A Bad Day Defined - UPDATE PAGE 1

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Ralphie Boy, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. Ralphie Boy

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    While cutting trees I found on Craig’s List post today I saw something I hope I never see again.

    Two guys had just taken down a tree, that went down nicely, but it was down a small embankment. The two guys decided to attach a tow strap to the tree and to the hitch on their Chevy FWD. When they saw the strap was too short, they added a length of chain. Man, I could smell trouble brewing at this point.

    One guy got into the truck while the other stood to the side of the truck. The driver revved the Chevy to the red line and started pulling the whole tree, not a branchless log.
    The tree moved about 10 feet when there was a sound like a shotgun blast followed by a blood curdling scream.

    The tow strap had snapped just behind of its hook, which was attached to the chain. The flying chain and hook hit the guy, standing beside the truck, in the lower right jaw. The impact knocked out all his teeth on the lower right side and split his face open from the point of his chin to the base of his right ear. It did not appear to have broken his jaw, but I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on T.V. so I can’t say for sure. I’ll know more tomorrow when I check on him at the hospital.

    The morel of the story is: there is a right way and a wrong way to do everything. Always choose the right way. If you’re not sure, don’t try it until you find someone who can show you the right way. :ahhh:

    I tracked the guy down and spoke with his girlfriend, His jaw was broken in 2 places. (I told you I'm no doctor and I don't play one on T.V.) He has had one operation to repair his jaw so far and she says he will have at least three more that range from more "repair" work on the jaw to cosmetic reconstruction once the jaw has healed. Then there is the dental work! Implants or partial plate depending on the condition of the jaw bone. That my friends was an expensive load of firewood :exclaim:
     
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  2. pen

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    Yep, your thread title is appropriate.

    Sobering.

    pen
     
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  3. jimbom

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    I didn't learn about cables and such in a serious way until I got in the Navy. Cables and lines are killers if they get loose.
     
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  4. toonces

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    uggg. i thought splitting stubborn wood sucked.
     
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  5. maplewood

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    Wow - I've seen straps and chains come off a couple of times like this. Enough to know I won't be trying it.
    We don't need pics of this scene, thanks.
    Hope he's all right.
     
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  6. Pat53

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    Ouch ! I've pulled a lot of big logs out of the woods to where I can cut and load them, but NEVER with all the branches on. And I only use a strap, no chains. If feel sorry for the dude, he must be in tremendous pain. he's actually lucky, he could have been killed. With that said, there is no way he should have been standing anywhere near that vehicle. Unfortunately, people just don't use their head sometimes. Like you said, that situation had disaster written all over it.
     
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  7. seeyal8r

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    Stretchy straps are dangerous. Especially when used in a manner that can hurl a chain at you. I've towed a lot with chains and as long as they don't come undone they are relatively safe. Tow straps can snap and pop your bumper, glass, or worse your head. Although I haven't seen anyone get hurt I did see a tow strap come unstrapped when trying to pull someone out in a jeep. It stretched then popped off the bumper and flew the heavy hook end right between the driver and passenger smacking their windshield. a couple feet left or right would have been disasterous. I like to use clevace type d hooks to attach straps and chains.
     
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  8. bogydave

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    Good post.

    No such thing as to big of a strap, cable or chain, but to small can cause real damage :)
    (Use the "weakest link theory")
     
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  9. Backwoods Savage

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    And to think, people sometimes get a bit testy when you want them to stand back... That one sounds really ugly and I hope the guy is okay or as okay as possible.
     
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  10. dorkweed

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    In the words of Forrest Gump.........."Stupid is, as stupid does."
     
  11. Locust Post

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    That is terrible. Some folks just don't think but even when you do think you are being careful accidents can happen. Be careful all you wood cutters.
     
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  12. etiger2007

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    Take time be safe. Good post.
     
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  13. Lumber-Jack

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    Ralph I'm curious, were these guys also cutting trees (on someones property?) that they found on craigslist?
     
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  14. firebroad

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    Glad you posted this. I always knew about the dangers of a chain flying back at you, never thought about those straps, makes sense. And the two together sound like a recipe for horror.
    Some years ago I had some yews I wanted to uproot, and thought I might tie something around them and pull them out with the tractor. An acquaintance laughed at me, told me a story of someone doing this with his truck, had the shrub rubberband back at him and smash his rear window. I felt pretty stupid, and trashed my plans. I would rather learn and feel stupid, than assume I am knowledgeable and get hurt, or worse.

    P.S.--how is that fellow doing, any word?
     
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  15. simple.serf

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    This reminds me of a post on The Ranger Station (Ford Ranger forum) some time back. Guys were on a trail ride and got stuck. Hitched one truck to another in a similar fashion. The chain snapped and the stretch strap launched the hook/clevis through the rear window and killed the guy towing. While his family watched. Not cool.

    I use ONLY chain in good condition, take up all of the slack before pulling, and if anything looks weird STOP! and figure it out.

    I refuse to use tow straps or stretch straps
     
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  16. Boom Stick

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    pulling straps and chains (and pointing a loaded gun at your face) are the same thing. They should have recognized that and he should have stood in a safe location. Everybody's in a rush forgetting about safety.
     
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  17. Backwoods Savage

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    Not everybody is in a rush; just some folks. :)
     
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  18. Cowboy Billy

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    Chains and Cables stretch too and fly when broken. But not as much as a strap. Its important to inspect your chains, cables and straps. For kinks frays and other weak spots. One job I was they were trying to pull out a stuck excavator with a semi tow truck. He ran the cable out then used a chain to hook to the excavator. The chain broke and the cable hit the back of the truck so hard he was knocked out cold in the cab.

    Billy
     
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  19. jeff_t

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    Stuck excavator is a bad day by itself, even without injury.

    I've had 150,000lb trucks stuck many, many times. Billy knows what I'm talking about. I mean short double with daylight under the drives stuck. I got sent on all the tricky jobs, because I could. Usually. We carried 1" cables with a ginormous hook on one end and a loop on the other. They were only about ten feet long, which was too short to come up over the hood, and too short to get an operator on a machine big enough to break it. The only time I saw any get broken was when a hotshot cowboy operator (no offense) jerked on it, or there was a D8 pulling it. If that cable wasn't long enough, too bad. Figure something else out. Hook two together? Nope. Chain? Nope. There was always another way. Kinda miss those days :smirk:

    I watched a 4WD tractor jerking on a stuck lime spreader with a strap once. The tow hook broke of the truck and went through the back window and windshield of the tractor. Nobody hurt, but there were soiled undies involved.
     
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  20. osagebow

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    Wow. Sobering stuff - good post to see.
     
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  21. BurnIt13

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    I've had to drag some tree sized trunks around with my truck before but never with a strap. Straps are used for one purpose....to get vehicles unstuck! Like to pull a Honda Civic out of a snowbank or a Jeep out of a mud rut. They stretch to build up potential energy to aid in getting the vehicle out of the situation.

    Any serious dragging or pulling has to be done with a chain or cable. Lesson #1 when learning how to offroad is you only use straps when trucks are only kinda stuck. As in, only stuck because of loss of traction stuck. Lesson #2 is to never use a cheap Walmart strap that has the hooks built-in. Those are projectile missiles waiting to happen! They always fail and send the hook flying. Only use straps with open loops at the ends, the worse that can happen is the lightweight strap goes flying. Lesson #3 is to put a heavy blanket, branch, jacket, whatever on the middle of the strap or cable just in case it does snap. The weight of the object will dampen the energy in the strap.

    Glad he made it out alive.....and hopefully people learn from their mistakes.
     
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  22. Backwoods Savage

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    Thanks for the update Ralph.
     
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  23. The Frozen Chosen

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    Big +1 on the blanket trick. A Carhart jacket draped over the middle of a chain,cable or strap will dissipate almost all of the energy it creates when it breaks. It will pretty much fall straight to the ground. It dosen't seem possible but its true. Not only could it save a life but more often it saves the back window of the tow vehicle. Whe skidding a log the front of it can get cought on anything so fast the chain can fail almost before you can react. Helpers should not only be well away but also have them hide behind a tree until the skidding portion is over. Next to felling a wind loaded tree, aka. widowmaker, skidding logs is the most danderous part of the entire prosess in my opinion.
     
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  24. Bspring

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    I was waiting on someone to mention putting something over the strap. A floor mat will also work. Just think someone may read this post and wind up saving their life.
     
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