6 Top Tips | Rail Safety Week

6 Top Tips | Rail Safety Week

Canada’s Rail Safety Week is from September 21 -27 and aims to increase awareness around the importance of safe behavior near railroad tracks. Did you know Canada has almost 45,000 km of railway tracks covering the country from cities to towns and even rural communities? Railways still play an essential role in Canadian infrastructure, acting as a major form of transportation for both people and goods across the country.

According to the Canadian Rail Safety Organizations Operation Lifesaver report, so far this year we’ve had 100 incidents, 34 fatalities, and 18 serious injuries across Canada. Almost 2,100 North Americans are killed or seriously injured every year in railways crossing and trespassing incidents. The most tragic part about these numbers is that almost every single one of these incidents could be prevented if people knew how to properly and safely act around railroad tracks and trains.

According to Operation Lifesaver, an organization dedicated to preventing collisions at railway crossings and railway trespassing incidents in Canada, these are the 6 top tips to keep you safe near the rails!

1. STAY OFF THE TRACKS

You should never unnecessarily walk, cycle, or drive along railway tracks. Trains can travel as fast as 160 km/h and can take up to 2 km to come to a complete stop – That’s the length of 18 football fields. Because it can be very hard to judge how far away a train is or what speed it’s traveling at, you should always consider active railways a hazard and keep a safe distance.

2. KEEP OFF RAILWAY PROPERTY

Railway yards, tunnels, and bridges are all private property and if you are caught trespassing on them, you could be fined up to $50,000. Not only is it illegal to trespass on railway property – it is extremely dangerous! Railway tunnels and bridges are often time only slightly wider than the rail themselves which leads very little room for you to go if a train were to come along. Like we said before, you should always consider active railways a hazard and keep a safe distance, and this includes all railway property. Save your life and $50,000 by steering clear!

3. USE DESIGNATED RAILWAY CROSSINGS

There are some situations where crossing railway tracks is necessary, such as when tracks cross public roads. These are designated crossings equipped with the proper safety measures needed to ensure you are able to cross safely. You should only cross railway tracks at designated crossings. Remember, trains can come at any time, from either direction and on any track and they also don’t always run on a set schedule so you can never trust that the coast is clear.

4. OBEY ALL RAILWAY SIGNS AND SIGNALS

Railway signs and warning devices such as lights, bells, and gates are crucial safety devices and should be obeyed at all times. If crossing, at a designated crossing, you need to LOOK and LISTEN. Look both ways for any approaching trains and listen for if you can hear any trains.  If a train is coming, or railway warning signals are activated, stop behind any gates or stop lines—or no closer than 5 meters away from the nearest rail—and wait for the train to pass. Cross only after the warning signals have ceased and you are certain no other trains are approaching, from either direction, on any track.

5. STAY ALERT

 

You can’t avoid getting struck by a train is you’re not LOOKING or LISTENING. Some modern trains can be extremely quiet so you can not trust that simply because you don’t hear the chug chug chug that there isn’t one nearby. When near railway tracks stay off of phones or other distractions and stay alert.  Although trains sound their whistles at most crossings, or in the case of an emergency, you won’t hear the warning if you are wearing headphones – and sometimes it can still be too late!

6. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE

Trains are not always the size of the railway tracks and can overhang by as much a 1 meter on each side. They can also carry loads that are even wider than the railway cars themselves. So, don’t assume that taking a few steps back will keep you in the clear. Even if the train itself wouldn’t hit you, you can get hit by chains, straps, or other equipment if you are too close. Remember, they can travel up to 160km/h – would you want to be within even a couple feet of a car driving that fast?

For more rail safety tips, resources and more check out Operation Livesaver.


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Herc How-To | Keeping Cool at the Construction Site

Herc How-To | Keeping Cool at the Construction Site

When people think Canada they probably aren’t thinking a beautiful sunny paradise – But for a couple of months a year, it actually does gets hot outside! Summer has arrived, and parts of the country have already seen record or near-record highs this month & meteorologists say 2020 on course to be one of the hottest years since records began

The risk is increased for workers where the temperature can reach higher than the outside air temperature such as those performing roof work, road construction or doing interior work on a building with no air conditioning and poor ventilation.

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

Work in Extreme Temperatures: Legislation

Legislation can be a bit vague surrounding the rules and regulations on what employers specifically must do to keep employees safe with regards to heatstroke, 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 number of breaks

There isn’t one magic temperature where work is canceled, but each province does have some legislation that describes temperatures suggested for different workplaces & conditions, particularly those in industrial jobs such as construction workers.

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.

What Heat Does to Your Body

Heat does more than give you a burn (that’s bad, too—we’ll get into that later) which can result in vomiting. fainting, and is the worse cases, 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%. 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 heatstroke include a body temperature over 41°C and a 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 safest environment for your workers as possible.

Employers of workplaces under federal jurisdiction have the 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.

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

Heat Stroke: What Employees can do

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

KNOW THE SIGNS

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

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

6 Herc How-To Top Tips for Keeping Cool

1. Let Your Body Acclimate

Especially if you are a new worker or returning from any sort of extended leave due to illness or vacation – it’s important to let your body acclimate to work when in heat. All workers should expect work to be a bit harder in the heat near the beginning of summer, but as time goes on your body will adjust. Employers should expect and allow employees to work at a slower pace, slowly working up to 100% over 5 to 7 days so your body can adjust to the heat and strenuous activity.

2. Get an Early Start

Air temperature usually peaks between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm, so the early bird gets the cooler worm! Try to schedule your jobs/days in a way that outdoor strenuous work can be completed early in the day. You’ll be in the best position if your days can be structured to be completed before these hot hours, but even just leaving the easier, or inside, work for these hours of the day can help you survive the heat.

3. Sunscreen

Whenever you are working outdoors you should be using sunscreen. Even on cloudy and overcast days, ultraviolet (UV) rays can reach you and cause sunburn. When working outside you should reapply often with a sunscreen that is either sweat-proof or waterproof to help ensure that you don’t sweat it all off in the first few minutes of work. It’s also a good idea to wear a wide-brimmed hat to block the sun’s deadly rays.

4. Proper Clothing

When working outside doing strenuous activity in the heat, light-colored, loose-fitting and lightweight clothing is the way to go. Choosing natural fibered clothing such as cotton is a good choice as it will be more breathable and will absorb moisture well. Moisture-wicking clothing is also a smart choice, as it will draw sweat off your body which will allow your body to cool quicker – this is especially important if you work in a humid climate where sweat evaporation becomes difficult.

5. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

When working in hot weather conditions you should be drinking water or other fluids at least every 15-20 minutes. Cool water should be your main source of hydration. Sports drinks and coconut water are good options for restoring electrolytes and fresh fruits or fruit juices are good options if you’re feeling a drop in blood sugar. You should avoid coffee, soda, and alcohol as they all contain diuretics which will cause you to become more dehydrated.

If you experience any of the following symptoms you should immediately take a break to rehydrate:

  • increased thirst
  • dry mouth
  • swollen tongue
  • inability to sweat
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • decrease in urine output

6. Take Frequent Breaks 

Taking frequent breaks in the shade is an important step to avoid heat-related illnesses. Whenever you are feeling overheated or presenting any of the above symptoms of heatstroke, you need to take at least a 5-minute break in a shaded area. This is also a good time to rehydrate or eat some food to restore your energy.

To really cool your body temperature down, try getting inside an air-conditioned space like a vehicle or job site trailer. You can also apply a cool, wet cloth to pulse points on your body such as the neck, wrists, and elbows. If you are working indoors with no air conditioning consider setting up some portable fans to increase air circulation and cool you off. There are also a number of personal cooling devices on the market like cooling vests or neck coolers that can help you beat the heat.

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

Out of the World Lifts: SLR Helps Radarsat Constellation Mission

radarstat constellation mission

Lifting Out of this World: Hercules SLR Helps RADARSAT Constellation Mission

Hercules SLR is committed to safety at every level—Even in outer space.

On Wednesday, June 12, SpaceX launched the RADARSAT Constellation Mission from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

At 7:17 a.m. PDT (14:17 UTC), the Falcon 9 launched, which was the first of three RADARSAT satellites deployed about 54 minutes following launch.

After stage separation, the Falcon 9 returned to SpaceX’s Landing Zone 4 at the Air Force Base. The first stage for the RADARSAT Constellation mission previously supported Crew Dragon’s first demo mission in March 2019.

The RADARSAT Constellation Mission shows Canada’s excellence in Earth observation from Space. The RADARSAT Constellation Mission is made of three identical C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Earth observation satellites built by MDA, a Maxar Company.

The RADARSAT Constellation Mission will scan and collect daily revisits of Canada’s vast territory and maritime approaches, like the Arctic, up to four times per day. The three-satellite configuration can also access any point of 90% of the world’s surface.

The RADARSAT Constellation Mission supports the Government of Canada to deliver responsive and cost-effective services for fields like maritime surveillance, ecosystem and climate change observation.

For example, the RADARSAT Constellation Mission will:

  • Help create precise sea ice maps of Canada’s oceans and the Great Lakes to facilitate navigation and commercial maritime transportation. Each satellite also carries an Automatic Identification System receiver, allowing improved detection and tracking of vessels of interest.
  • Collect highly-accurate data that will let farmers maximize crop yields, while reducing energy consumption and use of potential pollutants.
  • Take and provide images of areas affected by disaster to help organize emergency response efforts and protect local population.

Hercules SLR is one of many proud Canadian suppliers to supply rigging equipment, hardware and safety training to make the RADARSAT Constellation Mission possible.  

Learn more about the mission and launch—Checkout the webcast from the SpaceX YouTube channel below. 

RADARSAT Constellation Mission

Video via SpaceX


FOR RELATED READING, CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

HERC HOW-TO: ASSEMBLE A CHAIN SLING

GET TO KNOW YOUR LANGLEY NDE INSPECTOR, CHRIS DAVIES

DISCOVER LANGLEY: ADVANTAGES OF NON-DESTRUCTIVE TESTING


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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

Heavy Lifting with Hercules SLR | How we Lift More than a Million

820-ton splitter vessel alberta

You might have heard about the Splitter vessel that recently travelled from Fort Saskatchewan from Edmonton and was the biggest load to ever travel on Alberta’s streets and provincial highways. 

The vessel, called a Splitter, will be installed at the Heartland Petrochemical Complex—It’s used to produce polypropylene plastic. The Splitter is seriously huge, weighing 820-tons, or 1,807,790lbs and is 96-metres long. This is as long as a CFL football field and as heavy as the Statue of Liberty. After assembly on-site, it weighed 1,200-tons, or 24,000,000lbs. Yep, 24-million pounds. 

The journey itself took 4-days—a trip that normally takes just 45-minutes by vehicle. The vessel travelled through what’s known as “Alberta’s High-Load Corridor” and used guide vehicles, safety personnel and trailers & tires that evenly distributed the load’s weight. The city of Edmonton worked with the province for over a year to plan the big move.

HERCULES SLR & THE SPLITTER VESSEL | WHAT WE DID

The end of the vessel’s journey is where Hercules SLR steps in.

Hercules SLR installed the drill lines for the Splitter vessel. Drill lines are wire rope that’s multi-threaded or reeved through typically in 6-12 parts. They travel between the block and crown so drill strings can lower and lift in-and-out of a wellbore. 

Before the lift, Hercules SLR re-certified all their wire rope slings. Since this lift was so enormous, the risk was amplified. It is considered a critical lift—This means taking proper risk assessment measures is ultra-important to plan and ensure risk is minimized. ASME standards suggest you inspect your lifting equipment and hardware at least once a year.

Hercules SLR performed a rigorous inspection and calculated the lift to all risk factors. Since the rigging holds and secures the load to the crane, this is an extremely important step that Hercules SLR’s rigger’s take to ensure the load will be moved without damaging the equipment, running into obstacles or injure surrounding people. 

Check out photos of this enormous vessel and rigging below.

820lb splitter vessel drill line installation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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FOR RELATED ARTICLES

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CONFINED SPACES: CHOOSE THE BEST FALL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT


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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies. We have a unique portfolio of businesses nationally, with locations coast-to-coast. Hercules Group of Companies provides extensive coverage of products and services that support a variety of sectors across Canada which includes 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. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.