gets the heart going for a bit! This is a good reminder to everyone: rookies and veterans.

  2. Heres another lesson to please validate then….dont put your various body parts where a chainsaw may contact them regardless of how much PPE you’re wearing. Judging by the pic shown very poor body and saw positioning had more to do with that injury than loose chap straps. Tight straps may have minimized injury but the training and skill level of the saw operator as illustrated appear to be the equivalent of Day 2 of S212 and someone more experienced should have called that operator out on that style of saw handling much sooner. To run a saw in that position as shown is dangerous AND quickly fatiguing. There was absolutely NO chance of the chainbrake being able to operate as designed with the wrap handle being held as shown. Its the mechanical equivalent of having a saw with no chainbrake. If the photo shown does not represent how the incident occurred Ill withdraw my comments.

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