Warehouse Wow: How our Distribution Centre Leads the Industry

hercules distribution centre warehouse



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



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. 


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.   


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. 


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.


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. 








Have questions about our  rigging equipment or 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. 


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. 


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


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. 



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.


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.


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.  


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








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.  

NEWS: planning is essential in confined spaces

confined space training by hercules slr

Confined spaces—we’ve discussed the dangers of working in confined spaces, confined space training and the importance of choosing the right fall protection equipment on our blog before.

On Tuesday, November 20, in Uruguay, two shoreshide dock workers died and two were hospitalized after being exposed to a fumigant. Currently, the Uruguayan Navy is unsure which chemical caused the fatalities and injuries—however, it’s believed to be caused by the treatment phosphine, a fumigation gas used to control pests in agricultural and wood product cargoes. Phosphine is denser than air and can settle into low-lying pockets, reports the Maritime Executive.

Investigators say two dock workers from an independent company entered a freighter from Panama when they lost consciousness and collapsed—a crewmember say the dock workers struggle and entered the space wearing a face mask, but removed it while trying to rescue the workers. He also collapsed and is in the hospital in an induced coma. A third member of the company is also in hospital with injuries, reports the Maritime Executive.

According to the president of the Uruguayan Transport Union, Cesar Bernal, dock workers were not aware half of the ship’s cargo was treated with a fumigant. They followed their normal procedure for entering the space in the freighter, and were affected immediately by the fumes.

The industrial trades will benefit from improved communication regarding hazardous fumes, and more effective training regarding fall arrest and confined space entry and exit training. Something like an SRL (self-retracting lifeline) may help in a situation like this, where a worker can easily lift himself from a dangerous space. The National Institute for Occupational Health & Safety reports that 60% of confined space fatalities in coastal accidents are rescuers.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety (CCOHS) recommends that employers develop a confined space hazard assessment and control program—especially since most workers in the industrial trades will work in a confined space at least once during their career. This program should be specific to the work being done, and employers may need to implement more than one program.

A technician working offshore.

CCOHS recommends your plan include the following:

  • Description of roles and responsibilities of each person or party (e.g., employer, supervisor, workers, attendants, and emergency response team);
  • Advice on how to identify confined spaces;
  • Identification and assessment of all potential hazards that may exist at the beginning of the work as well as those that may develop because of the work activities;
  • A plan to eliminate or control all identified hazards;
  • Written work procedures;
  • Confined Space training program for all the workers that will enter confined spaces;
  • An entry permit system for each entry into a confined space;
  • Development of an emergency plan complete with training and equipment in case an unforeseen situation occurs;
  • An emergency response system;
  • Reporting and investigating incidents related to work in confined spaces;
  • Record and documentation control;
  • Program review whenever there is a change in circumstances or at least annually, to identify program weaknesses and make any necessary changes to the program.

Confined Space Training

Unfortunately, many injuries and fatalities are easy to prevent if the proper safety measures and plans are put into place. Give you and your employees the knowledge and skills they need to be safe in confined spaces. Browse information on our Confined Space Entry & Attendant, and more safety courses here.


References here: 
- https://maritime-executive.com/article/two-uruguayan-dockers-dead-in-confined-space-accident
- https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/hsprograms/confinedspace_program.html


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.

Confined Spaces: Hercules’ Safety Tips

confined spaces safety training from hercules slr

What is a Confined Space?

Confined spaces are present in nearly every industrial trade, and most workers will encounter at least one confined space during their career.

The OSHA states that nearly 90 deaths occur per year, across a range of industries involving confined spaces. Almost 2/3 of these fatalities are caused during an attempt to rescue someone in a confined space—having an efficient, established retrieval plan in place is essential to preventing death and injury.

A confined space is defined as a entirely or considerably enclosed space, where dangerous conditions are present due to lack of oxygen or hazardous substances.

What else constitutes a confined space? A space which is large enough for a person to enter or exit, has limited or restricted exits and isn’t designed for extended human occupancy. A confined space may have more than one opening, however—if a worker must climb through various obstacles to access the opening, this may be considered a confined space as well.

Confined spaces also may temporarily appear on a work site through construction, fabrication or modification. Tunnels, manholes and silos are all examples of confined spaces.

What is a Permit-Required Confined Space?

Not only are permit-required confined spaces difficult to enter, they present serious hazards like inadequate ventilation or noxious air. These include:

  • Hazardous atmosphere or potential for one;
  • Material, like grain that could engulf an individual;
  • Walls converging inwards, or floors sloping downward and tapering into a smaller area that could trap or asphyxiate an individual;
  • Any other recognized hazards, like unguarded machinery, heat stress, or a fall hazard.

These confined spaces present a great threat as they’re more likely to cause fatalities—a quick and simple exit, or rescue must be possible for workers in confined spaces. The safest rescue strategies involve no additional employees entering the space—retrieval equipment should be used unless unsafe to do so.

Confined Space Training


What Makes Confined Spaces Dangerous, Anyway?

Not only are confined spaces difficult to enter, exit and navigate, they present a series of other dangerous threats many workers may overlook. Dangers commonly present themselves when welding, painting, flame cutting or using chemicals in a confined space. Other risks include:

  • Lack of oxygen;
  • Poisonous gas, fume or vapour;
  • Liquids and solids suddenly filling the confined space, gas releasing in the space when disturbed;
  • Fire and explosions;
  • Residues left behind that give off gas, fume or vapour;
  • Hot working conditions;
  • Falling objects;
  • Moving parts of equipment or machinery;
  • Electrical shock resulting from defective extension cords, welding cables, etc.;
  • Poor visibility;
  • Materials travelling through piping like gases, hot substances or water.

Fall-Prevention Training is Essential for Safety in Confined Spaces confined-spaces-fall-prevention

As previously mentioned, having an established and efficient rescue plan for workers’ in confined spaces is essential. Fall protection, or prevention training is another not only important, but essential step to ensure safety.

There are five main steps to consider when safeguarding a confined space:

  1. Guard the entrance: A guardrail, barrier or another temporary cover must be in place to prevent entry (i.e. an accidental fall) into the space.
  2. Wear fall-protection gear: All workers, even those not working in the space should have proper fall-protection gear. Dangerous factors may affect nearby workers, like fumes. Equipment like Restraint Lanyards that stop an appropriate distance from the confined space should be used by other workers.
  3. Make sure vertical access is safe: Typically, a ladder or a davit arm with a winching mechanism is used to safely access the confined space.
  4. Use fall-arrest equipment: The main components of fall protection for a confined space are an anchorage, body support and a connector. Workers should have a backup for their primary entry and exit source. If using a ladder for example, the worker should also have a retractable lifeline and a winching mechanism, or may have a safety harness with a retractable winching mechanism to lower, and raise workers into the confined space. Equipment will depend on a vertical or horizontal entry.
  5. Training: If a workers is unfamiliar with fall-protection equipment, the term itself or has no recorded instances of fall-protection or prevention training, the employee must be trained to inspect and use fall-protection equipment and know general information regarding fall-protection.

Find fall-arrest equipment, and more safety solutions for working in confined spaces at Hercules SLR. Click here to read more on how to select the best fall-protection equipment for confined spaces.

Original Article: http://www.capitalsafety.com/en-us/Documents/New-OSHA-Rescue-Requirements-for-Confined-Space-Retrieval-Firl-Argudin-OHS-November-2015.pdf


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.