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WAC 296-54-539: Falling and bucking—General

Published: 2015

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WACs > Title 296 > Chapter 296-54 > Section 296-54-539



No agency filings affecting this section since 2003

WAC 296-54-539

Falling and bucking—General.

(1) The employer must assign work areas so that:
(a) Trees cannot fall into an adjacent occupied work area;
(b) The distance between work areas is at least two tree lengths of the trees being fell (see Figure 1: Distance Between Work Areas);


Figure 1: Distance Between Work Area

(c) The distance between work areas reflects the degree of slope, the density of the growth, the height of the trees, the soil structure and other hazards reasonably anticipated at the worksite; and
(d) A distance of more than two tree lengths is maintained between work areas on any slope where rolling or sliding of trees or logs is reasonably foreseeable.

This rule does not apply to a team of cutters working on the same tree.

(2) Before falling or bucking, conditions such as, but not limited to, snow and ice accumulation, the wind, the lean of tree, dead limbs, and the location of other trees, must be evaluated by the cutter and precautions taken so a hazard is not created for an employee. Accumulations of snow and ice that may create a hazard for an employee must be removed before beginning falling in the area, or the area must be avoided.
(3) Employees must not approach a cutter closer than two tree lengths of trees being felled until the cutter has acknowledged that it is safe to do so.
(4) A competent person, properly experienced in this type of work, must be placed in charge of falling and bucking operations. Inexperienced workers must not be allowed to fall timber, buck logs or windfalls unless working under the direct supervision of an experienced cutter.
(5) Trees must not be fell if the falling tree can strike any line in the logging operation and endanger workers.
(6) Before an employee falls or bucks any tree:
(a) A sufficient work area must be swamped;
(b) The cutter must plan and clear an escape path; and
(i) The escape path must extend diagonally away from the expected felling line unless such an escape path poses a greater hazard than an alternate escape path; and
(ii) An escape path must be used as soon as the tree or snag is committed to fall, roll, or slide.
(7) If a cutter has determined a tree cannot be safely fell, the work must stop until the cutter has conferred with a supervisor or an experienced cutter and determined the safest possible work method or procedure.
(8) The person in charge of cutting crews must regularly inspect the work of the cutting crews and is responsible to ensure the work is performed in a proper and safe manner.
(9) All cutters must carry or have in near proximity at all times:
(a) An axe or suitable tool for driving wedges;
(b) A minimum of two wedges;
(c) A whistle carried on the person; and
(d) A first-aid kit.
(i) The first-aid kit must contain at least two trauma bandages or equivalent absorbent gauze material and a means to secure the material in place.
(ii) First-aid supplies must be kept clean and dry.
(10) A flagperson(s) must be assigned on roads where hazardous conditions are created from falling trees. Where there is no through traffic, such as on a dead end road, warning signs or barricades may be used instead of a flagperson(s).
(11) A cutter must not fall a tree or danger tree alone when at least two cutters are necessary to minimize hazards.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 49.17.010, [49.17].040 and [49.17].050. WSR 99-17-117, § 296-54-539, filed 8/18/99, effective 12/1/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 49.17.040, [49.17].050 and [49.17].060. WSR 96-22-013, § 296-54-539, filed 10/28/96, effective 1/1/97. Statutory Authority: RCW 49.17.040, 49.17.050, 49.17.240, chapters 43.22 and 42.30 RCW. WSR 80-11-057 (Order 80-15), § 296-54-539, filed 8/20/80. Statutory Authority: RCW 49.17.040, 49.17.150 and 49.17.240. WSR 79-10-081 (Order 79-14), § 296-54-539, filed 9/21/79.]