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.

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.   

Product Spotlight: YOKE Swivel Self-Locking Hooks

yoke swivel self-locking hooks blog header

Product Spotlight: YOKE Rigging Hardware 

Concerned about price, quality & reliability? Choose YOKE, and get all three without making a sacrifice. YOKE swivels are manufactured with the highest grade materials, and are zinc-plated for corrosion resistance and a long life.

WHY USE SWIVEL HOOKS?

Swivel hooks come in two varieties. These are:

  • Positioning Hooks allow the rigger to align the hook while connecting to the load. These hooks aren’t meant to rotate while under load, only to position the hook to the pick point.
  • True Swivel Hooks with Bushings allow the hook to rotate freely under the load, while the top coupling/fitting pivots to let the load rotate. This helps prevents your line twisting.

Swivels should be used when the lift deals with these issues:

  • Swivels reduce bending loads on rigging attachments to allow the load to position itself freely.
  • Swivels should be used in place of shackles during applications where the shackle might twist and might be haphazardly loaded.

FYI: Before you lift a load, make sure there are not cracks or defects in the hook or latch, and that the chain or wire rope is not worn, and in good working order. Not all hooks are meant to overhead lift and not all swivels are meant to swivel under-load—It’s important to know which application the one you use is meant for.

YOKE SWIVEL SELF-LOCKING HOOKS yoke sorting hooks

Today, the Hercules SLR product spotlight is on YOKE Swivel Self-Locking Hooks and some of the lifting products from them we like the best. Read on to learn more about YOKE Swivel Self-Locking Hook specifications, tips for use and which applications to use swivel self-locking hooks for.

YOKE SWIVEL SELF-LOCKING HOOK WITH BUSHING

YOKE Swivel Self-Locking Hooks with Bronze Bushing(s) perform a full-swivel under-load. YOKE’s bronze bushings are a bearing consisting of a thin sleeve, used to help the hook rotate or swivel before you lift—Not while it supports a load.

Design factor of 4:1, proof-tested and certified. These hooks are meant for positioning devices, and are not meant to rotate while suspending a load.

Available for Grade 80 Lifting Chain in sizes: 7/32″, 1/4—5/16″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 5/8″, 3/4″, 7/8,” 1″ and Working Load Limits: 2,500lbs, 4,500lbs, 7,100lbs, 12,000lbs, 18,100lbs, 28,300lbs, 34,200lbs and 47,700lbs.

YOKE G-80 & G-100 SWIVEL SELF-LOCKING HOOKS WITH BEARING 

YOKE Swivel Self-Locking Hook with Bearing(s) are an excellent choice for lifting and perform a full swivel under-load. Designed with a 4:1 safety factor, and Working Load Limits: 7/32″, 1/4—5/16″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 5/8″, 3/4″, 7/8″ and 1″.

Available for Grade 80 Lifting Chain in sizes: 2,500lbs, 4,500lbs, 7,100lbs, 12,000lbs, 18,100lbs, 28,300lbs, 34,200lbs, 47,700lbs. Available for Grade 100 chain in sizes: 6, 7.8, 10, 13, 16, 20, 22, 26mm. Designed with a 4:1 safety factor, and for Working Load Limits: 1.4, 2.5, 4.0, 6.7, 10.0, 16.0, 19.0 and 26.5 tonnes.

YOKE G-80 SWIVEL EYE SELF-LOCKING HOOKS WITH BEARING 

YOKE Swivel Hooks are also available with an eye attachment. Available for Grade 80 Chain in sizes 7/32″, 1/4-5/16″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 5/8″, 3/4″, 7/8″, 1″ and 1-1/8″. Designed with a 4:1 safety factor, and for Working Load Limits: 2,500lbs, 4,500lbs, 7,100lbs, 12,000lbs, 18,100lbs, 28,300lbs, 34,200lbs, 47,700lbs.

WHICH INDUSTRIES USE YOKE SWIVEL SELF-LOCKING HOOKS?

Swivel self-locking hooks should only be used to swivel under-load if they’re fit with a bearing and are approved by the manufacturer overhead lifting. Swivel self-locking hooks are generally known as positioning hooks, since they rotate which makes connecting the rigging to the load much easier.

Industries that use YOKE Swivel Self-Locking Hooks, include:

  • Automotive
  • Construction
  • Mining
  • Manufacturing
  • Machining
  • Transportation

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

All About Crane Service at Hercules SLR in New Brunswick

crane service in new brunswick

CRANE SERVICE IN NEW BRUNSWICK

WHY HERCULES SLR? 

 

We’re your one-stop shop. Would you make three different stops in the morning to get your sugar, milk and grounds for your morning coffee? Of course not—Why should your crane service be any different?

Hercules SLR offers crane certifications & LEEA-certified inspections, repairs, predictive & preventive maintenance (so you can pass those inspections!) and crane parts & accessories like wire rope slings, hoists & whatever else you need to lift.

If you work in construction, industrial project management or even a warehouse facility, you probably face your fair share of challenges—And cranes. And, probably your fair share of crane problems, too. Your overhead lifting device should not be one of these challenges.

Did you know Hercules SLR in New Brunswick offers crane rentals, equipment & accessories and services? We do!

When you spend a long day lifting, hoisting and pulling, your body probably has some aches & pains. Did you know your crane is no different? Just like a weightlifter must take care of their body, watch what they eat and even ensure the palms of their hands are prepared to lift, your crane needs a similar level of care.

Read on to discover what type of cranes Hercules SLR services, the equipment & product we service, sell & inspect and why looking after your crane benefits you in the long-run.

hercules slr crane service hercules slr new brunswick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


WHAT TYPES OF CRANES DOES HERCULES SLR SERVICE?
If you need overhead lifting device service or rentals, you’re in the right place. What kinds of cranes do we service? We service all crane classes, specifically: 

  • Overhead/Bridge Cranes
    • Top Running Overhead Crane
    • Under Running Overhead Crane
    • Modular Crane
  • Gantry Cranes
  • Tower Cranes
  • Rail Road Cranes
  • Floating Cranes
  • Aerial Cranes
  • Jib Crane

Have a type of crane you need serviced, but we didn’t cover it here? Give us a call—We service anything. 

HOW MUCH DOES CRANE INSPECTION COST?

We know, your top concern is probably price. “How much will this inspection, repair, preventive maintenance, etc. cost?” Unfortunately, this cost will likely vary depending on factors like what kind of service or part you need.

Specific costs will vary—Like we’ve covered in previous blogs, there are many different parts of a crane or types of service you might need, ranging from below-the-hook, repairs to the structural steel or inspections to the jib or other crane component.

  • Downtime: It can put a damper on productivity when a crane’s out of service, and the downtime associated an out-of-service crane with halting or pausing a project can be costly—Quickly, too.
  • Productivity: When inspections or tests are conducted by a competent/qualified person, they can identify issues and repairs can be scheduled during slower periods, so you don’t disrupt work and you know your crane is running reliably & smoothly during your business’ busy periods.
  • Peace-of-Mind: Know your equipment is running smoothly & ready-to-go, know if a repair or equipment replacement is cheaper and that your team is safe.

WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?

We know, ‘preventive maintenance‘ might seem like a big waste of money for your organization. However, like mentioned above, preventive maintenance can actually reduce costs that eventually, can become even bigger repair costs.

  1. Reduce physical labour for employees.
  2. Meet project deadlines & stay on schedule.
  3. Cut-down on repair costs, prevent future damage and eliminate unforeseen equipment failure.
  4. Protect your investment.
  5. And finally, (the one you probably know), because you have to—It’s the law.

CRANE INSPECTION: WHERE, WHEN & HOW OFTEN?

CRANE INSPECTION: WHERE, WHEN & HOW OFTEN?

There are many different types of cranes, and your workplace will (should) have a robust inspection program plan in place for each type. Inspection frequency depends on a number of things, like:

  • How often the crane is used & when it’s being used,
  • Which Service Class the crane belongs to,
  • What it’s used for and what type of inspection is being done.

According to the Canadian Standards Association, crane inspections should follow standards outlined by ISO (the International Organization for Standardization)—Specifically ISO 4309 and ISO 9927-1.

Find it difficult to track this for your business? We know, and we listened. Receive crane service from Hercules SLR and gain access to our free asset management service, CertTracker.

What’s so good about CertTracker? 

  • Secure online database: Keep your entire operational asset history in one, secure place.
  • Alerts: CertTracker will notify management of failed inspections, repairs and work order details—It also tells you when you’re overdue for inspections and repairs.
  • Easy access: CertTracker uses RFID chips while handheld computers capture inspections & maintenance operations, which eliminates the need to manually enter data. It captures equipment when in & out of service, location transfers and all data is sent to the online database so you know exactly where it is, whenever you input it. If that’s not enough, it also converts units of measure instantly for easy use onsite.
  • Customization: Track what you need to track. Have your team or service provider record daily inspections, scheduled maintenance, annual inspections or other important dates. Each inspection is time-stamped by the user so your audit record is always accurate & reliable. Find specific assets by I.D. number, location, owner, etc.—Whatever you prefer.
  • Available 24/7: CertTracker is online and always open.
WHAT COULD GO WRONG? 

Inspections check for a number of issues. It’s important to have your crane serviced regularly—It becomes time-consuming, costly & ineffective to both operate and service the crane the longer you avoid proper inspections.

IN NEW BRUNSWICK, WE ALSO OFFER:

Hercules SLR in New Brunswick also manufactures gin wheels, or pulleys wheels. Gin wheels are a convenient, low-cost & economical way to raise and lower a load.

Hercules SLR in Moncton & Saint John, New Brunswick fabricates custom gin wheels, load-rated for use in refineries.

red gin wheel pulley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHY HERCULES SLR? WATCH. 


NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES.  

Herc How-To: Stay Cool While Working in Extreme Heat

how do i treat heat stroke

Be Cool: How to Beat Extreme Heat at Work

Hot weather isn’t the norm in Canada—But for a couple beautiful months a year, it actually gets hot outside. Even though we’re excited, this can be a safety issue sometimes.

Here are some tips that both employers and employees can use to keep cool, comfortable, and therefore safe when the weather rises.

When working in extreme heat, you’re at risk of nausea, sunburn (which can be nastier than you think), heat stroke, heat rash & more.

Read on to learn more about what heat stroke does to your body, what employers & employees can do to prevent it, symptoms of heat-related issues to look for and how to treat your body when you do overheat.

WHAT HEAT DOES TO YOUR BODY

Heat does more than give you a burn (that’s bad, too—we’ll get into that later) and can result in vomiting. fainting, and even death.

A healthy, normal human body maintains an internal temperature of 37°C, and generally feels most comfortable with an air temperature between 20°C-27°C, and humidity ranges from 35 to 60%.

The body’s temperature doesn’t normally drop or rise 1° throughout the day, and usually only happens when the body experiences illness or unusual environmental conditions, but heat still has negative effects on the body. Differences less than 1°C in a human’s internal body temperature are normal and can fluctuate depending on the time of day, amount of physical activity and even your mood.

As the external environment warms, the body warms, too. Your ‘internal thermostat’ will introduce more blood to your skin and produce more sweat. This means the body increases the amount of heat it loses to make sense of the heat burden.

When environments are hot, the rate of ‘heat gain’ is more than the rate of ‘heat loss’ and the body temperature begins to rise. This rise results in heat illnesses.

When your body begins to heat up too much, you may become:

  • Irritable
  • Unable to focus or concentrate on mental tasks
  • Loss of ability to do skilled tasks or heavy work

Over-exposure to heat can lead to:

  • Heat Edema: Swelling (typically in the ankles) caused by work in hot environments.
  • Heat Rashes: Inflammation, which causes tiny red spots that prickle during heat exposure due to clogged sweat glands.
  • Heat Cramps: You might feel sharp pains in muscles in addition to the other symptoms of heat stress we list above. Cramps from heat are caused when your body fails to replace lost sweat with salt, and often happen when you drink too much water and don’t replace it with enough salt (electrolytes).
  • Heat Exhaustion: Caused when you lose body water and salt from excessive sweating. Symptoms involve heavy sweat, weakness, dizziness, visual disturbances, intense thirst, nausea, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, breathlessness, palpitations, tingling and numb hands & feet.
  • Heat Syncope: Heat-induced dizziness and fainting caused by insufficient blood flow to the brain while someone is standing. This usually happens when people aren’t used to an environment (are unacclimatized) and your body loses body fluids through sweat, blood pressure lowers & blood pools in the legs. Luckily, recovery is very quick when you simply rest in a cool area.
  • Heat Stroke: This is the most serious type of heat illness. Signs of heat stroke include a body temperature over 41°C and complete/partial loss of consciousness. There are two types of heat stress, one where the victim does not sweat and the other, where they do sweat.

HEAT STROKE: WHAT EMPLOYERS CAN DO

As an employer, you have a responsibility to create the most safe environment for workers as possible.

Employers of workplaces under federal jurisdiction have responsibility under clause 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker. This includes precautions to protect workers while working in heat, or with processes that use heat.

It’s important to note that work in heat can impact all sorts of workplaces, not just those outside. Workplaces like industrial kitchens or any other place that burns fuel, particularly in an area that could become enclosed—Warehouse shipping & receiving areas are a good example of this.

As an employer, you should provide:

  • Training, instruction & supervision to perform their jobs safely: This includes providing employees an understanding of overall work procedures, how to use workplace tools & equipment, knowledge about foreseeable workplace hazards and giving them documentation when training is delivered.
  • Health & Safety Committees: Employers under federal jurisdiction with a certain amount of employees (the number varies province-to-province) and have a responsibility to establish a workplace health & safety committee, which is considered an important part of the internal responsibility system. In organizations with 300 employees or more, a Policy Health & Safety Committee must be established. Policy Health & Safety committees serve to change issues that can’t be dealt with by individual health & safety committees. In workplaces with 20 or fewer employers, a health & safety representative should be established.
  • Investigation: Employers must investigate employee complaints and accident/injury incidents. They must report serious incidents to the Labour Program within 24 hours, and must report temporary or permanent disabling industries within 14 days of it happening.
  • Inspection: Inspections must be conducted to ensure health & safety issues are taken care of before they can cause injuries.

Here are some things employers & employees can do to make work in heat more comfortable:

  • Use fans or other mechanical cooling measures
  • Wear light, loose fitting clothing
  • Increase break frequency and reduce laborious physical activity when peak temperatures emerge
  • Drink cold beverages without salt, caffeine or alcohol, which can dehydrate you
  • Implement measures to create shade—For example, umbrellas, screens or tents

worker sweating in extreme heat

HEAT STROKE: WHAT EMPLOYEES CAN DO

Employees have responsibility and say when it comes to protecting themselves from the heat.

For employees, Part 2 of the Canada Labour Code details some duties employees must take to protect themselves at work.

These are duties Canadian employees must take (for all types of work) to stay safe:

USE IT OR LOSE IT
  • Use all safety materials, equipment, devices, and clothing that are provided by the employer and are intended to protect employees.
LISTEN UP
  • Follow procedures & instructions relating to the health and safety of employees.
DON’T BE A NEGATIVE NELLY
  • Co-operate with any person carrying out a duty or function required by the Code.
IT’S NOT TATTLING IF YOU SAVE A LIFE
  • Report to the employer any thing or circumstance that is likely to be hazardous to employees or any other person in the workplace, report to the employer all work-related accidents, occupational diseases, or other hazardous occurrences that have caused injury to you or any other person, and report to the employer any situation you believe to be a contravention of Part II of the Code by the employer, another employee, or any other person.
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
  • Comply with every oral or written direction given by a health and safety officer or an appeals officer.
WRITE BACK
  • Respond in writing to a health and safety officer’s direction or report when requested to do so by the health and safety officer.

Here are some tips & steps employees should take to protect themselves from heat at work:

KNOW THE SIGNS 

  • Recognize the signs of heat stroke, not just for yourself, but your coworkers, too. People suffering from heat stroke often don’t see their own signs, so being able to notice symptoms in others will help keep everyone onsite safe.
  • Symptoms of heat stroke include:
    • Headache
    • Nausea
    • Dry, hot skin
    • Confusion/Hallucinations
    • Seizures
    • Partial to complete loss of consciousness

WORK IN EXTREME TEMPERATURES: LEGISLATION 

Like we mention above, legislation can be a bit vague surrounding the rules and regulations on what employers specifically must do to keep employees safe with regards to heat stroke, and often these standards & regulations will differ provincially.

Generally, there is no specific temperature federally in Canada where work can’t be performed, however, the temperature might be a risk factor for potential hazards that make work unsafe to perform. In these cases employers and employees have a responsibility to adjust conditions, or the right to refuse work if the temperature creates hazards.

The reason for this? There are factors that contribute to exposure limit (the time a worker can safely be exposed to a condition like heat) beyond just the temperature. Some of these are:

  • Relative humidity
  • Exposure to other heat sources
  • Air circulation & flow
  • Demands of work
  • If workers are acclimatized to the workload under the conditions
  • If workers have proper clothing & PPE
  • Amount of work compared to the amount of breaks

Like we mention above, there isn’t one magic temperature where work is cancelled, but each province does have some legislation that describes temperatures suggested for different workplaces & conditions, particularly those in industrial jobs.

Another way employers, managers or supervisors might determine if the heat can be dangerous is to use TLV® Values. Sometimes these are used as legislation, and sometimes as guidelines provincially.

This table represents the criteria for workers’ exposure to heat stress, and are used as a guideline (and sometimes legislation) for employers to determine when work can be unsafe.

TLV® value chart

 

 

It’s also worth noting that TLV® Values are subject to change annually. Work levels are defined as:

REST: Sitting

LIGHT WORK: Sitting, standing to control machines, light hand or arm work

MODERATE WORK: Moderate hand & arm work, light pushing or pulling,

HEAVY WORK: Intense arm & trunk work, pick & shovel work, digging, carrying, pushing/pulling heavy loads and walking at a fast pace

VERY HEAVY: Intense activity at fast to maximum pace.

YOU NOTICE THAT SOMEONE HAS THE SIGNS OF HEAT STROKE—WHAT SHOULD I DO? 

These are some first aid measures you should use when you see someone suffering from heat-related symptoms.

  • Call 911
  • Move them to a cooler location with shade
  • Stay with the person until help arrives
  • Remove shoes, socks & as many clothes as possible
  • Apply cool water/cloths to their head, face, neck, armpits & groin
  • Do not force the person to drink liquid

FOR RELATED READING, CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

WHY CONFINED SPACE TRAINING? 

TRAINING TUESDAY: TOP 4 CONFINED SPACE HAZARDS 

CANNABIS: BEYOND THE CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING


NEED A LIFT? WE LIFT ANYTHING—AND FIX IT, TOO. 

INFO@HERCULESSLR.COM1 (877) 461-4876


Hercules SLR is part of Hercules Group of Companies, with locations and unique businesses coast-to-coast. We provide securing, lifting and rigging services for sectors in Canada and Internationally. Hercules SLR serves the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any hoisting solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876 or email info@herculesslr.com


SOURCES:

  • https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/phys_agents/max_temp.html
  • https://www.cos-mag.com/occupational-hygiene/30594-7-ways-to-beat-the-heat-when-working-outdoors/
  • https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/health-safety/workplace-safety.html

The Silent Killer: How Carbon Monoxide is Formed

working welding with welders mask

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: The Silent Killer

What’s odourless, colourless, tasteless and can kill you almost instantly? Carbon monoxide (CO).

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a reality for everyone, not just those who work in industrial trades.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen over time or in an instant, depending on the level of Carbon Monoxide in the air. Certain spaces are more prone to carbon monoxide poisoning than others, for example, confined spaces are more likely to pose a risk for CO poisoning. 

Carbon monoxide is made when you burn: 

  • Oil
  • Coal
  • Gas
  • Wood
  • Propane
  • Natural gas 

Like we touch on above, it’s particularly deadly when burnt in an enclosed space with little air-circulation or flow.   

In this blog, we’ll cover what exactly is carbon monoxide, how & if it can be treated, how you can prevent CO poisoning, what the symptoms are and steps employers & employees should take to minimize the risk of dangerous exposure.  

WHAT IS CARBON MONOXIDE?

Like we mention above, carbon monoxide is an odourless, tasteless & colourless flammable gas. Carbon monoxide is in many other substances, like the air we breathe—The amount of CO in the air is approximately 0.2 parts per million (ppm) which isn’t harmful to humans.

In increased levels (usually around 150ppm or higher), carbon monoxide becomes deadly.   

OK, SO WHAT IS CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING?

Carbon monoxide poisoning happens when CO is inhaled and builds up in the bloodstream.  

The body displaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. Your bloodstream can’t send  oxygen to vital organs like your brain, heart & nervous tissue so they can work. This leads to unconsciousness, and if it worsens, death. 

It’s important to note that carbon monoxide is poisonous to animals, too. 

CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING: WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Symptoms of CO poisoning can appear quickly, or slowly over time depending on the amount in the air, the size of the individual & their muscular activity and the amount of time they’re exposed to the CO.

Many signs of CO poisoning resemble the flu. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea/Vomiting 
  • Trouble breathing 
  • Dizziness 
  • Confusion 
  • Chest pain 
  • Stomach pain 

If someone is sleeping or intoxicated, they likely won’t display symptoms, but will still succumb to CO poisoning. Everyone exposed to CO poisoning will be effected, no matter individual health, size or gender—Although the time that symptoms and sickness appear may differ. 

Even cases of carbon dioxide poisoning that aren’t considered that serious can lead to long-lasting health effects. Some of these include:

  • Brain damage
  • Heart damage
  • Organ damage
CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING: WHAT SORT OF WORK PRODUCES CARBON MONOXIDE? 

You probably know now that carbon monoxide poisoning can impact anyone—Whether you’re at work, home or school, all sorts of environments can produce CO.

One of the largest producers of carbon monoxide in the world are natural disasters/sources, like forest fires, but workers still need to be prepared for work that produces carbon monoxide, especially when it takes place in areas where air flow is restricted. Carbon monoxide burns well when it’s mixed with air, and this can be explosive in high-enough amounts. 

When it comes to carbon monoxide at work, there are a few different types of work that have the potential to produce harmful levels of carbon monoxide if not managed properly. 

Some jobs, or factors around jobs that can produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide include: 

  • Welding 
  • Work vehicles 
  • Portable generators 
  • Engines, (ex. Internal Combustion Engines) 
  • Gasoline-powered tools 
  • Fire/Explosions
  • Natural gas heaters 
  • Kilns, furnaces or boilers 
  • Cigarette smoke 
CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING: PREVENTION

There are many steps you can take to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning at work. 

What does carbon monoxide do to the body over time? Take a look at the chart below: 

 
Employers can:
  • Install a ventilation system that removes carbon monoxide from work areas. 
  • Maintain water & space heaters, cooking ranges/gas stoves 
  • Use alternatives to gas-powered equipment 
  • Install and use a carbon monoxide detector—Choose a detector that will sound the alarm before carbon monoxide reaches dangerous levels. 
  • Don’t use gas-powered tools in areas with poor ventilation 
  • Regularly test the quality of air where carbon monoxide-producing work is performed 
  • Ensure employees are trained and are wearing appropriate PPE for the work and conditions 
CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING: TREATMENT

If you suspect someone of experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911 immediately. Remove them from the carbon monoxide-affected area only if you’re wearing the appropriate PPE to protect yourself—Remember, nearly 60% of confined space deaths happen to worker’s trying to rescue others. 

First, a blood sample is taken to determine if you have carbon monoxide poisoning. 

In terms of treatment, there are different courses of action to take. DO NOT consider this a guide of what to do, but rather some potential things to expect from treatment from the hospital depending on your carbon monoxide levels. 

For treatment, they might: 

  • Have the poisoned person breath fresh air or pure oxygen 
  • Place the person in a high-pressure chamber that forces oxygen into the body  
KNOW YOUR PPE: RESPIRATORS 

Working in areas where you’ll be exposed to harmful gases, chemicals or air? A respirator might be just the PPE you need. 

Get to know the respirator, here: 

cartoon ppe respirator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want more tips to deal with Carbon Monoxide? Open the Hercules SLR Toolbox and find quizzes, infographics & video to make your next safety meeting one they’ll actually care about. 


FOR RELATED READING, CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

WHY CONFINED SPACE TRAINING?

TRAINING TUESDAY | TOP 4 CONFINED SPACE HAZARDS

CANNABIS: BEYOND THE CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING


HERCULES SLR PROVIDES MAINTENANCE, INSPECTIONS & REPAIRS FOR RIGGING EQUIPMENT

NEED A LIFT? DROP US A LINE, OR GIVE US A CALL!

INFO@HERCULESSLR.COM  1 (877) 461-4876

 


Hercules SLR is part of Hercules Group of Companies, with locations and unique businesses coast-to-coast. We provide securing, lifting and rigging services for sectors in Canada and Internationally. Hercules SLR serves the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any hoisting solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876 or email info@herculesslr.com

Get to Know your Regional Sales Manager, Steve Hanes

rigger next to giant wire rope spool

Get to Know your Regional Sales Manager, Steve Hanes

Tell us about your educational/professional background:

I worked my way through school and was learning to become a computer technician and programmer. With some help from the economy and getting married, my path has taken me to sales.

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

For over 19 years, I worked in the automotive industry—I started in the wash bay at a car dealership, worked my way up to Service Advisor, then Assistant Service Manager. I spent eight years as a Service Manager for Honda, Toyota and Saturn dealerships. After this, I spent three years as General Manager in aftermarket sales for import cars.

This was the stepping stone to learn outside sales, and how to operate in more than location. In 2006 I was hired by Unalloy IWRC and became a Technical Sales Representative, and this was when I finally became part of this great, ever-changing industry! 

Why did you decide to work for Hercules SLR? 

Hercules SLR presented me with an opportunity to move from Sales Manager at another branch to become Branch Manager at the newly-opened Hamilton, Ontario branch.

With responsibilities in both Operations and Sales, this was an excellent opportunity to grow in the rigging & lifting industry. 

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

With Hercules SLR, I’ve had various roles in our Ontario locations—Brampton, Hamilton, Sarnia and Sudbury, and several times to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia for meetings & training, which was the first time I’ve been to the East Coast.    

Is there anywhere that you would like to travel to in the future with Hercules SLR?

I hope to eventually visit all the branches and cities Hercules SLR has coast-to-coast! 

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

Hercules SLR has helped me grow my career in operations, sales and travel. 

Did I mention when I was hired over 12 years ago as a Technical Sales Advisor, and had no technical experience in this industry? I had the drive to learn, train and ask for help, and now I’m confident in my title. 

Hercules SLR has also let me coach and lead other staff, which is so personally rewarding. I’m still learning to be the person I want to be at work, and most importantly, at home. 

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

I’ve been asked this several times and since I moved industries, what I’ve learned is it’s not about selling from a catalog or taking orders, it’s about making orders.

We have a sign that says ‘Value Added Service’ and it’s not just a poster on the wall. I’ve worked in the steel mill, marine, towers, quarries, forestry, windmills, assembly plants, mobile/tower cranes, construction sites, and they all need to move something, whether it’s building materials, furniture or parts.    

One thing I’ve enjoyed over the years is the customers and relationships I’ve built—They’re some of the most solid I can imagine. I’ve even kept in contact with some after they’ve retired! #notjustasalesguy. 

Give us some advice for people who work, or want to work in an industrial environment:

This industry has something for everyone, at every level, from work in the shop to manufacturing slings that move & lift the world, to inside sales, outside sales, rigger, inspector, trainer and operations. I could go on, but if someone wants to be a part of a team to help and partner with every other industry. 

Don’t miss out on rigging expertise at Hercules SLR—Join our Fundamentals of Rigging Course in Hamilton, Ontario and learn how to rig it right with Steve Hache and gain practical, hands-on experience. Learn more here, or e-mail sbohm@herculesslr.com or call (905) 790-3112


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Hercules SLR is part of Hercules Group of Companies, with locations and unique businesses coast-to-coast. We provide securing, lifting and rigging services for sectors in Canada and Internationally. Hercules SLR serves the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any hoisting solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876 or email info@herculesslr.com