Product Spotlight: Hammerlock Coupling Links

Product Spotlight: Hammerlock Coupling Links

What is a Hammerlock Coupling Link?

Hammerlock coupling links are used for attaching chain to master links, eye type hooks, installing a new branch to a sling or just connecting components during chain sling fabrication.

Hammerlock coupling links should NEVER be used to repair hoist chain—No coupling hardware should ever be used to repair a damaged link of chain. This can present a number of safety hazards to the operator and possibly the overall hoist. In the case of hoist chain damage or ware, the chain needs to be replaced as one piece.

Hammerlocks are also not appropriate for lengthening chain. Once again, if you desire a longer chain, you need to seek out a chain that is fabricated to the correct length, using the correct links.

Assembly and Disassembly of Hammerlock Coupling Links

Hammerlock coupling links are a favorite of riggers because they can so easily be assembled and disassembles in the field using only a hammer and punch.

How to assemble a hammerlock link:

  1. Bring the two halves of the body together so the center connectors are aligned
  2. Position the bushing in the center of the hammerlock, aligned with the connectors
  3. Insert the load pin through the hammerlock as far as you can by hand
  4. Hammer the load pin the rest of the way in, until all material is flush on both ends

 

Did you know the bushing in the center is one of the most important parts of a hammer coupling link? Without the bushing, the load pin on its own will not hold the hammerlock coupling together at all – It actually moves quite freely within the body on its own. The load pin is tapered on the ends which allows the bushing to sit in place and hold the hardware securely together. The bushing contains a spring-like system that allows the pin to push through when hammered, but returns to an un-movable state once in place – Unless directly hammered again using a punch!

How to disassemble a hammerlock link:

  1. Place the hammerlock link on a raised surface, creating room for the load pin to exit the bottom
  2. Align a punch with the center-top of the load pin
  3. Hammer the punch forcing the load pin out from the center of the hammerlock
  4. Pull now loosened parts apart by hand – It’s that easy!

In need of an affordable and reliable hammerlock coupling link?

That’s where YOKE comes in—With YOKE you never have to sacrifice quality for price. Find YOKE Hammerlock Connecting Links for Grade-100 Chain at your local Hercules SLR. YOKE Hammerlock connecting links are made of alloy steel and are quenched and tempered for maximum strength, reliability, and durability with a working load limit of 8800 pounds.

Since 1985, YOKE manufactures durable, reliable & high-quality rigging hardware that keeps your load secure, and your team safe. They run a strict production facility, with a huge emphasis on quality control & safety at every stage of the manufacturing process—From raw materials to the finished product for the end-user, with facilities across the globe, in Canada, Los Angeles and China. To learn more about YOKE at Hercules SLR, click here.


NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.   

A Look at the Towing Industry: Different Categories of Tow Trucks

A Look into the Towing Industry: Different Categories of Tow Trucks

Nothing puts a damper on your day quite like having your car break down as you’re trying to make your way through your day. When that does happen, you depend on towing companies to get your vehicle somewhere where it can be repaired safely. This is likely the extent of many people’s knowledge when it comes to tow trucks. They’re an industry that the everyday person wouldn’t think much of, until they are forced to Google the phone number of the nearest one, to save them from their rotten day.

Did you know there isn’t a one-size-fits-all tow truck? Towing companies often have a variety of vehicles on hand, each made for a different type of job. Tow jobs aren’t just limited to picking up small broken down cars on the side of the road, they also have to serve larger vehicles like RVs, box trucks and even the heaviest 18 wheelers. Even beyond the load size, tow companies have to be prepared to get vehicles out of hard-to-maneuver situations in the unfortunate case of an accident.

Tow trucks can be sorted into three basic types, light-duty, medium-duty and heavy-duty.

Light-Duty Tow Trucks

Light-duty tow trucks are used for the majority of incidents and are sent out to tow cars, motorcycles and smaller trucks. They are capable of performing a variety of tasks such as removing abandoned vehicles, private property towing and accident recovery. They have the ability to maneuver through small lots or parking garages, but usually stick to jobs that are located on paved and flat terrain.

   

Light-duty tow trucks are Class A vehicles that are often either conventional or rollback wreckers. They are capable of towing between 7,000 and 11,000 pounds and often rely on winch & cable systems and wheel lifts to do their work.

Medium-Duty Tow Trucks

Medium-duty tow trucks are used for heavier duty jobs involving vehicles like box trucks, RV’s and farm equipment. They are also the choice for certain recovery operations for smaller vehicles because they have a larger range of configurations such as: lowering platforms or landolls, automatic trailers, low-profile trailers, and boom lifts. However, since they are a bigger vehicle, they are not ideal for tighter environments like parking lots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medium-duty tow trucks are Class B vehicles that often feature some varying styles of flatbed. They are capable of towing between 7,000 and 17,000 pounds and feature at least a 12-ton capacity boom lift, 5-ton winch, and 5-ton wheel lift.

Heavy-Duty Tow Trucks

Heavy-duty tow trucks are the big guys. They are used for vehicles like garbage trucks, dump trucks and semi-trailers. These tow trucks handle the biggest loads and the most complicated recoveries. These are the tow trucks that vehicles like 18 wheelers depend on because not only are they capable of getting large vehicles themselves out of sticky situations, but also whatever that vehicle was hauling. They are also the tow truck used for vehicles that have gone off the road or down an embankment.

These are Class A vehicles that are required to feature at least a 25-ton boom lift, 25-ton winch and 6-ton wheel lift. They are capable of towing any load greater than 17,000 pounds!


The jobs that these tow trucks perform rely on more than just the truck itself. As we’ve mentioned above, each truck uses a different type of lifting and towing equipment. Especially when dealing with heavy-duty tow jobs, it’s extremely important that the tow truck is outfitted with high-quality lifting gear that won’t break under the pressure.

That’s where YOKE comes in! Since 1985, YOKE has been manufacturing durable, reliable & high-quality hardware that keeps your load secure, and your team safe. No need to choose between quality and affordability, YOKE provides top safety certified lifting equipment without the big price tag. Products like the Grade 100 Clevis Grab Hook, when used attached to wire rope or welded chain, is sturdy enough for the toughest tow jobs. When purchasing your towing gear, don’t sacrifice quality for price – Choose YOKE instead. Learn more about YOKE at Hercules SLR by clicking here.


NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.   

Fall for Safety: Tips for Autumn Yard Maintenance

Fall for Safety: Tips for Autumn Yard Maintenance

Who doesn’t love to watch the leaves on trees slowly turn from green to gold, orange, and red – It’s so beautiful! However, if you’re a home or business owner, your thoughts may have turned to cleaning up those very leaves once they fall—And all the other essential outdoor cleanup tasks that need to get done before the weather gets too cold and the snow begins.

You may not realize it, but many typical fall cleanup tasks can lead to injury if not done with the correct safety measures in place. We want to challenge everyone to fall for safety this year and keep safety in mind when performing their autumn yard maintenance.

Leaf Removal

Removing debris like fallen leaves is a task many people expect to be on their list once fall comes around. Raking leaves, in particular, is a task many of us probably perform without giving a second thought, or worrying about safety. But, if you come in from raking with a sore and achy body—Give these tips a try before simply chalking it up to the aging process.

Safety Tips for Raking

  • Avoid twisting your body while raking—Turn with your feet and above motions like throwing over your shoulder. These movements can overly strain your back muscles.
  • Use your knees when lifting and take a break if you start feeling any back pain. Never push your limits!
  • Try to vary movements as much as possible to avoid overuse of one muscle group
  • Wear gloves and long sleeves to protect your hands from blisters and skin from thorns or other debris.
  • Wear shoes with strong traction—Wet leaves can be slippery!
  • Stay hydrated and don’t overdo it—Whether you realize it or not, raking leaves is a workout. You may need to take breaks or slow your pace depending on your personal health and fitness—And that’s okay!

Leaf Blowing Safety

Remember, leaf blowers blow far more than just leaves. If you’ve used a leaf blower before, you’ve probably noticed how much dirt and debris gets kicked up along with the leaves you’re actually trying to move. If that dirt finds it’s way into your eyes, it’s going to be uncomfortable at best—But cause an eye injury at worst. Because of this, safety glasses or goggles should be worn at all times when operating a leaf blower.

Some other things to keep in mind when you operate a leaf blower are:

  • Inspect the blower before use to make sure controls, parts and safety devices are not damaged and are working properly.
  • Don’t point an operating blower in the direction of people or pets.
  • Make sure bystanders, including other operators, are at a safe distance. Turn the leaf blower off if you’re approached.
  • Do not use a leaf blower indoors (yep, we couldn’t believe it either!) it happens or in a poorly ventilated area.
  • Never modify a leaf blower in any way not authorized by the manufacturer.

Gutter Cleaning

Clearing your gutters is one of those “I gotta do it” tasks, especially since leaves have a tendency to clog it up. So, since it’s time to clean out the gutters—Let’s make sure you do it safely!

  • Wear gloves to protect your hands—Gutters can be full of dirty, rotting leaf debris that often contain bird or squirrel droppings that are ridden with bacteria. They can also prevent painful cuts from sharp debris in the gutter or an old metal gutter that my have developed sharp edges.
  • Protect your eyes by wearing safety glasses or goggles—You never quite know what may fly out of a gutter.
  • If you have to get on the roof to access part of the gutter wear non-slip shoes and ensure the roof is completely dry. Fall protection equipment should be used if your building’s roof is near or above 10ft off the ground—Check with your jurisdiction for requirements when working at heights.
  • Be mindful of power lines around you, especially if electrical wires connect to your building near your gutters.
  • Practice ladder & fall protection safety!

Ladder Safety Quick Tips

Check out this article for more in-depth safety tips.

  • Try to have someone with you while using a ladder—If this isn’t possible, always at least let someone know you will be working on a ladder and have them expect to hear from you once you’ve safely completed your task.
  • Take a moment to inspect both the ladder and the area where you’re using it—Make sure your ladder is in good working condition and doesn’t need any repairs.
  • Use a safe and sturdy ladder—We recommend one with a small shelf strong enough to hold a five-gallon bucket to collect gutter debris. If you do use a bucket, ensure it’s secured with a lanyard.
  • Maintain three-point contact by keeping two hands and one-foot, or two-feet and one hand on a ladder always.
ladder touch points how to climb a ladder
3-Point contact on a ladder.
  • Use the appropriate safety devices when needed (e.g., safety belt, fall restraint, etc.)
  • Do not “shift” or “walk” a stepladder when standing on it
  • Do not reach from the centre of a ladder (always climb down and move the ladder if you cannot reach).

Trimming Branches

As leaves fall from the trees, branches that may need trimming present themselves from hiding. Taking advantage of this time can be the best way to keep up with tree pruning along your property. If you’re looking for an easy how-to for pruning trees, check out this video!

Small, cracked or dying branches may be able to be removed by simply breaking them away, but larger branches will require tools like chainsaws for removal. NEVER operate a chainsaw without the proper training—Check out some more in-depth chainsaw safety tips here.

It’s always smart to use fall protection equipment when working at heights, so check in your jurisdiction for requirements in your area—However, it’s often required when working at heights 10-ft or higher.

Set-up

  • Make sure you are properly trained on how to use any equipment being used. Some jurisdictions may have regulations about the type of training required for tree cutting and trimming—It’s always a good idea to get trained whether it’s necessary or not. (Training rarely hurts, but injuries do).
  • Before trimming a tree, inspect the area to identify possible hazards (e.g. power lines, broken or cracked limbs). Don’t use conductive tools near power-lines (e.g. certain ladders, pole trimmers).
  • Mark off your work area and prevent bystander access.
  • Inspect your fall protection equipment, lines and ladder before each use.
  • If climbing the tree, inspect the tree and its limbs for cracks and weakness before the climb.

Operation

  • Wear the right PPE for the job, like:
    • Leather gloves to protect your hands.
    • Hard hat to protect your head from any branches that may fall above you.
    • Safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from dust.
    • Ear protection to muffle loud noises coming from equipment.
    • Non-slip shoes
    • Pants or chaps with sewn-in ballistic nylon pads, preferably ones that extend to the beltline rather than ones that stop at the upper thigh as they provide extra protection.
    • Fall Protection – If working at a height (necessary if above 10ft), fall protection equipment like body belts, harnesses and lanyards should be used. Need fall protective equipment? We’ve got you covered!
  • Break small dead branches off by hand as you climb – Remove larger branches with the proper tools.
  • Be sure that you can see the cut you’re making, so you d not cut hand lines, safety ropes, etc. unintentionally.
  • Work with a partner – It’s always a good idea to work with another person who stays on the ground while you’re climbing. In the event of an emergency, both you and your partner should have training in CPR and first aid.

LOOKING TO BRING YOUR WORKPLACE SAFETY TO THE NEXT LEVEL? CALL US—HERCULES SLR OFFERS AN EXTENSIVE SUITE OF HIGH-QUALITY SAFETY TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION COURSES.

Fire Prevention Week: How to Prevent Fires in the Workplace

Fire Prevention Week: How to Prevent Fires in the Workplace

If a fire broke out where you work would you know what to do? Are you aware of your workplace evacuation plan? Are you equipped with the proper knowledge and tools to prevent fires during your work processes? You should know the answers to all these questions.

Preventing fires in the workplace isn’t just about safety, it’s a smart business move. It’s costly enough to run a business in today’s world, and nobody wants to see their profits go up in flames. Every year, workplace fires cause injury and property loss, both of which you can avoid by having the right fire prevention protocols in place.

In recognition of fire prevention week (Sunday, October 6-Saturday, October 12), we’re going to go over some of the most important aspects of workplace fire prevention. Interested in learning more? Read on!

Fire Safety Plans

The best way to be prepared for anything, especially emergency situations, is to have an established plan. Once an emergency hits, like a fire breaking out in your workplace, it’s extremely hard to think clearly. Having a clear plan already laid out makes it so you don’t have to do any rash thinking – You just have to follow the steps laid out for you.

Approved fire safety plans are often required per your local fire code – depending on the building, occupancy rate or industry. If you’re not aware if a fire safety plan is necessary for your organization you can check with your jurisdiction, municipality, or local fire department for more information. However, fire safety plans are a tool you should consider implementing, even if it’s not enforced.

Fire safety plans should be very detailed and outline an evacuation plan, maintenance, housekeeping requirements, and fire control methods. Different jurisdictions may require certain things, and some may provide a standard template or request a certain format – But, in general, a fire safety plan should include:

  • How to sound the alarm
  • How and when to notify the fire department and designated senior staff (all telephones on-site should have the emergency phone numbers listed, as well as the address of the work-site should be posted close by)
  • An evacuation plan
  • How to confine, control and extinguish the fire (if possible)
  • Fire drill procedures as well as how often they will be performed
  • Specialized information for any designated staff given fire safety duties and responsibilities
  • Any staff education and training necessary
  • Detailed maintenance procedures for any fire suppression equipment
  • Operation instructions including the type and location of all fire or emergency systems
  • Alternative (back-up) fire safety measures
  • How to properly allow the fire department access to the building

View Halifax, Nova Scotia’s, fire safety plan template by clicking here if you’d like to see an example. (You may be able to find one for your specific city by doing a quick Google search!)

Adequate Fire Suppression Equipment

Depending on the work environment, you’ll likely need different types of fire suppression. No matter the type(s) of fire suppression equipment used, employees should be trained on its proper use. You should only use fire suppression equipment if you have received proper training. Examples of some of the more typical types of fire suppression/control systems are:

  • Fire sprinklers – These will be activated automatically in the case of a fire
  • Fire exits – Doors with illuminated exit signs show you the best emergency exit route in case of a fire
  • Fire alarm – A device that makes a loud noise to warn people of a fire. Typically there will be devices located near emergency exits that allow you to sound these alarms, or they may automatically sound when a fire is detected.
  • Smoke detector – An alarm that will sound if smoke is detected
  • Standpipe and hose system – These are usually located in the hallway and serve as a pre-formed connection to a water supply (basically, an extension of the fire hydrant system). They are most common in buildings with large floor plans where areas of the space are a great distance from any entrances. These systems should only be used by specially trained personnel.
  • Fire extinguishers – These are usually mounted on the wall near exits or near flammable equipment. Read on to learn more about fire extinguishers! 

Fire Extinguishers

There should be at the very minimum one fire extinguisher for each level of your workspace. If your work environment/building includes a kitchen, workshop, garage or basement, each of these spaces should have its own fire extinguisher.

You should only attempt to use a fire extinguisher if the fire is contained to a single object. Make sure you and everyone else in the building are safe from both the fire and smoke, and that the fire is not blocking your only exit from the building. ALWAYS prioritize your safety and exit the building to wait for professional assistance if you feel you are unable to put the fire out on your own.

How to use a fire extinguisher

It is very important that you are using the correct type of fire extinguisher when attempting to put out a fire. There are five classes of fire extinguishers – A, B, C, D and K – Each class puts out a different type of fire. Evaluate worksites for potential fire hazards and have the correct extinguisher on-hand for the types of materials used.

Fire extinguisher classes:

  • Class A – Ordinary combustibles like wood or paper
  • Class B – Flammable liquids like grease, gasoline, and oil
  • Class C – Electrically energized fires
  • Class D – Flammable metals
  • Class K – Kitchen fires, effective on cooking oils, animal fats, and vegetable oils

You can purchase multipurpose extinguishers that are suitable for more than one class (A-B, B-C or A-B-C). You’ll find a label on the side of fire extinguishers that show which classes it should be used on.

If it is safe to do so, using the correct extinguisher, follow the PASS method to use your extinguisher:

  1. P – Pull the pin, this will break the tamper seal
  2. A – Aim low, pointing the nozzle or hose at the base of the fire. Do not hold by the horn/nozzle because if it is a CO2 extinguisher, it will get very cold and could harm the skin.
  3. S – Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent
  4. S – Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire and fuel source until the fire is out

If you have an issue during any of these steps, do not continue and exit the building immediately.

Proper Handling and Storage of Flammable Materials

Flammable materials include anything that easily or rapidly ignites and burns. Flammable materials are not rare, and many workplaces use at least a few in their everyday operations! Following labels and doing research is the best way to know exactly what within your workplace is flammable, but some examples are:

  • Gases – Natural gas, propane, butane, methane, acetylene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide.
  • Liquids – Gasoline, many solvents such as acetone, alcohol, paint and paint thinner, adhesives, degreasers, certain cleaners, waxes, and polishes.
  • Solids – Some types of coal, pyrophoric metals, solid wastes soaked with flammable liquids, gunpowder, matches

Employers are responsible for developing work procedures for the use and storage of any flammable materials used within your job, and to ensure that all employees are trained on those procedures. These procedures should include:

  • Storage
  • Dispensing
  • Spill clean up
  • Incompatible materials
  • Use and maintenance of any controls used in the workplace such as ventilation
  • Required personal protective equipment (PPE) when using the materials
  • Fire protection and prevention measures
  • An outline of any special circumstances which may require additional precautions or training (e.g. confined spaces)

Storage of Flammable Materials

Flammable materials must not be stored near exits, electrical equipment or heating equipment. They should be separated by type and stored in well-ventilated storage areas, away from any potential sources of ignition.

Always ensure and flammable materials are stored in appropriate containers made for these types of materials. Refer to regulations in your area when transferring materials from the container you purchase it in, as many jurisdictions have specific standards that must be met. Some Fire Codes also include requirements for storage, handling, and maximum amounts of flammable materials permitted in a building.

Always remember to label any portable containers with the necessary information often found on the original container, such as:

  • Container contents
  • If contents are flammable
  • If the container should be kept away from ignition sources (e.g. heat, spark, and open flames)
  • The container should be kept closed when not in use
  • A reference to the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for the product

Handling of Flammable Materials

There are three main ways to prevent fires with handling flammable materials:

  1. Limit the amount of flammable materials
    •  Keep only what is needed on site
    • Purchase only the amount of materials needed
    • Do not allow hazardous waste build-up by removing it on a regular basis
  2. Provide proper ventilation to ensure flammable vapors do not accumulate
    • Install proper ventilation in work and storage spaces
    • Ensure all exhausts lead outside the building and away from any air intakes
    • Maintain ventilation system following any building codes that may apply
  3. Control ignition sources
    • Ground and bond all work and ignition-proof equipment
    • Ensure that there is no smoking in work areas where flammable materials are used or stored
    • Never store flammable materials near hot equipment or open flames
    • Use safe and non-sparking tools

Safe Housekeeping Practices

As with many health and safety precautions, housekeeping can really make or break your efforts. You can have access to the best fire suppression equipment possible, but it won’t do any good if that equipment is hidden behind a stack of improperly stored boxes. As well, clutter is fuel to a fire and can inhibit your access to emergency exits.

Below is a general housekeeping checklist that can be followed to aid in fire prevention. If your workspace includes elements like a full kitchen, laundry facilities, spray finishing services, or large refrigeration units, additional elements will need to be added to your list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to download this checklist as a PDF if you’d like to print and use it for your workplace housekeeping – Or, sign-up here and find more Safety Topics & downloadable content to share at your next Toolbox Talk.

Interested in bringing your workplace safety to the next level? Through our Hercules Training Academy, we offer an extensive suite of high-quality safety training and certification courses. Whether you’re looking for initial or refresher training, we provide practical, hands-on courses designed to exceed the minimum safety requirements. We have Red Cross standard first aid, Red Cross emergency first aid and WHMIS 2015 with GHS just to name a few that may come in handy with your fire prevent measures! You can check out all of our course offerings by clicking here!


LOOKING TO BRING YOUR WORKPLACE SAFETY TO THE NEXT LEVEL? CALL US—HERCULES SLR OFFERS AN EXTENSIVE SUITE OF HIGH-QUALITY SAFETY TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION COURSES.

10 Safety Tips Every Chainsaw User Should Know

10 Safety Tips Every Chainsaw User Should Know

Chainsaws are very commonly used and effective tools. When it comes to cutting through though materials in a hurry, nothing beats the power of a chainsaw. Chainsaws are used in many industries, and in ones like forestry, they are likely used daily by workers. Even outside the workplace, chainsaws are an easily accessible tool for the average person trying to prepare firewood for their home.

However, with great power comes great responsibility. Chainsaws are not a tool you should just bring home, unbox and start using without any experience. Even for the pros, don’t allow yourself to become overly comfortable with chainsaws – they are a tool that if used incorrectly, could result in serious injury.

The best way to ensure you are using a chainsaw correctly and safely is to take a chainsaw safety course. This is just one of many courses offered at the Hercules Training Academy! Learn more about the course by clicking here.

In this blog, we’ll go over some general safety tips that could prevent injuries when operating a chainsaw. Consider this the ‘sprinkles on top’ of an already established trained knowledge on the tool, so remember, Nobody wants a big bowl of just sprinkles—Get trained!

General Chainsaw Safety 

  1. Read the manufacturer owner’s manual carefully. Every chainsaw is different so don’t assume you can skip this step if you’ve used a chainsaw before.
  2. Review health and safety legislation on chainsaw operation in your area. Some jurisdictions have certain requirements when operating a chainsaw, including different types of PPE like cut-resistant footwear or leg guards.
  3. Inspect your chainsaw before starting. Ensure that all safety features are working and the chain is tight on the guide bar.
  4. Understand your limits. If you’re an at-home chainsaw user, don’t let your ego get in that way of calling a professional for a job that seems out of your depth. And, if you are a professional, don’t be afraid to request extra assistance for large jobs, and don’t allow yourself to be pressured to speed through a job to meet a too-tight deadline.
  5. Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Always wear the following PPE:
    • Eye Protection – Safety glasses with side shields, safety goggles, and face shields approved by CAN/CSA Standard z94.3-15: Eye and Face Protectors.
    • Gloves and Mitts – Leather gloves with ballistic nylon reinforcement on the back offer the best grip on the saw and absorbs some vibration which provides protection to the hands. Leather gloves also prevent cuts when sharpening the saw.
    • Foot Protection – Heavy, well-fitted, safety work boots approved by CAN/CSA Standard z195-14 (R2019): Protective Footwear. In addition to the regular required safety boots, chain saw operators should consider wearing boots made from cut-resistant materials that offer protection from contact with running chain saws (this is required in some jurisdictions).
    • Head Protection – A hard hat in a highly visible color, approved by CSA Standard Z94.1-15: Industrial Protective Headwear. 
    • Leg Protection – Pants or chaps with sewn-in ballistic nylon pads, preferably ones that extend to the beltline rather than ones that stop at the upper thigh as they provide extra protection. All clothing worn while operating a chainsaw should be well-fitted, without cuffs, and made of close-woven fabrics.
    • Fall Protection – If working at a height (necessary if above 10ft), fall protection equipment like body belts, harnesses and lanyards should be used. Need fall protective equipment? We’ve got you covered!
  6. Do not cut alone. Always have someone nearby if something goes wrong. If you have a team working spread out on a project, ensure everyone knows where everyone else is and who’s closest to them if they need to reach out for help.
  7. Be aware of your surroundings. Only operate a chainsaw outside or in a well-ventilated area. Be aware of weather conditions, terrain, wildlife, buildings, power lines, vehicles, and other people.
  8. Only operate saws when you are well-rested. Fatigue causes carelessness—If using a chainsaw on the job, be extra cautious before breaks and at the end of your shift.
  9. Don’t use a chainsaw on a ladder or climb a tree with your chainsaw if not professionally trained to do so. Consider buying a pole saw if you’re trying to complete jobs like trimming high-up branches.
  10. Ask questions, be safe. If you have any doubts about doing the job safely, seek out the proper protocol before continuing. Varying safety procedures may be necessary or required depending on the job at hand (e.g. working at a height, or presence of trip, slip, snag or fall hazards). You should also have a first aid kit nearby at all times when operating a chainsaw.

Just as a bit of a bonus, we broke down some do’s and don’ts when cutting with a chainsaw and tips to fuel up! Hopefully these coupled with our off the chain training course will have you equipped with all the knowledge you need to get the job done well, and most importantly, safe.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cutting With a Chainsaw

DO

  • Plan each job before you start. If you’re unsure what to do next, turn off your chainsaw and come up with a plan before continuing.
  • Hold and carry the chainsaw by its front handle, with the muffler away from your body and the guard bar pointing behind you.
  • Use the correct saw—Proper weight, power and bar length should match the job at hand.
  • Operate the chain saw in a firm two-handed grip with fingers and thumb surrounding the handles. Always keep both feet firmly positioned.
  • Maintain full power throughout the entire cut.
  • Ensure the chain does not move when the chain saw is idling.
  • Keep your saw clean- free of sawdust, dirt, and oil.

DON’T

  • Start a chainsaw when it is resting against any part of your body.
  • Stand directly behind the saw.
  • Leave a saw running unattended.
  • Carry a chainsaw while it’s running.
  • Make contact with the muffler—This may cause serious skin burns.
  • Cut with the nose or tip of your chainsaw – this will cause kickback and can lead to serious injury.

Tips for Fueling a Chainsaw

  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions for what oil/gas mixture should be used for your specific model.
  • Only use safety containers for storing and dispensing fuel.
  • Do not refuel a running or hot saw – always allow it to cool down before refueling.
  • Ensure you are at least 3 meters (10 ft) from sources of ignition before dispensing fuel. Do not smoke or be around smokers while refueling. 
  • Use a funnel or spout for pouring and wipe away any spills.
  • Mix fuel in a well-ventilated area and keep a well-maintained fire extinguisher nearby.

Remember, the best way to ensure you are using a chainsaw correctly and safely is to take a chainsaw safety course. Through our Hercules Training Academy, we offer an extensive suite of high-quality safety training and certification courses. Whether you’re looking for initial or refresher training, we provide practical, hands-on courses designed to exceed the minimum safety requirements. Learn more about the Chainsaw Safety course by clicking here.


LOOKING TO BRING YOUR WORKPLACE SAFETY TO THE NEXT LEVEL? CALL US—HERCULES SLR OFFERS AN EXTENSIVE SUITE OF HIGH-QUALITY SAFETY TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION COURSES.

Meet Lead Inspector, Shane Ford

hercules slr employee spotlight shane ford

Get to Know: Shane Ford, Lead Inspector at Hercules SLR in Brampton, Ontario 

Shane Ford, Lead Inspector, @the_inspector_guy, the guy who keeps you safe…You probably know Shane Ford, our Lead Inspector in Brampton, Ontario by at least one of these names. And you don’t, you should. We sit down with Lead Inspector Shane Ford in Brampton, Ontario, to find out why he made the switch to rigging from the telecommunication industry (yep, really!), what he loves about his role at Hercules SLR and the biggest mistakes he finds out in the field.

Tell us about your educational background:

Originally, I worked in telecommunications. I made the transition to rigging after I met someone who worked in the field and learnt a bit about it.

Now, I’ve been in the industry just over 13 years—I started on the floor in shipping & receiving, and now I’m the Lead Inspector at our branch in Brampton, Ontario.

Tell us a about your role at Hercules SLR—What does a typical day look like for you?

My day starts at 8AM, usually on the warehouse on the floor where I inspect chain slings, add chain to chain blocks and whatever other rigging hardware needs to be looked at. Then, on an interesting day, I might get an emergency call for a project, like a windmill inspection. (Editor’s note: did you know there are approximately 3,800 blade failures each year?) The windmill is about a 2 1/2 hour-drive away, and a 365-stair climb when I get there.

Once I’m through inspecting the windmill, that’s a day. Often when you’re working on huge structures, like a crane, they’ll have an elevator on the ladder—Not on windmills! There are rest-points, but in all honesty I’m usually so eager to get to work, I climb the entire structure in one-go.

windmill inspection by shane ford at hercules slr
Windmill inspected by Shane Ford.

In fact, a lot of my days look quite different. For example, tomorrow I’m off working for the City of Toronto, today I’m working in the shop, and then I’m heading to a business that sells industrial tarps. These tarps aren’t actually meant to cover things like you might think, but are used for specialty fall protection and lifting & hoisting applications to move things on-site.

Can you tell us about your work experience before joining Hercules SLR?

Like I mentioned earlier, I originally worked in the telecommunication industry. I worked in a hobby-shop and then in management. I managed different cell phone branches in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and was responsible for sales, helping with technical issues and customer issues. This experience definitely helped me deal with customers when I’m in the field doing inspections.

Why did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?

Really, I just wanted a career change and was looking for something that offered a stable, steady income, was hands-on and also ‘pushed the envelope’.

I’m definitely more mechanically-inclined, and wanted to pursue a field that challenged that aspect of myself.

As an inspector at Hercules SLR, I get to work with equipment like air hoists & manual hoists that I didn’t have a chance to work on before, which has pushed my interests a lot.

Where have you traveled during your time at Hercules SLR, and where did you enjoy traveling to most?

I’ve got to travel to so many cool places, a lot of them in my own backyard! Can I say more than one? (laughs)

One of the places I’ve enjoyed the most has got to be Shelburne, Ontario to work on wind turbines (a large vaned wheel which rotates with the wind to generate electricity) in the facility there. They don’t let many people up and inside them, so it feels like a big privilege—And the view is amazing!

Sometimes, I get to observe the people at work and what they do when I’m out on a job. Another cool place I’ve traveled for work is the GM plant in Oshawa where I got watch them manufacture cars from start to finish.

General Dynamics is another cool place! To work there, you need security clearance, a variety of official background checks and a guard to accompany you—It’s intense but very cool. There, I had the chance to watch them manufacture amoured personnel carriers for the army from start to finish. It’s pretty cool to see a piece of sheet metal turn into an entire vehicle right before your eyes!

However, I think the coolest project I actually worked on are the Zip-lines at Niagara Falls. I was one of three Hercules SLR Inspectors who prepped the wire rope with hooks and sockets on each end, tested it in-house, and installed it with specialty 1/2 lock-strand—It went ‘live’ in 2015, and is always cool to see people using.

niagara falls ziplines installed by hercules slr
Zip-lines at Niagara Falls, installed by Shane Ford and a team of Hercules SLR Inspection Technicians.
Is there anywhere that you would like to travel to in the future with Hercules SLR?

Honestly, I couldn’t imagine anything more fun or crazy. I get to go so many cool places, that I didn’t even know rigging was used before I started working with Hercules SLR. A really good example of this is the Bank of Canada, who uses wire rope. A lot of people might not think of rigging equipment in a bank, but it’s definitely there. At the Bank. an armed guard stands by a gated door while I head in and inspect the wire rope they use. It’s neat to get a behind-the-scenes look at places I normally wouldn’t!

What’s something you’re most proud to have accomplished in your career at Hercules SLR?

I’m most proud of what I’ve accomplished and how far I’ve been able to advance in my career at Hercules SLR in 2 1/2 years. I came into this trade from a completely different industry, and now I’m certified by organizational bodies like LEEA, Columbus McKinnon, Crosby, Samson Rope and more and always have new learning opportunities.

Another thing I’m proud to have accomplished in the securing, lifting and rigging industry personally, is the trust I get on a company-level and from customers’ onsite. I work out of our Brampton branch, and help out Hamilton and Brampton. I actually live almost exactly between these branches, so I’m able to travel between both of them to provide service, and also travel to our branch in Sarnia for inspections which gives me a good spread of Ontario.

Another thing that makes me happy is knowing that I help keep people safe. I like going to help, solve people’s problems and making sure ***that I’m keeping others’ safe. I can’t help but think of my own family when I’m on a site, and how everyone around me has a family, too—I want to go home to my family, and I want them to go home to theirs, too. 

What do you enjoy most about the securing, lifting and rigging industry? 

Honestly, I enjoy the challenges the most. I love going to help & solve mechanical challenges for people. We might get a call that a piece of machinery is stuck, and it’s delaying an entire project. You have to diagnose and think about it on-the-spot, and often the work we’re doing can prevent something disastrous from happening, and can actually save lives.

For example, on one call we had an inspector notice a 200-lb hoist about 50-feet in the air that was having operational issues. We had to take the hoist out of service and into our shop. Yes, it’s 200-pounds, but an object falling that high can deflect and cause a lot more damage than you might think. The more experience you have, the more it helps you do this type of job.

“Don’t put on an act when the inspector’s around, and actually make it habit to perform visual inspections.”

dangerous modified rigging equipment
Modified rigging equipment that came across Shane Ford’s desk—This would be very dangerous if used in the field.
What’s something clients/customers often don’t know about inspections when you visit them onsite? A mistake? 

Well, it’s not necessarily a mistake, but I always like to say “seeing is believing.” I’ve done break tests for customers’ who don’t think that a piece of equipment will break under certain conditions or applications.

Honestly, the main thing that clients or customers’ don’t realize about inspections are how important they are. A big misconception people have is that they have to check their equipment only when there’s an incident, or they are completely unaware of when or how often inspections need to be done.

For example, sometimes a piece of equipment like a sling fails, and I’m called in to inspect it. I’ll ask, “when have you had inspections done last?” Often, they can’t answer, even though it’s important information to know. I’ll usually explain how often that piece of equipment needs work on, and you see their eyes bulge out of their heads. Then, you end up going through when and how often it should be inspected, and you can sometimes tell they haven’t been following those steps. Instead of having inspections done when an accident happens, have inspections done regularly to prevent accidents from happening.

Another thing I often see are people grabbing the wrong piece of equipment, or something that’s failed, or picking up a piece of equipment like safety harness or sling and not conducting a visual inspection first. It’s important to make it a habit, so your equipment doesn’t fail from something that could have been easily prevented if you just looked.

So I guess my biggest tips are: don’t put on an act when the inspector’s around, and actually make it habit to perform visual inspections.

Shane Ford with his son.
Give us your best tip for passing inspections:

I can’t stress this enough—Training, training, training. Everybody needs training! Even people who say they’re confident and know can always use training, or even updated training to keep them fresh. Training, and keeping the importance of safety top-of-mind for your team will eliminate the mis-use of equipment, equipment failures & lots of accidents.

For example, we had a technician who specialized in fall protection (harness’, lanyards, etc,) and found that a lot of gear passed inspection and was being used, and it was not safe to use. The employee that originally told us our equipment was safe to use (and wasn’t), and was actually hired for health & safety, but didn’t have specific training for fall protection. They passed some harnesses that were cut, lanyards that had tears and hooks with defects that would typically never pass any inspection, and employees were using it. This gear  would not arrest a worker if a fall happened—But training for health & safety personnel would help them understand the risk, and what safe equipment actually looks like.

What’s a big misconception businesses have about inspections?  

I think I mentioned this, but a big misconception people have about inspections are how often they need to be done, and this needs to be common knowledge.

Another big misconception is that just anyone can perform inspections, which is not the case. Inspections must be done by a competent person, and it has to be the right person for the right job. Like with the case of the health & safety employee who passed torn and broken fall protection equipment, he may have had a lot of knowledge about general health & safety, but when it comes to human life, that’s often not enough. It has to be the right person for the right job, or a collaboration with someone who is a competent person in that specific field.

Inspections are a great career choice if you’re curious, love to learn, solve problems & are mechanically-inclined. I get to work around food, pharmaceuticals, automotive, manufacturing and so much more. I’m able to learn so much about businesses and jobs here in Ontario that I’d have no exposure to otherwise. It’s actually pretty cool when you start to see all the different industries who use rigging & fall protection gear, and how many lives are affected by a piece of equipment running well.


NEED A QUOTE? GET INSPECTED. STAY SAFE. HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.   

5 Workplace Safety Hazards to Avoid

5 Workplace Safety Hazards to Avoid

Every worker has the right to return home safe each and every day. The most recent report conducted by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), showed that 251,508 Canadian’s accepted claims for lost time due to work-related injury or disease in just one year. Following simple health and safety precautions could have eliminated many of these injuries.

The following are 5 health and safety violations that topped the reported violation list in Ontario last year—Read on to ensure you don’t become part of a statistic.

1. Lack of Proper Fall Protection

According to the CCOHS, over 42,000 workers a year are injured due to fall incidents. This represents approximately 18% of the time-loss injuries accepted by the Workers Compensation Board across Canada.

So how do these falls happen? The majority (around 67%) are the result of slips and trips while the remaining are falls from a height.

Preventing Falls due to Slips and Trips

The most basic way to prevent slips and trips is to maintain proper housekeeping measures, such as:

  •  Cleaning spills immediately if possible, and marking them as ‘wet areas’ if not
  •  Ensuring debris is mopped or swept from floors
  •  Removing obstacles from walkways
  •  Securing mats, rugs or carpets to the floor to ensure they lay flat
  •  Covering and securing cables that cross walkways
  •  Replacing used light bulbs and faulty switches to ensure all work areas are well lit

While following these suggestions will reduce your risk for slips and trips, it’s impossible to completely eliminate all risk. As an employee, it is important that you recognize the risk and prepare yourself as much as possible. There are lots of easy ways to reduce your chance of falling, which include:

  • Wearing the proper footwear—Consider slip-resistant shoes with flat heels, especially when working in an oily or wet environment
  • Keep your hands to your sides, not in your pockets, for balance
  • Walk slowly on slippery surfaces—Slide your feet to avoid sharp turns
  • Always focus on where you are going, what you are doing, and what lies ahead
  • Don’t carry loads you can’t see over
  • Watch out for floors that are uneven, have holes, etc.

Preventing Falls from a Height

Just because falls from a height happen less often doesn’t mean you should be discounting them as a serious risk. These falls are the incidents that commonly lead to grave injuries or even death.

The best way to prevent falls from a height is having a fall protection plan. Fall protection plans outline policies and procedures involved in assembling, maintaining, inspecting, using and dismantling any equipment you may be using to work at a height. Fall protection plans need to be customized for each work-site, as requirements and equipment will vary based on many different factors.

A site-specific fall protection plan will incorporate many things, including:

  • Site location – address, description, work areas, tasks, etc.
  • Site-specific fall hazards (e.g. maximum working heights or proximity to power lines)
  • Type of fall protection to be used, including all anchor points and clearance requirements
  • Equipment inspections
  • Any other work requirements (e.g. presence of first aid or rescue personnel, barricades, etc.)
  • Rescue procedures
  • Worker sign off

If you’re working at a height exceeding 3 meters (10 feet) occupational health and safety laws generally require fall protection measures to be in place. You can check with your jurisdiction as requirements do vary, but in most cases fall protection measures such as fixed barriers, surface opening protections, control zones, fall or travel restraint systems, fall containment systems or fall arrest systems are required. You can learn more about some of these systems by reading our fall protection glossary.

2. Improper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal protective equipment is the last line of defense for workers against hazards. The PPE you use will depend on your work environment, work conditions and the job being performed. It’s important to remember that there are many different variations of PPE and some may be made of materials suitable for one purpose, but not another.

Personal protective equipment does not guarantee permanent or total protection for the wearer, and should be used coupled with other measures to reduce hazards in the workplace. As well, simply having access to some general PPE isn’t enough—to ensure your PPE is providing you with the highest level of protection you must:

  • Carefully select the correct type of PPE based on the type of hazard and degree of protection required
  • Train users to ensure the proper use and fit of the PPE
  • Store and maintain the PPE correctly according to manufacturer guidelines
  • Maintain high-quality PPE by performing regular inspections and discarding/replacing any defective pieces.

Industrial or Construction Workplaces 

Most industrial or construction workplaces require eye protection, head protection and specialized footwear as a minimum protection. The most commonly used PPE in these workplaces are:

  • Hard hats for protection against falling objects
  • Safety glasses for protection against intense light, UV rays, infra-red rays, and flying objects
  • Earplugs or earmuffs for noise protection
  • Safety shoes (often steel-toed) to protect from crushing toes
  • Safety Gloves for protection against contact with toxic chemical or electrical wires
  • Fall protection equipment for protection from falls from a height

Working with Chemicals 

When working with chemicals PPE is necessary to reduce or eliminate exposure. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) will list the correct PPE to wear based on the chemicals being used. It is extremely important to refer to the MSDS when choosing the type of PPE used, as not all types will protect you against certain chemicals. PPE commonly used when working with chemicals include:

  • Safety glasses to protect against chemical liquid splashes, dust, etc.
  • Gloves to protect hands from corrosive or toxic materials
  • Respirators to protect lungs from toxic gas, vapours, fumes and dust
  • Specialized clothing to protect the skin from toxic or corrosive materials
  • Safety footwear to protect the feet from corrosive or toxic materials

Personal protective equipment varies greatly between workplaces and jobs performed, so always survey your work situation to determine if further PPE is necessary. Job-specific PPE may be needed for jobs in which you work with kilns, molten metals or sharp tools.

3. Not Using a Lockout/Tagout System

As much as we’d like to wish it didn’t, equipment breaks—When it does, it’s important to know what to do, especially if that piece of equipment conducts hazardous energy. That’s where the lockout/tagout system comes into play!

What is Lockout/Tagout?

Lockout in technical terms it is defined in the Canadian standard CSA Z460-13 as “Control of Hazardous Energy – Lockout and Other Methods” as the “placement of a lockout device on an energy-isolating device in accordance with an established procedure.” In basic terms, it’s a system that allows you to fully shut down a piece of equipment that needs repair, to ensure no energy is going through the equipment. It also ensures that nobody will be able to use the damaged piece of equipment, or turn it back on prematurely. In most cases, these devices will have loops or tabs that can be locked onto an object keeping it in an “off” or safe position.

Tagout comes in as the labeling process that is always used when lockout is required. These are usually standardized labels that include:

  • Why the lockout/tagout is required (repair, maintenance, etc.)
  • Time of application of the lock/tag
  • The name of the authorized person who attached the tag and lock to the system –
    ONLY the authorized person who placed the lock and tag is permitted to remove them. This helps ensure that the system cannot be started up without the authorized person’s knowledge.

What are the Basic Steps of the Lockout/Tagout system?

This is a process that involves more than simply putting a lock and tag on a switch. Communication, coordination and proper training are key in successfully following the step-by-step process. You should always consult your organization’s lockout program document and follow the detailed instructions provided.
An abbreviated overview of the steps of a lockout/tagout program include:

  1. Prepare for shutdown – The authorized person will identify any sources of energy connected to the equipment, and choose the proper method of control.
  2. Notify all affected employees – The authorized person will notify all affected personnel of what is going to be lock/tagged out, why it will be locked/tagged out, how long they should expect the equipment to be unavailable, who is responsible for the lockout/tagout and who to contact for more information.
  3. Equipment Shutdown – Following the manufacturer’s instructions or in-house work instructions the equipment is shut down ensuring all controls are in the off position and all moving parts have come to a complete stop.
  4. Isolation of System from Hazardous Energy – In most cases, there will be exact written instructions guiding you as so how to cut off different forms of energy found within your workplace. General CCOHS procedures can be found here.
  5. Removal of residual or stored energy – Following manufacturer instructions ensure any stored energy within the system has dissipated.
  6. Lockout/Tagout – Once you’re sure all energy sources are blocked, the system is locked and tagged to ensure it stays in an off and safe position. Each lock should only have one key, and each person working on the system should have their OWN lock.
  7. Verify Isolation – Verify that the system is properly locked out before any work is completed.
  8. Perform Maintenance or Service Activity – Complete the job required while the system is locked and off.
  9. Remove Lockout/Tagout Devices – Inspect the work area to ensure all tools have been removed, confirm that all employees are safely away from the area, verify that controls are in a neutral position, remove devices, re-energize the machine and notify affected employees that servicing is completed.

Following the correct steps in locking and tagging out equipment is the best way to ensure that nobody is harmed while performing maintenance as well as no piece of equipment is used while broken-down.

4. Poor Housekeeping

When you think of housekeeping the first thing to pop to mind may be the ever-growing list of chores you struggle through when you’d rather be watching TV. However, in the workplace housekeeping isn’t just about dusting some selves, it’s an important part of your health and safety measures!

Poor housekeeping can be the cause of workplace incidents such as:

  • Trips and slips because of loose objects or wet spots on floors, stairs, and platforms
  • Being hit by falling objects
  • Hitting against projecting, poorly stacked items
  • Cutting or puncturing of the skin on projecting nails, wire or steel strapping

How do I Plan a Good Housekeeping Program?

Effective housekeeping programs require ongoing management and attention. It focuses on more than just keeping the workplace neat and tidy, but also deals with the layout of the workplace, aisle marking, storage facilities, and maintenance. A big part of proper workplace housekeeping is ensuring that everything that comes into the workplace has a plan as to where it will be, how it will be handled, and how it will leave the space – including disposal procedures. Often times, injuries result from materials being stored improperly, but that can easily be avoided by having a storage plan and procedure in place.

You also want to make sure you are keeping the space clean. Each work environment will require different services, but it all boils down to having a plan and staying on top of it. Making sure you have a plan for dirt and dust removal, washroom facilities, surfaces (floors and walls), light fixtures, aisles and stairways, spill control and waste disposal—These are all good jumping-off points, but you should stay aware of any reoccurring problem areas in your work-space and be on-top of addressing them in a timely manner.

What are the Benefits of Good Housekeeping Practices?

It’s important to remember that many other health and safety measures can be made useless without proper housekeeping. For example, offering a forklift operations safety course to your workers won’t result in less forklift accidents if your work areas aren’t cleared enough to navigate without hitting obstacles.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to take the time to maintain your work-space—It can also result in:

  • Reduced handling  of materials
  • Fewer tripping and slipping incidents
  • Decreased fire hazards
  • Lower exposure to hazardous products
  • Better control of tools and materials, including inventory and supplies
  • More efficient equipment cleanup and maintenance
  • Better hygienic conditions leading to improved health
  • More effective use of space
  • Improved morale and productivity

5. Incorrect use of Ladders

Ladders are a tool very commonly used both in out of the workplace, that can easily be used incorrectly. That being said, with the correct knowledge, it’s also very easy to use them correctly!

Before using a ladder you should always take a moment to inspect both the ladder and the area in which you are using it. Before each use, make sure your ladder is in good working condition and doesn’t need any repairs. Good things to look out for are:

  • Missing, loose or damaged steps or rungs (you should not be able to move or shift these by hand)
  • Loose nails, screw, bolts or nuts
  • Rot, decay or warped rails in wooden ladders
  • Cracks and exposed material in fiberglass ladders
  • Rough or splintered surfaces
  • Corrosion, rust, oxidization or excessive wear
  • Twisted or distorted rails
  • Loose or bent hinges or pail shelf
  • Wobble of any kind

If any of these things are present in your ladder, it should not be used and should only be repaired by a trained professional—Don’t try to make temporary makeshift repairs or attempt to straighten bent or bowed ladders on your own.

What SHOULD you do When Climbing Up or Down a Ladder?

Before using a ladder you should always ensure that it is secured correctly—A second person should hold the bottom of long ladders to keep them steady. And don’t forget about your footwear! Make sure your footwear is in good condition and is cleared of mud, water, snow, ice or grease. Footwear with a heel is recommended, as it can help stop the foot from slipping forward on the rugs.

Other things to remember are:

  • Face the stepladder
  • Keep your body centered between side rails
  • Maintain three-point contact by keeping two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand on a ladder always
  • Keep a firm grip
  • Place feet firmly on each rung
  • Rise or lower tools and materials using a hoist, hand-line, bucket or other device.
  • If using an extension ladder, be careful when stepping or gripping near the locks as the locks could obscure part of the rung
  • Use the appropriate safety devices when needed (e.g., safety belt, fall restraint, etc.).
  • Check with your jurisdiction for requirements when working at heights near or above 3 metres (10 feet).
  • Only allow one person on a ladder at a time (except when using a specially engineered two-person ladder).

What SHOULDN’T you do When Climbing Up or Down a Ladder?

  • Hurry when moving up or down the ladder
  • Slide down the ladder
  • Jump from a ladder
  • Carry tools or materials in your hand while climbing the ladder
  • Use an aluminum ladder when working near electricity
  • Reach from the centre of a ladder (always climb down and move the ladder if you cannot reach)
  • “Shift” or “walk” a stepladder when standing on it
  • Use tools that require a lot of leverage (e.g. pry bars) as this motion could knock you off balance
  • Stand, climb, or sit on the ladder or pail shelf
  • Stand on or above the top two rungs or steps of a ladder
  • Allow another person to work below your ladder

LOOKING TO BRING YOUR WORKPLACE SAFETY TO THE NEXT LEVEL? CALL US—HERCULES SLR OFFERS AN EXTENSIVE SUITE OF HIGH-QUALITY SAFETY TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION COURSES.

Your Hard Hat has an Expiration Date

Yes, Your Hard Hat has an Expiration Date

What do a carton of milk, bread, paint, and your hardhat all have in common? Expiration dates.

Your hard hat is a very important part of your personal protective equipment. They’re the only piece of equipment made to protect you from blows to the head, and shouldn’t just be used in hazardous workplaces with lots of imminent danger—But any job that presents a risk for head injury.

Which injuries are you at risk for when you don’t wear your helmet? Some of the possible injuries that might not cross your mind right away include:

  • Bruises, bumps & cuts that cause physical impact
  • Heatstroke, caused by overexposure UV rays
  • Burns: Nobody wants their hair to catch fire. Your head can get burnt when in contact with molten metal, cutting oxyacetylene, manufacturing metal, machining, welding, or any type of work involving fire or high-heat.
  • Burns, electric shock and electrocution caused by active conductors or electrical loads.

 

HARD HATS: DO’S AND DON’TS 

What are the do’s and don’ts of hard hats?

DO   

  • Wear the right type of hard hat for the type of work being done.
  • Be mindful of potential electrical issues onsite, and choose your headwear accordingly.
  • If possible, choose a hard hat with a smooth shell as objects will deflect, or slide off them easily—Hard hats with ridges can actually cause your headwear to be knocked over more easily.
  • Select a thick shell (at least 2mm), especially if performing heavy work.
  • Use an adjustable chinstrap, especially if there is a risk of your hard hat falling.
  • Replace your hard hat when signs of scratches, gouges or wear emerge, and if the hard hat has been struck—Even if no signs of wear appear.

DON’T

  • Wear just any hardhat—They are not created equal.
  • Modify your hard hat (ex. drilling holes). Try to purchase hard hats that have available attachments or accessories for the type of work to be done.
  • Paint the hard hat shell—Paint solvents can make plastic headwear brittle & more likely to crack, and it can even hide cracks that might have developed. Check manufacturer recommendations, which will tell you if and which parts of the helmet you may be able to paint.
  • Use metal labels on G or E class headwear – Metal labels can negatively impact the voltage protection these hard hats provide (learn more about hard hat classes below).

ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HARD HATS? 

The short answer? Yes. The long answer? Read on…

In Canada, most personal protective equipment (PPE) follows the standards (standard Z94.1, to be exact) set by the CSA (The Canadian Standards Association)—This includes hard hats. There are two types, and three classes for hard hats.

Two hard hat types are:

  • Type 1: Reduces the impact of dropped objects & piercing to head.
  • Type 2: Protects from impact, penetration at the crown (top) and laterally (sides and back).

The CSA identifies three different types of hard hats, which are based on their level of protection and the type of work each is best suited for. These three categories are:

  1. G—General usage: Recommended for nearly every workplace. G-class hard hats protect against impacts and blows, resist voltages up to 2,200 volts.
  2. E—Electrical trades: Designed to resist impact, penetration, and protection against electric shock from high-voltage electrical conductors. In experiments, E-class hard hats resisted up to 20,000 volts from a ground connection. E-class helmets contain no metal and are typically made of high-density polyethylene and polycarbonate, with no holes, fasteners or metal. The E-class helmets’ suspension is made of vinyl, leather and/or nylon and resists electrical shocks. These are suitable for people who work in: transportation (railways, specifically), mining, forestry, manufacturing, construction & industrial trades. An E-class hard hat should be worn anytime work is done near an area that could expose you to active conductors or high-voltage electrical loads.
  3. C—Conducting headwear: Only C-class hard hats are ever made with aluminum, and they have no electrical rating. C-class hard hats aren’t meant to protect from electrical conductors, and may even have ventilation to provide extra comfort and breath-ability.

WHY DO HARD HATS EXPIRE?

The reason hard hats expire is pretty simple—They become less effective over time.

Since hard hat manufactures must meet safety standards, they are created to be extremely durable—However, they do not last forever. Depending on your work environment, your hard hat might need to be replaced at different rates.

Things that can affect how long your hard hat will last include:

  •  Sunlight exposure
  •  Temperature extremes
  •  Chemical exposure
  •  Sweat, liquids, and other substances coming in contact with your hard hat
  •  Daily vs. occasional use

The best way to determine if your hard had requires replacement is through daily inspections. These should be performed before each use.

Things to look for in daily inspections:

  •  Cracks, dents or cuts in the hat’s shell
  •  Cracks or tears in the hat’s suspension
  •  Cut or frayed suspension straps
  •  Chalky, dull or crazing pattern on the outer shell – This can be a sign of damage sustained by heat, sunlight or chemical exposer.

Remember, the suspension of your hard hat is actually just as important as the outside (known as the shell). Hard hats have an inner layer that provides shock absorption—Without this, your hard hat can actually do more to damage your head than save it.

If your hard hat is showing signs of any of these things, it should be replaced and disposed of, to avoid further use.

WHEN DO HARD HATS EXPIRE? 

Most hard hats will include manufacturer’s replacement recommendations. For example, 3M hard hats come with a suggestion to replace the hat’s suspension after 12 months of use and the shell every two to five years of use.

Be sure to take note of your hard hat’s replacement recommendations and ensure you are keeping on top of replacing the necessary parts in a timely manner. However, no matter how long in the future the replacement recommendation date is, you must continue to perform inspections before each use, as these recommendations should ONLY be followed if your hard hat shows no sign of expiry before then.

It is very important to remember that if your hard hat sustains an impact of any kind, dispose of it immediately, even if there is no visible damage. Impacts can cause the materials to become weakened, and even if there’s no visible damage, it may no longer be able to provide the same level of protection.


hard hat and safety gloves in toolbox


NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.   

Employee Spotlight: Isabelle Bulmer, Territory Sales Manager

hercules slr territory sales manager blog header

Get to Know your Territory Sales Manager, Isabelle Bulmer

What’s it like to work at Herc? Meet Isabelle Bulmer, our Territory Sales Manager (an avid gym-goer!) based at Hercules SLR in Moncton, New Brunswick.

When Isabelle’s not at Hercules SLR, she love to be at the gym and has a huge passion for health, fitness, self-improvement and spending time with her family.

Read on to learn more about what Isabelle’s role at Hercules SLR and what she loves about the rigging industry.

Tell us about your educational/professional background:

For the past 17 years I’ve worked in managerial roles, with 14 years spent in the contact center industry.

Can you tell us about your work experience before joining Hercules SLR?

Before I joined Hercules SLR, I worked as an Operations Manager for United Rentals, and before that I spent 10 years at VitalAire.

Why did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?

I decided to work for Hercules SLR because it was still a job that served the construction industry, which I find very interesting and challenging. And, the learning opportunities with Hercules SLR are endless!

Isabelle Bulmer, Territory Sales Manager in New Brunswick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where have you traveled during your time at Hercules SLR, and where did you enjoy traveling to most? Anywhere you’d like to travel in the future with Hercules SLR?

I’ve been to Dartmouth a few times for training, but I’ve since taken on the new Territory Sales Manager role at Hercules SLR where I’ll see clients outside the branch—I look forward to hitting the road. meeting new clients and travelling to different cities in my territory.

What’s something you’re most proud to have accomplished in your career at Hercules SLR?

Within a few months, I was able to move into the Territory Sales position—I can’t wait to begin my journey, since sales have been a passion for me and I’ve been wanting to move into this type of role for awhile. I’m so thankful Hercules SLR could give me this opportunity!

What do you enjoy most about working in the rigging industry?

I enjoy the unlimited amount of product and knowledge there is to learn in the rigging industry, and the never-ending learning opportunities.

Why do you work safe?

I work safe because I have 2 children at home who require more than your average care, so it’s important for them to have the support & love they need and deserve. Coming home to them each day keeps me motivated.

I’m passionate about my health & always working to become a healthier, stronger & better me, so I can be there for my kids and have the energy to keep going, and feel GREAT while doing it!


NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US IN NEW BRUNSWICK—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.   

Employee Spotlight: Olivia Whidden, CSR

hercules slr customer service representative in new brunswick

Get to Know Olivia Whidden, CSR in Moncton, NB

Get to know the team at Hercules SLR in Moncton, New Brunswick! Meet Olivia Whidden, a Customer Service Representative (and newlywed!) who’s recently joined the team at our Moncton branch.

When Olivia’s not at Hercules, she enjoys spending time with her husband and family—The most important thing about her? She’s a champ at using chopsticks.

Read on to learn more about Olivia’s role at Hercules SLR and what she loves about the rigging industry in New Brunswick.

Tell us about your educational/professional background:

I recently graduated from Riverview High School in New Brunswick! I’m getting my feet wet at Hercules SLR

An interesting fact about Olivia is…

I’m a newlywed, so I love spending time with my family (old and new!) But the most important thing about me is that I use chopsticks really well!

Can you tell us about your work experience before joining Hercules SLR?

Before I starting at Hercules SLR, I did a lot of customer service work—This led to a role as the Maintenance and Technology Manager for McDonalds.

Olivia Whidden, CSR at Hercules SLR in Moncton, NB.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?

I decided to work for Hercules SLR because I wanted to work for a company that provides a challenge for me and is people-centered.

What’s something you’re most proud to have accomplished in your career at Hercules SLR?

Even though I’m newer to the team, I’m really proud of how much I’ve picked up in such a short amount of time—I caught on how-to navigate Streamline, our CRM & Logistics software quickly, which I’m happy about.

What do you enjoy most about working in the rigging industry?

I love to discover new things, so I love that there’s always something new to learn each day.

Why do you work safe? 

I work safe so I can go home to my husband….Instead of asking him to pick me up at the hospital!


NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US IN NEW BRUNSWICK—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.