Warehouse Wow: How our Distribution Centre Leads the Industry

hercules distribution centre warehouse

WAREHOUSE WORSHIP: HOW OUR CENTRAL DISTRIBUTION CENTRE IS LEADING THE INDUSTRY

HERCULES CENTRAL DISTRIBUTION CENTRE: WHAT WE DO

You’re probably reading this on a computer or mobile phone that at one point, was probably sitting somewhere in a warehouse. In 2019, warehouses are a huge part of nearly every industry but we often don’t consider where our things live before they get to us, or exactly what goes into running a smooth, successful warehouse operation. We’re here to help. 

Hercules’ Central Distribution Centre (DC) in Long-Sault, Ontario has the largest inventory of securing, lifting and rigging equipment under one roof in Canada. We’re also the only Central Distribution Centre (DC) warehouse in the securing, lifting and rigging industry that supplies products on a national-scale to our 20+ branches and ship directly to customers. The Hercules DC is in Cornwall on the 401 highway, sandwiched right between Montreal and Toronto and close to a border-crossing into the United States, as well. 

So, what exactly does it take to operate our DC? Luckily, we know just the guy. Terry Bartlett, Hercules’ Central Distribution Manager shares what he’s learned over his career, and what how he and his team run our DC like a well-oiled machine.  

hercules central distribution warehouse staffHERCULES’ WAREHOUSE: TEAM PLAYERS 

Terry Bartlett has been in distribution and material handling industries for over 20 years. Terry started as a Rig Technician at Hercules SLR in Montreal, quickly moving into a leading roles first as a Production Supervisor, then to Floor Manager. When Hercules decided to open a distribution center 3 years ago, Terry practically leaped at the opportunity to help the team establish operations. Over the past 6 years, Terry’s used his knowledge of Hercules and his distribution experience to set-up, recruit and make operations ultra efficient as our Central Distribution Manager. 

Terry can’t do it all alone—A hard-working team is essential to a well-run DC. Tim Bingley, Nick O’Brien and Jamie Plumadore have been part of the DC warehouse team for two years. They help Terry with basically all aspects of running the DC warehouse, including creating and setting policies & procedures and creating a culture that can continuously improve, keep up and grow with industry trends. 

As our business grows, so does the DC team. The DC Warehouse has doubled their team in the past year. Phillipe Gatien, Adam Bartlett, Eric Nadeau and Eric Vanderwal have joined our team to help operations.  

hercules central distribution warehouse staff

HERCULES WAREHOUSE: 5 SAFETY TIPS FROM TERRY

1. KNOW THE RISKS

Be aware of hazardous risks associated with warehouse work. These include slips and fall (which are some of the most common injuries on any jobsite, even offices) but warehouses present even more issues. Racking accidents, musculoskeletal injuries from improper lifting methods and temperature fluctuations are all risk factors for hazards.

You can’t prevent accidents or expect warehouse personnel to avoid hazards if they aren’t aware of them. 

2. PREVENT FALLS, MAKE HOUSEKEEPING A PRIORITY

Like we mention above, slips and falls are some of the most common warehouse injuries, and can be particularly dangerous when lifting equipment is being used. In Ontario, nearly 20% of lost-time injury claims were due to falls. To prevent falls and trips, be sure to have guards installed in areas where there are large spaces between floors that personnel could fall through. Mop and clean up spills, slippery materials like sawdust, and be sure to store boxes properly – not on the warehouse floor where someone may trip over them.

Train and make personnel aware of any abnormalities that might cause them to trip, like cracks in the floor, uneven stairs or plugged-in cords; and also human error that easily contributes to falls, like tools or equipment placed on the floor for just a moment.   

3. KEEPING TRAINING CURRENT

Yes, maybe employees who have been hired years ago have been trained, but as new standards come out, personnel should be familiar with them. Be sure to give thorough training on any new technologies you bring in, like connective radios or tracking systems, hand signals & important communicative phrases, and make sure safety and equipment training is up-to-date – to do this, give personnel ‘refresher’ courses regularly and hold safety meetings with warehouse personnel. 

4. USE EQUIPMENT PROPERLY

Again, « Isn’t this common-sense? » you probably think. However, one of the top citations OSHA gives out each year are for equipment violations. Ever see this scene from ‘The Office’? Some people shouldn’t use the forklift.

Make sure personnel has the proper training and licenses to operate machinery like forklifts, aerial lift trucks and even fall protection. Safety harnesses can be used improperly, which can lead to accidents. For example, a Hercules SLR inspector was once called into a warehouse operation whose safety equipment was often breaking. When he entered the warehouse, he saw a worker swinging from side-to-side on various platforms with a safety harness and lanyard which were only supposed to be used vertically. This was improper use, which explained why their safety equipment was failing so frequently.

In 2018, three of OSHA’s most frequent citations in warehouses were for Fall Protection training & general requirements and industrial truck violations – invest in training for warehouse personnel, especially when fall protection is being used.

5. HAZARD COMMUNICATION 

Another citation OSHA often gives out is for hazard communication. Hazardous chemicals can cause corrosion, respiratory issues or become flammable, and should be labelled. Hazard communication includes proper labelling, education for employees about the risks involved and plans to control spills and proper disposal. 


FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WAREHOUSE WORK,

CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

WAREHOUSE SAFETY: 8 STEPS TO TAKE AFTER A RACKING ACCIDENT

WOMEN IN INDUSTRY: MEET KIM REYNOLDS, WAREHOUSE ASSOCIATE

WAREHOUSE SAFETY: IS YOUR FORKLIFT HOLIDAY SEASON READY?


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Have questions about our Central Distribution Centre? Hercules SLR will lift you there.

E-mail us at info@herculesslr.com to learn more about Hercules SLR’s rigging equipment.

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, 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 solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.

CM’s Tips: Crane & Hoisting Equipment in Hazardous Areas

cm hoisting equipment at hercules slr

COLUMBUS MCKINNON GUEST BLOG: How to Use Hoists & Cranes in Hazardous Areas

This guest blog is reprinted with permission from the experts at Columbus McKinnon. Their specialists give you an overview of safe practices to follow to operate crane and hoisting equipment in hazardous environments. 

CRANE & HOISTING EQUIPMENT IN HAZARDOUS AREAS: THE NEED FOR SPARK RESISTANCE 

Among many industries that range from upstream oil and gas, refineries to agriculture and wood working, many potentially flammable atmospheres exist. These areas can present unique challenges for material handling equipment and can pose a serious threat to materials, equipment and most importantly, personnel.

In Canada, hazardous areas are defined and managed by a few different regulatory bodies, including the Canada Labour Code, the Canadian Standards Association and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, to name a few. 

FACTORS

It’s generally understood that friction between certain materials can cause sparks sufficient enough to ignite flammable gas or dust. A cigarette lighter or an antique flintlock musket are common examples of this. Obviously the type and concentration/dilution of gases in an area is one element that affects potential ignition from a mechanically generated source, but other key factors could include:

  • The type materials making contact
  • The speed/pressure with which the materials come into contact
  • Corrosion on one or more of the contacting surfaces
  • Lubrication

To address this potential risk, Columbus McKinnon uses materials such as copper, bronze, and austenitic stainless steel, which are generally considered non-sparking. These are used for coatings, or as material substitutions for enhanced spark resistance. Not only are these materials spark resistant, but they can also protect against corrosion. Since surface corrosion can increase friction between mating components, corrosion prevention is also important when using material handling products in hazardous environments.

CM crane and hoisting in hazardous areas, Hercules SLR

Columbus McKinnon engineers a variety of specialty products with spark-resistant components and finishes, including:

  • Solid bronze hooks, bottom blocks and trolley wheels
  • Bronze plated components
  • Stainless steel load and hand chain
  • Multi-coat epoxy finishes
  • Zinc-aluminum corrosion-resistant finish

CRANE & HOISTING EQUIPMENT IN HAZARDOUS AREAS: THE NEED FOR CORROSION RESISTANCE

hoisting equipment in hazardous areas by hercules slr
Offshore refinery, example of a hazardous environment. Photo courtesy of CM.

As we mentioned earlier, lifting equipment used in classified hazardous locations must be compliant with applicable standards. 

It’s important to make sure critical mechanical components are resistant to sparks – it’s equally important to make sure these parts are protected from corrosion. These parts include: 

  • Load blocks
  • Trolley wheels
  • Load brake
  • Lifting mediums
  • Chain
  • Wire rope

Many classified hazardous areas exist outdoors that expose lifting equipment to direct, and often harsh weather. These include offshore oil platforms, natural gas processing plants and refineries – to name a few. Specifically in offshore facilities, equipment may be exposed to splash zones, salt spray and the condensation of salt-laden air. In addition to harsh and corrosive weather conditions, sulfur, mineral acids and other corrosive agents are often present in the crude oil and natural gas that is being produced, processed and transported in these facilities, working to further corrode lifting equipment used in these environments.

CORROSION = $$$ cm hoisting equpment from hercules slr

The cost of corrosion can be tremendous, and can add up to billions of dollars each year in the oil and gas industries alone. In these industries, the cost to repair and replace corroded lifting equipment combined with unscheduled maintenance, downtime and lost production have a major impact on profitability. Corroded load blocks, hooks, chains and cables can result in catastrophic equipment failure. Not only can this cause costly damage to the equipment and the facility, but most importantly, can cause injury or be fatal to operators and other personnel in the facility. 

So – how do you protect lifting equipment from corrosion? It’s critical to use corrosion-resistant materials for load blocks, hooks, chains, cables and other components. Since surface corrosion can increase the friction between mating components, corrosion prevention is important to maintain mechanical spark resistance when using these products in a classified, hazardous environment. 

 

cm hoisting equpment from hercules slr
A corroded pipe in an offshore environment.

Columbus McKinnon offers a variety of solutions for these challenges, in the form of a wide range lifting products with spark and corrosion resistant materials and coatings. They also offer application engineering assistance to help determine the right solution for your application. Choose from specially engineered products with:

  • Solid bronze hooks, bottom blocks and trolley wheels
  • Lightweight aluminum housings
  • Stainless steel load and hand chain
  • Multi-coat epoxy finishes
  • Zinc-aluminum corrosion-resistant finish 
damaged hoisting equipment hercules slr
Corroded chain. Photo via CM.

In addition to corrosion-resistant materials and finishes, we also suggest proper hoist lubrication to prevent sparking. These measures, combined with a robust inspection and preventative maintenance program that includes pre-lift inspections, play a critical role to make sure equipment is dependable and safe in these harsh environments. 

Regardless of where you do business, CM has hoisting equipment and cranes to keep your people, materials and equipment safe in hazardous areas. 

 

CRANE & HOISTING EQUIPMENT IN HAZARDOUS AREAS: SPACE CONSTRAINT CHALLENGES & SOLUTIONS

Earlier in this article, CM discussed the need for mechanical spark resistance and corrosion-resistant measures, especially in hazardous environments. This section outlines challenges faced working with space constraints, how they can be increased in hazardous environments and solutions to potential problems.

SPACE CONSTRAINT CHALLENGES  

hoisting equipment in space constraints at hercules slr
Examples of a constrained space. Photo courtesy of CM.

 

 

 

 

 

Another example of a constrained space. Photo courtesy of CM.

Classified hazardous areas frequently exist within confined spaces, especially in the mining and oil & gas industries. In mining, tunnels often have low overhead clearance in areas where coal or other flammable dust may be present. In the oil and gas industry, designers of offshore facilities typically look to minimize the overall size of the structure, which can lead to low headroom between deck levels and tight clearances for monorails and crane runways.

In all of these situations, there is a need for overhead lifting equipment that is compact in design, including low headroom and short side clearances, as well as a short “end approach” to maximize the deck coverage area served by the monorail hoist or crane.

This need for compact hoists, trolleys and cranes is often complicated by the possibility that flammable gases or dust may be present in the areas where the equipment is used. Therefore, explosion-proof and spark-resistant features may be needed, each posing their own challenges given the space constraints. For example, explosion-proof electric motors and control enclosures are typically larger and heavier than those for non-hazardous areas. Spark-resistant bronze load blocks and hooks tend to be larger than carbon or alloy steel hooks and blocks with the same safe working load. Also, the use of spark-resistant stainless steel load chain or wire rope often requires the equipment capacity to be de-rated due to lower tensile strength of stainless versus alloy steel. This de-rating can sometimes result in larger, heavier and more costly hoists and cranes.

SOLUTIONS 

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when specifying or purchasing lifting equipment for hazardous locations with space limitations. When dimensional constraints within facilities and working environments compete with the need to comply with hazardous area requirements, the safety of personnel, equipment and facilities themselves must always take precedence in our decision making.

Fortunately, there are a variety of hoisting equipment options available, featuring spark- and corrosion-resistant materials and explosion-proof components, that can be used in confined areas. Low-headroom hoists are offered in both wire rope and chain varieties, including manual, electric and pneumatic models.

Wire rope hoists can typically provide higher capacities and faster lifting speeds, while chain hoists can offer smaller overall dimensional envelopes to optimize end approach and clearance. Solid bronze and stainless steel components can provide lasting protection against sparking and corrosion, but, in some applications, copper or nickel plating can be substituted to provide lower headroom dimensions and reduce the need for de-rating of safe working loads.

CM has solutions to many of these problems. Products that work in many different restricted areas for this purpose are: 

  • Ultra-low headroom hoist models 
  • Low-profile hoists 
  • Wire rope hoists/crane rope 

Hercules SLR carries Columbus McKinnon products, hoisting equipment and solutions to use cranes and hoists in hazardous areas—e-mail info@herculesslr.com to find out how we can support your next crane or hoisting operation with safety training, inspections or repairs.  


VISIT CM WORKS FOR MORE: 

PART 1: The Need for Spark Resistance
PART 2: The Need for Corrosion Resistance
PART 3: Space Constraint Challenges & Solutions 

FOR MORE COLUMBUS MCKINNON,

CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

CRANE & HOISTING SYSTEMS: THE DANGERS OF SIDE PULLING

CM GUEST BLOG: 3 SAFETY TIPS TO INSTALL YOUR CM TROLLEY

 CHAIN SLING WEAR AND STRETCH: ARE THEY THE SAME THING?


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Where’s your CM hoisting equipment? Hercules SLR will lift you there.

Click here to learn more about CM crane and hoist equipment at Hercules SLR. 

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

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

What do Riggers do Offshore?

what do riggers do offshore

 

WHAT DO RIGGERS DO OFFSHORE?

What do riggers do offshore? If the first word that comes to mind when you think of the words ‘riggers’ or ‘rigs’ is ‘offshore’, you’re on the right track.

As we’ve covered in many of our blogs, riggers perform many different job duties, from stage rigging for plays to positions on construction projects that help move different equipment and materials. Although you’ve likely heard the term ‘offshore rigger’ or ‘rigging’ before, you still might not know everything about this job and its duties. 

Read on to and learn more about an offshore rigger’s job duties, responsibilities of the role and more about Hercules SLR’s work offshore. 

WHAT DO RIGGERS DO OFFSHORE? WHAT THE OFFSHORE INDUSTRY IS

When you hear the term ‘offshore’, it usually refers to the oil & gas and wind energy industries. In the oil and gas industries, a vessel is installed in specific areas to drill for oil or gas. This is important, since gas reservoirs can be found anywhere – including the ocean. To drill offshore, a drilling rig and pipe is installed. This rig can be on a floating or fixed platform.

So, what do riggers do offshore? Offshore riggers’ manage and monitor all the different parts of a drilling vessel’s operation. To operate rigs, worker’s are required to operate the drilling, attach and operate machinery and deconstruct the machinery when drilling is complete. They make sure that oil flows through the pipes properly and that oil is transported to the tanker efficiently and the pipes don’t burst. A rigger is also responsible to make sure safety rules and regulations are followed – remember, emergency responders can’t easily access an offshore rig, so it’s essential that risk is minimized. 

A person who performs work on the offshore rig is often called a rigger, or a rig technician and there can be different positions, or levels of technicians who perform different duties based on their training, specialties or seniority.

There are often positions available that range from entry-level duties to roles that require experience or more specialized skill, like a derrickhand or welder, for example. Working hours on an offshore rig are much different than your typical 9-5 gigs – offshore work is usually accomplished in two-week chunks. Often, riggers will work for two weeks offshore, on the rig, and then will often have two weeks off, back on-shore. Offshore rigging takes you away from land (if you didn’t catch that by the word ‘offshore‘), and as we mentioned, usually for big chunks of time. 

WHAT DO RIGGERS DO OFFSHORE? HOW HERCULES SLR SERVES OFFSHORE INDUSTRY

INSPECTIONS, TESTING & REPAIRS 

One way Hercules SLR works offshore is to assist workers’ on the rigs with different issues, like broken equipment or machinery on the rig. Inspectors and other technicians will travel to offshore destinations to inspect, repair and if needed, certify equipment. This can happen when equipment fails or other issues are found that threaten safety – Hercules SLR can fix the issue until it’s safe to resume work.

Examples of inspection and repair issues Hercules SLR’s called to work on include container inspections, sling/equipment failure, non-destructive testing, hydraulic lifting equipment failure or incidents that need investigation, like a dropped load (dropped loads often cause injury, and can be fatal). 

Since an offshore rig is isolated and far from everyday amenities, it’s usually appropriate to have a rig technician for the entire project to ensure things run smoothly. Offshore rigging presents many safety risks, and it’s important to prevent and reduce any unnecessary harm to worker’s or the environment. 

RIGGING 

Hercules SLR’s rigger’s will come to your offshore installation or project for nearly anything the operation needs. We can: 

  • Move or lift difficult loads to or from the offshore rig
  • Provide you with lifting equipment or equipment rentals for lifting/moving 
  • Identify methods or equipment needed to move particular loads
  • Create custom-rigging solutions to move awkward or difficult loads 
  • Provide riggers’ for your offshore installation 
TRAINING

The Hercules’ Training Academy offers different courses that are useful in offshore applications, like Fundamentals of Rigging with Practical.  

Hercules SLR’s training courses can be completed at the Hercules Training Academy, or, we can come to your offshore installation. Our Offshore Rigger Banksman course teaches students the fundamental skills to rig, lift, sling & release loads in an offshore environment. The course also includes: 

  • Regulations, standards and associations
  • Risk management
  • Rigging plan
  • Calculating load weight, centre of gravity and sling angles 
  • Load control
  • Rigging equipment how-to’s (slings, hitches, hardware and hooks) 
  • Pre-use inspection 
  • Duties and responsibilities of the rigger and banksman 
  • Communications (radio and hand signals)
  • Personnel transfer
  • Container inspection
  • Practical application of the equipment and principles 

WHAT DO RIGGERS DO OFFSHORE?

Do you enjoy assembling and disassembling machinery? Like making equipment work? Have a passion for safety? If you don’t mind travelling, work as a rigger offshore might be perfect for you. 

Being an offshore rigger requires mechanical knowledge, common sense (not as common as you might think, and very important for a safe operation) and communication skills to keep yourself and others’ safe.

To learn more about offshore rigging, check out our blogs below or head to our career page to browse offshore rigger career opportunities. 


FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OFFSHORE RIGGING,

CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

HERCULES SLR AT THE SABLE STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP

RIGGING WITH OVER 15 YEARS’ EXPERIENCE IN HAMILTON, ONTARIO: MEET RIGGER JIM CASE

GET TO KNOW LANGLEY, BC NDE INSPECTOR CHRIS DAVIES

BECOME A RIGGER: YOUR CAREER MAP


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Need offshore rigging solutions? Hercules SLR will lift you there.

Click here to learn more about offshore rigging services at Hercules SLR, or e-mail us at info@herculesslr.com to find more information on how we can serve your next offshore project.   

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, 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 solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.