Safety Tips | Working in the Wet & Rain

Safety Tips | Working in the Wet & Rain

Even if your job doesn’t take you outside, you may find yourself out doing yard work in the wet and rain because let’s face it, some of those spring-time jobs would simply never get done if you waited for a day that was completely beautiful and dry.

Safety should ALWAYS come first – if you feel you cannot safely complete a task in the wet and rain, communicate with your employer and re-prioritize to shift the timeline of this task. No job, project, or yardwork is worth an injury. However, we humans won’t melt, and there are many tasks that with a bit of extra precaution can be complete in the wet and rain with no issue! Read on for 8 tips on how to keep safe while working in the wet and rain:

1. Slow and Steady…

We all have an instinct when in the rain to quickly complete our task so we can get back inside as soon as possible. However, since rain makes everything more slippery, you need to work against that instinct and work more slowly and carefully. Be deliberate with your movements and take your time, especially when working at a height or climbing ladders. In reality, you’re getting wet either way, so you might as well just go with it and safety return inside once you’ve taken the time you need to complete your task.

2. Power Tools?

It’s important to use the correct equipment. Do not use electrical tools and equipment that are not specifically rated for outdoor use when working in the wet or rain. We all know what happens when electricity and water come together – You’ll be lucky if you walk away with just broken equipment.

When using hand tools, ensure you are using tools with textured nonslip grip handles. Wet hands and/or tools can lead to losing your grip and dropping your tools. Your toes will thank you for using tools with a grip handles!

3. Stop the Drop!

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. Fall protection is particularly important when working in the wet and rain because your chance of slipping is increased working on a wet surface.

It’s also important to remember that certain fall protection equipment is designed to be worn as close to your body as possible. This means you cannot wear this equipment on top of bulky, heavy, or slick rain gear! You shouldn’t wear your fall protection equipment over anything but your base layer of clothing – this being your underwear, pants, and shirt. So what are you supposed to do? You can purchase special rain gear made to be worn with fall protection equipment that allows workers to wear their harness snug to their body and the jacket on top while still being able to safely attach to connectors and lifelines through holes.

4. Gear Up!

Speaking of rain gear, it is important to wear appropriate rain gear. If you are cold and wet, you are going to have a hard time concentrating on the work at hand. Rain gear which includes both a coat and pants or overalls and is ventilated should be worn for prolonged wet-weather work. If it’s cold and rainy, wool or synthetic fibers specifically designed for cold weather use are the best for wear under rain gear because it will keep you warm even if it gets wet. Also, wear rain gear that is the proper size; if it’s too large it may interfere with movement. (pssssttt…if you’re in Atlantic Canada, our sister company Spartan Marine is a great place to pick up rain gear).

5. These Boots Are Made For…

And the gear shouldn’t stop there, appropriate footwear is just as important! #1 most important for working in the wet and rain is footwear with deep treads to help prevent slipping. Footwear that’s in poor condition will be your ultimate enemy when working in the wet and rain as it will often fail to keep water out, and cause you to slip and fall if the tread has been worn smooth. A tip to really keep that water out is to wear a shoe that extends above the ankle, and rain gear that extends to the ankle – and keep the boot inside of the pant leg opposed to tucking the pant leg into the footwear.

6. Get a Grip!

What gets the coldest in the rain? Your fingers and your toes! Now that we have your toes covered in tip number 5, we’re moving on to those fingers. Use proper hand protection that fits snuggly and provide a non-slip grip. That non-slip grip will work together with the grip on your hand tools and will make it very easy to keep a firm grip on your tools, no matter how wet they get. To prevent water from getting into your gloves, make sure that the sleeve of the glove is tight-fitting and is long enough to fit under the cuff of your jacket.

7. See Clearly Even if the Rain Isn’t Gone…

You’ve got to make sure you can see! Be sure your work area is well lit, and if needed, ensure any lights used are rated for outdoor use. If you choose to wear goggles or eyeglasses, use an antifogging spray or wipe on them before heading outside.  Hoods and hats can also be used to keep the rain out of your face and eyes, but they can limit your vision, so make a point to turn your head when looking around you.

8. Visibility! Visibility! Visibility!

And it’s just as important to be seen. Especially if you are working in an area with traffic, always wear bright-colored, reflective vests or rain gear, even during the day. Stear away from rain gear or vests that have become wore and dull and therefore are no longer as reflective.


The best way to do something safely is to do it correctly, and that comes with proper training and education! Hercules SLR recognizes that and through the Hercules Training Academy, offers an extensive suite of high-quality safety training and certification courses.

Brand new classrooms and specialized training equipment enable us to provide an even higher quality of service than ever before when it comes to safety training. Whether you’re looking for initial or refresher training, we provide practical, hands-on courses designed to exceed the minimum safety requirements.

Our courses can be customized to fit your workplace’s specific needs. We are always willing to design a course (or multiple courses) specifically for you!

If you’re interested in building a customized training program, please get in touch. One of our training representatives would be happy to help you get started.

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

Cost of A Fall | How it Can Effect Your Business

Cost of A Fall | How This Hazard Can Effect Your Business

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. Did you know that approximately 18% of those time-loss injuries, or about 42,000 workers a year, are injured due to fall incidents alone?

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. Same level falls can be caused by slippery and uneven surfaces, debris and tripping hazards, dark and obstructed pathways, and unsuitable footwear. Falling from heights can be caused by working where there is a chance of falling more than 3 meters (10 feet).

What the Law Says

If you’re working at a height exceeding 3 meters (10 feet) occupational health and safety (OHSA) 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.

OHSA also requires that employers take every reasonable precaution to protect workers, provide information and instruction, and ensure that workers properly use or wear the required equipment. Employers, supervisors, and workers can be prosecuted for not complying with the law.

**Refer to industry-specific regulations for details on legislative compliance. Your health and safety association can provide this information to you.

How can this Hazard can Affect Your Business?

The Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) of Ontario published a study on this and found the following:

  • Each year there are about 17,000 lost-time injuries due to falls in the workplace
  • One in five lost-time injuries result from falls
  • Every year about 20 people die in Ontario because of workplace falls
  • 80 workers are injured every day because of a fall – that’s one every 20 minutes

These numbers are for Ontario alone, and display just how important it is to prevent slips, trips and falls in the workplace. Like we always say, every worker has the right to return home safe each and every day, and fall prevention and protection is a large part of that.

But let’s take a moment to step away and look at this through a monetary lense. Keeping your employees safe should be enough of a reason to prioritize fall prevention and protection – But the reality of the situation is, a fall can also cost your business a fair amount…

  • An average WSIB claim is $11,771; factor in other costs like lost productivity and staff replacement, and the cost can be as much as four times more – approximately $59,000 per injury
  • with a profit margin of 5%, sales/services required to cover the total cost of one injury equals about $1.2 million

What You Can Do

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 to 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

Like we mentioned above, 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. Hercules SLR offers a wide range of fall protection equipment and our experts would be happy to set you up with the right equipment based on your needs – All it takes is a quick phone call or email!

Ensure that required personal protective equipment, and other equipment, is in good repair and used properly.

But it’s not good enough just to throw on the required minimum fall protection equipment and call it a day – It’s important the equipment be in proper condition, and that it’s being used properly. These are aspects of your safety measures that Hercules SLR can aid with greatly. Our LEEA certified inspection technicians can inspect and certify your fall protection equipment and you can get trained on the proper way to used fall protection at the Hercules Training Academy!


Click this image to view the full Fall Protection course overview.

The Hercules Training Academy is open with brand new classrooms and specialized training equipment enable us to provide an even higher quality of service than ever before when it comes to safety training. 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.

In our Fall Protection course, you will learn: regulations, hazard assessments, pre-use inspections, calculating fall distance, donning a harness, selecting fall protection equipment, fall protection plans and procedures, selecting anchor points, ladders, elevated work platforms, suspension trauma

We can customize courses to fit your workplace’s specific needs. We are always willing to design a course (or multiple courses) specifically for you!


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.

Safety Tips | Working on a Roof

Safety Tips | Working on a Roof

Did you know that rooftop falls are responsible for a third of fatal construction falls? Rooftop falls can be a “perfect storm” when it comes to falling hazards, because oftentimes they are from a height high enough to cause serious injury, but low enough that you have little time to react or re-position yourself.

Rooftop falls happen too often, and when they do, they are incredibly dangerous. But the good news is, rooftop falls are easily avoided with proper understanding of hazards and how to combat them.

4 Most Common Rooftop Hazards

Canada’s Occupational Health & Safety Magazine defines the following as the most common hazards you will face when working on a rooftop.

1. Unsecured Access Points

Did you know that many rooftop accidents and injuries don’t occur on the rooftop at all, but happen while accessing it? Proper training on ladder and climbing safety is an extremely important part of rooftop safety. Accidents can happen on the way up and on the way down, so always make sure you’re properly secured and taking the right steps, even when the day is over and you’re excited to get down and head home. And remember, ALWAYS ensure your equipment used to access the roof is properly stabilized and the roof itself is inspected and safe.

2. Roof Construction and Equipment

The roof itself and how it is built can also present a hazard. Things like pipes and vents installed on the roof can be tripping hazards or may stang your gear or tools. Roofs may also have variable heights, soft spots, cracks or loose material that can cause you to lose your footing. Because of this, it’s extremely important to always be aware of your surroundings when working on a roof. A helpful tip is to always make sure your footing is firm before actually shifting your weight – Take the time you need to slowly and safely travel while on a rooftop.

3. Obstructed Views and Poor Edge Awareness

When working on a rooftop, always keep the edge location in the back of your mind. Try to avoid the edge being out of your line of vision as much as possible, and when working in areas that block your view of the edge, be aware and proceed with extra caution. If you’re working in a darker environment, proper lighting must be used to provide a brightly lit workspace. Far too often workers approach the edge without realizing or assume the edge is much farther away than it actually is – Even if you think you have more then enough space, it can creep up on you faster then you think!

4. Structural failure

As we mentioned in #1, it’s important that rooftops be inspected before workers access it, but unfortunately, this doesn’t always eliminate all of the risk. Damage to a roof may not always be obvious, and sometimes you’re the guy being called in to fix the damage, so you can’t avoid it. The best way to keep yourself safe in these situations is to test the strength of the roof before you progress. All rooftop workers should receive training on what to do if they feel the roof begins to fail beneath them. If you question the strength or structural integrity of the roof at all, do not proceed.

But That’s Not All…

By keeping these hazards in mind and doing everything you can to combat them, many rooftop injuries can be avoided. But of course, preventing fall hazards is only one aspect of protecting yourself and your employees. Proper fall protection gear is the other very large aspect of rooftop safety. Fall protection is necessary because no matter how careful you are, accidents can ALWAYS happen, and when they do, your fall protection gear will reduce the amount of damage that will occur, should a fall happen.

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 are required. That’s where things like roofers kits and other fall protection equipment come into play. Roofers kits are a great tool for general fall protection while working on a roof, because it provides you with everything you need to safely secure yourself. But, Hercules SLR offers a wide range of fall protection equipment and our experts would be happy to set you up with the right equipment based on your needs – All it takes is a quick phone call or email!

And remember, it’s not good enough just to throw on the required minimum fall protection equipment and call it a day – It’s important the equipment be used properly.

Check out this video for a quick reminder on how to secure yourself to a roof:


No amount of safety tips will ever replace proper training! The Hercules Training Academy offers a Fall Protection course that provides students with the fundamental knowledge of working at heights safely. This program meets and exceeds the local regulations, industry standards, and the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Get in contact now to bring your safety to the next level while working on a roof (or at any height!)

CONTENT 
  • Regulations
  • Hazard assessments
  • Pre-use inspections
  • Calculating fall distance
  • Donning a harness
  • Selecting fall protection equipment
  • Fall protection plans and procedures
  • Selecting anchor points
  • Ladders
  • Elevated Work Platforms
  • Suspension trauma
FORMAT 

The program is a combination of theory and demonstration. Students are evaluated by means of a written test. Upon successful completion of the program, a certificate will be issued.

CERTIFICATION VALIDITY 

3 Years

DURATION

1 Day

LOCATION

Training is delivered at the Hercules Training Academy or can also be delivered on-site.

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.

Fall for Safety | Tips for Autumn Yard Maintenance

Fall for Safety: Tips for Autumn Yard Maintenance

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

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

Leaf Removal

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

Safety Tips for Raking

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

Leaf Blowing Safety

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

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

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

Gutter Cleaning

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

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

Ladder Safety Quick Tips

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

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

Trimming Branches

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

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

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

Set-up

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

Operation

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

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

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.

Inspection Notice: MSA PFL/SRL Rivets—2.4m & 2.7 m V-Edge™ Cable PFL , 6m V-Edge™ Cable SRL

industrial workers wearing msa safety ppe

Inspection Notice: MSA PFL/SRL Rivets  

MSA is issuing an Inspection Notice to inform you they have identified isolated instances of unflared top eyelet rivets in MSA V-Edge 2.4m Twin Leg Cable PFL. MSA has not received any reports of injuries associated with this condition.  However, we are requesting that you perform the inspection outlined in this notice.

An unflared top eyelet rivet may eventually begin to dislodge from the PFL. If the rivet begins to dislodge from the PFL, the PFL may not arrest a fall.

In a review of all riveted connections on PFLs and SRLs, MSA has identified that the field inspections in the following table are to be performed.

Product (See Appendix A* for Part Number list)

Rivet(s) to Inspect (See “Inspection Instructions” section for inspection details) Number of Rivets per PFL/SRL Assembly (See Appendix B* for Figures showing Rivet Locations)  
2.4m V-Edge Twin Leg Cable PFL Top Eyelet 2  
2.4m V-Edge Twin Leg Cable PFL Casing 8  
2.4m V-Edge Single Leg Cable PFL Top Eyelet 1  
2.4m V-Edge Single Leg Cable PFL Casing 4  
2.7m V-Edge Twin Leg Cable PFL Top Eyelet 2  
2.7m V-Edge Twin Leg Cable PFL Casing 8  
2.7m V-Edge Single Leg Cable PFL Top Eyelet 1  
2.7m V-Edge Single Leg Cable PFL Casing 4  
6m V-Edge Cable SRL Shock Pack 2  

* Appendix A and Appendix B can be found in the attached Inspection Notice.

MSA is committed to safety and quality and has implemented increased inspection and quality controls to prevent this condition in the future.

MSA is advising all customers to inspect the rivets listed in Table 1.  Inspect per the Instructions in this Notice.  Remove from service any PFL or SRL that does not pass the inspection.

Inspection Instructions

Perform the following inspection to determine whether your PFL or SRL needs to be taken out of service.  Please reference Appendix B in the attached Inspection Notice for assistance in locating each type of rivet.

Top Eyelet Rivets

  1. Place the PFL on a flat surface so that there is not a load on the top eyelet rivet.
  2. Attempt to remove the top eyelet rivet from the eyelet by pushing the rivet.
  3. Attempt to remove the top eyelet rivet from the eyelet by pulling on the rivet.

Casing Rivets

  1. Hold or suspend the PFL such it does not make contact with a surface that would prevent movement of the casing rivets.
  2. Attempt to remove the casing rivets by pushing the rivets.
  3. Attempt to remove the casing rivets by pulling on the rivets.

Shock Pack Rivets

  1. Hold the SRL shock pack such that the shock pack does not make contact with a surface that would prevent movement of the shock pack rivets.
  2. Attempt to remove the shock pack rivets by pushing the rivets.
  3. Attempt to remove the shock pack rivets by pulling on the rivets.

Some small back and forth movement of the rivets is to be expected while pushing or pulling. If any of the rivets are able to be removed from the PFL/SRL, remove the PFL/SRL from service.

Note: If there is a green dot on your PFL/SRL box label or there is a green dot on the end of your rivets, it has already been inspected by MSA and has been determined to be acceptable. No further inspection on your part is necessary.

Replacing Affected PFLs and SRLs

If there is any question about the results of the inspection, remove the PFL/SRL from service and contact Hercules SLR for a replacement PFL and/or SRL.


HERCULES SLR PROVIDES MAINTENANCE, INSPECTIONS & REPAIRS FOR RIGGING EQUIPMENT

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

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

Why confined space training?

Why confined space training? 

Why confined space training? Taking training courses before you enter, exit or work around a confined space has many benefits—The main benefit is having the knowledge to keep yourself and others safe.

Why is training to enter a confined space so important? What’s so deadly about a confined space that’s different from other types of dangerous, hazardous workplaces?

A lot, actually.

We’ve talked about the dangers of confined spaces on the Hercules SLR blog before—But why should you train for them? You’re about to find out.

In this blog, we’ll cover:

  • What is confined space training?
  • Why is confined space training important?
  • What are the OSHA/CCOHS standards for confined space training?
  • How often is confined space training required?
  • What are the four main dangers of a confined space?
  • Who can enter a confined space?
  • Confined spaces & restricted spaces—What’s the difference?

WHAT IS CONFINED SPACE TRAINING?

Confined space training involves teaching workers who work in or around confined spaces the hazards, risks and dangers involved with them. It’s important that even people who aren’t planning to enter the space are trained on proper confined space entry and exit, since nearly 60% of confined space deaths happen to people who try to rescue others.

What’s the difference between a hazard and a risk?

WHY IS CONFINED SPACE TRAINING IMPORTANT?

Why confined space training? Confined space training is important because it helps workers and nearby personnel manage risk associated with work in confined spaces, which in-turn, helps reduce injuries & fatalities. How can you know what to do, look for and how to rescue yourself and others if no one tells you?

This is where confined space training comes in.

Like we mention in the paragraph above, almost 60% of confined space deaths happen to people who try to rescue those who are trapped or in danger—But there are other reasons why training to work in or around a confined space is absolutely necessary.

Many hazards found in confined spaces are found in other, open work spaces, but become more dangerous, or even deadly when you encounter them in confined spaces.

This is because there’s little room for error for work in a confined space. Physical hazards are more dangerous in a confined space, materials & chemicals can interact unpredictably and of course, they’re harder to get in and out of.

Some of these include:

  • Low air quality: Low, or poor air quality might happen from a toxic substance in the air (see ‘Aspyxiant hazards’ below) or from a lack of oxygen, and/or natural ventilation.
  • Asphyxiant hazards: These are gases that become concentrated in a confined space and displace oxygen in the air, which leads to nausea, convulsion, coma, and eventually, this atmosphere becomes fatal. Asphyxiants are gases like argon, nitrogen and/or carbon monoxide.
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals.
  • Fire hazards, like chemicals that could ignite if a spark is used in the space.
  • Physical hazards like noise, extreme heat or cold, radiation, vehicle & pedestrian traffic and even poor visibility.

All of these hazards are amplified when you work in a confined space. We can’t stress the speed at which these hazards become fatal. Picture this:

You’re working on a water waste lift station (which controls waste water/sewage travel). Your co-worker has descended into a confined space to diagnose an issue, but the diagnosis should have been complete long ago—As in 45 minutes ago. “I’m gonna go check on him,” your co-worker shouts to you. Before you can tell him to stop, he enters the confined space. You call 911—Neither can be revived. Your co-worker who simply went to check on someone died instantly. You will never underestimate just how fast a confined space can take a life again. 

We don’t mean to be obscene, but this is a reality than unfortunately, happens more than it should, even with all  the knowledge available on confined space entry & exit. Hazards found in typical workplaces become much more hazardous when they’re confined, which is just one reason why confined space training is so important.

WHAT ARE THE REGULATIONS FOR CONFINED SPACE TRAINING?

In Canada, provincial standards regarding confined space differ. Your organization may have also have requirements for confined space work specific to them, so take these as a general guideline.

There is some legislation that involves training and confined spaces in Canada—The Canadian Occupational Health & Safety Standard 11.5 on emergency procedures says:

  1. Where conditions in a confined space or the nature of the work to be performed in a confined space is such that the specifications set out in paragraph 1.4(1)(a) cannot be compiled with during all times that a person is in the confined space, the employer shall

a) In consultation with the work place committee or the health and safety representative, establish emergency procedures to be followed in the event of an accident or other emergency in or near the confined space, which procedures shall specify the date on which they are established and provide for the immediate evacuation of the confined space when

i) an alarm is activated, or

ii) there is any significant change in a concentration or percentage referred to in paragraph 11.4(1)(a) that would adversely affect the health or safety of a person in the confined space.

b) provide the protection equipment referred to in paragraphs 11.3(b), (c) and (d) for each person who is about to enter the confined space;

c) Ensure that a qualified person trained in the entry and emergency procedures established pursuant to paragraph 11.3(a) and paragraph (a) is

i) in attendance outside the confined space, and

ii) in communication with the person inside the confined space;

d) Provide the qualified person referred to in paragraph (c) with a suitable alarm device for summoning assistance; and

e) Ensure that two or more persons are in the immediate vicinity of the confined space to assist in the event of an accident or other emergency.

2. One of the persons referred to in paragraph (1)(e) shall

a) Is attached to a secure anchor outside the confined space,

b) be the holder of a basic first aid certificate; and

c) be provided with the protection equipment and emergency equipment referred to in paragraph 11.3(d).

3. The employer shall ensure that every person entering, exiting, or occupying a confined space referred to in subsection (1) wears an appropriate safety harness that is securely attached to a lifeline that

a) is attached to a secure anchor outside the confined space;

b) is controlled by the qualified person referred to in paragraph (1)(c);

c) protects the person from the hazard for which it is provided and does not itself create a hazard; and

d) is, where reasonably practicable, equipped with a mechanical lifting device.

HOW OFTEN IS CONFINED SPACE TRAINING NEEDED?

Anyone who is about to work in or around confined spaces should receive training—It’s often beneficial to train new employees on specific confined space entry, exit and rescue procedures for your organization even if they have training from previous work, since practices may be different.

Confined space training should also be held when policies or regulations change. Training should also be held if policies and procedures are ignored. As we know, this can be deadly.

The Canadian Occupational Health & Safety Standard 11.11 states:

  1. The employer shall provide every employee who is likely to enter a confined space with instruction and training in,

a) the procedures established pursuant to paragraphs 11.3(a) and 11.5(1)(a); and

b) The use of the protection equipment referred to in paragraphs 11.3(b), (c) and (d).

2. The employer shall ensure that no person enters a confined space unless the person is instructed in,

a) the procedures to be followed in accordance with paragraphs 11.3(a) and 11.5(1)(a); and

b) The use of the protection equipment referred to in paragraphs 11.3(b), (c) and (d).

WHAT ARE THE 4 MAIN DANGERS OF WORK IN A CONFINED SPACE?

We’ve covered some of the main hazards to look for in a confined space, but as we know, they are magnified in a confined space—So it’s worth going over again.

The four main dangers of work in a confined space are: 4 main confined space hazards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT ARE SOME TYPES OF CONFINED SPACES? 

It’s easy to think of confined spaces as work spaces that you descend (go down) to, but confined spaces can be nearly anywhere, above or below ground.

So, why confined space training? Because it’s likely many workers in industrial jobs will work in one of these spaces at least once.

By definition, a confined space:

  • Is not meant to be occupied by humans (Especially long-term)
  • Has limited entries and/or exits, or a layout that could hinder emergency responders, or movement from humans or machines.
  • Represents a risk to health & safety because of:
    • The design, construction, location or atmosphere of the space
    • Materials or substances found/used in the space
    • Any other conditions that contribute to safety risk or hazards.

Types of confined spaces include:

  • Sub-cellars
  • Tanks
  • Culverts
  • Silos
  • Vaults
  • Open Ditch

why confined space training is important

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


FOR RELATED READING, CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

TIPS FOR TAGLINES | TRAINING TUESDAY

STUCK IN A TIGHT SPOT? WHAT TO KNOW IN A CONFINED SPACE

CONFINED SPACES: CHOOSE THE BEST FALL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT


STAY SAFE IN & AROUND CONFINED SPACES.

GIVE US A CALL, DROP US A LINE OR COME ON IN TO LEARN ABOUT UPCOMING CONFINED SPACE TRAINING COURSES AT THE HERCULES TRAINING ACADEMY:

TRAINING@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

Confined Space Hazards | Training Tuesday

man entering confined space

4 CONFINED SPACE HAZARDS | TRAINING TUESDAY

Welcome to Training Tuesday! This week, the focus is on confined space hazards and the top 5 hazards you should know about before you enter, exit, or just work around them.  

This article will cover

  • How to define a confined space 
  • 4 specific confined space hazards 
  • What needs to happen before you enter a confined space 

We’ve covered what a confined space is on the blog before—But what specific hazards should you be on the lookout for?

Confined spaces pose hazards by their very definition—The Canadian Occupational Safety and Health Regulations define a confined space as ‘a partially or enclosed space, that may become hazardous to an employee who enters it due to’: 

  • Its design, construction, location or atmosphere 
  • The materials or substances in it, or
  • Any other conditions relating to it. 

4 CONFINED SPACE HAZARDS

When investigating accidents that occur in confined spaces, reports show they occur because worker’s aren’t well-trained or informed on the potential hazards when they enter confined spaces.

Oxygen deficiency causes about 50% of confined space deaths, and often, no testing is done before these accidents. Over 50% of confined space deaths are from rescue attempts by other workers. 

Four specific hazards workers face in confined spaces are: 

  1. Oxygen deficiency and oxygen enrichment
  2. Fire and/or explosion
  3. Toxicity
  4. Drowning in liquids and/or entrapment in free-flowing solids. 

Why are these things so hazardous in confined spaces? Read on to find out. 

CONFINED SPACE HAZARDS | OXYGEN DEFICIENCY—AND THE OPPOSITE

Lack of oxygen is the first hazard facing workers who must enter a confined space. Before entry (and if your risk assessment calls for it) you must test the space for oxygen with an oxygen monitor. You may also need to test the air while you work in the space.

Oxygen deficiency is caused by:

  1. Gases like nitrogen that displace flammable gases   
  2. Oxygen is taken by: 
  • Combustion of flammable substances, like in-welding and other ‘hot work’ 
  • Explosions or fires (Oxygen levels can be dangerously low after a fire is out, since oxygen replaces the products of combustion) 
  • Chemical reactions like metal rust
  • People who work in the space and use available oxygen as they breathe 

Normal air has 21% oxygen by volume—These are the effects of reduced oxygen levels: 

  • 16% Oxygen: Judgement and breathing become impaired—You become quickly exhausted
  • 12% Oxygen: Worker becomes unconscious, and will die unless taken to fresh air
  • 6% Oxygen: Breathing difficulty—This level of oxygen is fatal immediately 

OXYGEN ENRICHMENT—THE OPPOSITE

Too much oxygen is just as bad as not enough oxygen. An oxygen-enriched atmosphere has more than 23% oxygen by volume. 

What’s the risk of too much oxygen? Flammable materials like clothing and hair will burn immediately. Do not use pure oxygen to ventilate a confined space—This is a fire and explosion hazard.  

CONFINED SPACE HAZARDS FIRE AND EXPLOSION

Combustible gases have an explosive range with a lower explosive limit (LEL), and an upper explosive limit (UEL). If the fuel and air mixture is below the LEL or over the UEL, ignition won’t take place—Gas is combustible between its LEL or UEL. 

What else contributes to explosions or fires?

  • Chemicals
  • Poor ventilation 
  • Static electricity 
  • Machinery 

WHAT’S HOT WORK? 

Hot work is considered work that can produce an ignition. It’s important to 

Hot work can be:

  • Welding
  • Cutting
  • Grinding
  • Work with non-explosion proof electrical equipment 

Before you perform hot work in a confined space, you should:

  • Purge/ventilate the area to reduce combustible concentration of airborne dust or mist to a safe level 
  • If ventilation or purging can’t reduce combustible dust, the space must be made inert—This is done by adding an inert gas to alter oxygen levels. The space must be monitored continuously to make sure the atmosphere stays inert. 
  • Wear proper respiratory personal protective equipment, and have the right gear on-hand to rescue or let nearby personnel enter (Like we mention, over 50% of confined space deaths happen to people who try to rescue others, so this is very important). 
  • Make sure the space is purged and consistently ventilated to maintain an atmosphere of less than 5% the LEL
  • Make sure the space is purged and consistently ventilated to maintain an oxygen concentration under 23% 
  • Continuously monitor atmosphere levels in the space
  • Have an entry permit that includes provisions for hot work and includes the appropriate measures to take. 

CONFINED SPACE HAZARDS TOXICITY

There are two huge risks posed by toxic gas in confined spaces. 

  • Chemical asphyxiation 
  • Irritation to respiratory system, skin or eyes 

Especially harmful toxic gases include: 

  • Hydrogen sulphide (H2S): Hydrogen sulphide is a by-product of sewage treatment, petroleum and other industrial processes. Hydrogen sulphide is particularly dangerous as it has a noticeable smell in small concentrations, but hydrogen sulphide gas takes away your sense of smell too, which can make a worker think they’re safe or the smell has dissipated, when in reality, it still lurks. It’s important to note that hydrogen sulphide collects in low areas since it’s heavier than air. 
  • Methane (CH4): Highly explosive. Methane is a by-product of sewage that leaks from gas lines, and can be found in coal mines. Methane displaces oxygen, which can smother workers.  
  • Sulphur dioxide (SO2): Colourless with a strong smell, sulphur dioxide is poisonous in small amounts. 
  • Carbon monoxide (CO): Colourless, odourless, tasteless and fatal in very small concentrations. It comes from incomplete combustion. Being overexposed to carbon monoxide can cause ears to ring, nausea, headache and sleepiness. 

TEST CAREFULLY FOR TOXICITY BEFORE PERSONNEL ENTERS A CONFINED SPACE.

CONFINED SPACE HAZARDS | DROWNING IN LIQUIDS AND/OR ENTRAPMENT IN FREE-FLOWING SOLIDS 

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but in confined spaces where liquids or flowing solids are present (and they often are) there’s always risk of these substances drowning, suffocation, burns or other injuries.

Some of these substances include: 

  • Water (in a tank, for example) 
  • Grain (in a silo) 
  • Materials, like soil, that fall into an excavation or trench 

AVOID CONFINED SPACE HAZARDS—DO THIS BEFORE YOU ENTER: 

Before a worker enters a confined space, these steps must be followed: 

1) Identify the confined space 
2) A plan for entry and work is in place
3) Training is given to all employees who work in or near the space
4) Entrant training
5) Attendant training
6) Training in the use of Personal Protective Equipment
7) Provide the PPE
8) Air Monitoring Protocols, which include possible purging or inerting of the space and then ventilation

HERE ARE SOME MORE TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU ENTER OR WORK IN A CONFINED SPACE:

worker descends into confined space

GOOD RULE TO FOLLOW: IF YOU CAN’T TEST, IF YOU CAN’T VENTILATE, IF YOU DON’T HAVE BREATHING APPARATUS, IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN ENTRY PROCEDURE DON’T GO IN. 


VISIT OUR BLOG FOR RELATED READING:

CONFINED SPACES: HERCULES’ SAFETY TIPS

STUCK IN A TIGHT SPOT? WHAT TO KNOW IN A CONFINED SPACE

CONFINED SPACE: RESCUE & RETRIEVAL—3M GUEST BLOG


NEED A LIFT? HERCULES SLR PROVIDES WIRE ROPE SLING INSPECTIONS & REPAIRS 

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


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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

IMPORTANT | Inspection Notice – 3M™ DBI-SALA® ExoFit NEX™ Harnesses

3m dbi-sala and protecta logo

3M Fall Protection Logo

 

 

3M INSPECTION NOTICE

Read on for an important 3M Fall Protection inspection notice – 3M Fall Protection has learned of the possibility of a manufacturing defect in a dorsal d-ring of ExoFit NEX™ harnesses manufactured between January 2016 and December 2018. Although there have been no reported incidents involving this condition, a dorsal d-ring with this defect will not support the load in a fall arrest event which could result in serious injury or death. Harnesses manufactured only within this date range require immediate inspection for lot number 09P1 stamped into a dorsal d-ring. We believe that only one harness was manufactured with a defective D-ring, but we urge inspection of all potentially affected harnesses out of an abundance of caution in the interests of worker safety.

End Users: Upon receipt of this inspection Notice, immediately inspect your harness following the steps below:

3M INSPECTION NOTICE STEP 1: Locate the label pack on the harness to identify the manufacturing date. If the harness has a manufacturing date of 16/01 (2016, January) through the end of 18/12 (2018, December), continue to step 2. If the harness is not in this range, the unit is not impacted by this notice. If the harness is within this date range, continue to step 2.

3M INSPECTION NOTICE STEP 2: Locate the D-ring on the back of the harness to inspect for a stamped lot date of 09P1. If you find a D-ring with code 09P1 and the harness has a manufactured date within the affected date range, take the harness out of service immediately. If the D-ring is not stamped with code 09P1, you may continue using your harness.

Please note that both the manufactured date range (2016, January through 2018, December) on the harness label AND the lot number code 09P1 stamped on the D-ring must be present on the same harness for the harness to be considered suspect and removed from service. All other harness/d-ring combinations are acceptable for use.

End-users: If you find an affected harness, take the unit out of service immediately. You can contact us at 3M Customer Service at 1833-998-2243 or at 3MCAFPServiceAction@mmm.com to return your harness and a replacement harness will be provided free of charge.

Distributors: Please contact our Customer Service department at 1-833-998-2243 or email at 3MCAFPServiceAction@mmm.com to obtain a listing of harnesses sold to you with the affected manufacturing date range. If after inspection you discover you have an affected product in stock, please return the harnesses to 3M Fall Protection immediately for replacement. Please immediately forward this Inspection Notice to any of your customers who have purchased ExoFit NEX product within the affected manufacturing date range from you and provide any assistance requested by your customers to complete the process.

3M remains committed to providing quality products and services to our customers. We apologize for any inconvenience that this situation may cause you or your customers. We appreciate your continued support of 3M Fall Protection products and services.


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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 Believe Us—Just Watch: Book your 3M Fall Protection Demo

3m fall protection gear for tools

NEW! 3M Fall Protection Demo Bag 

Hercules SLR knows the value of fall prevention—That’s why we’ve put together kits with some of our favourite 3M fall protection gear to show you the difference it makes. 

3M FALL PROTECTION | WHY IS FALL PREVENTION IMPORTANT? 

In Canada, every year over 14,000 workers are injured due to falls and over 27,000 workers are injured due to dropped objects like hammers, cell phones and work-radios—These are just the recorded incidents. 

Fall protection for all kinds of workers should include the right kind of PPE for the kind of work you do, but prevention plans, rescue & retrieval plans and tool fall protection equipment, plans and risk assessment measures. 

3M FALL PROTECTION FOR TOOLS | STOP THE DROP

It can be easy to underestimate the impact of slips and falls—It can be even easier to underestimate the impact of dropped tools and equipment, so it’s important to take preventative steps to eliminate the risk of injury. 

Often, tools fall from heights due to poor risk assessment & planning, human error, poorly stored tools and fixtures & fittings on-site that have failed. Since tools are often dropped by accident, focus should be on preventing these incidents from happening at all.

Tool fall protection normally focuses on secondary protective measures, like safety nets and toe boards, but it’s rare that tool fall protection plans employ a primary system to prevent drops. These precautions are often taken after an accident or injury occurs. 

WHAT KIND OF DAMAGE DOES A DROPPED TOOL DO? 

There are two main kinds of incidents when tools fall—These are direct impact and deflection. Direct impact injuries happen when the dropped object hits you directly on the head, and deflection happens when the tool bounces off another surface and strikes you. 

Let’s imagine a scenario—You’re working at heights, 200-feet (or 6-metres) above ground on scaffolding. You stop to check something, when your foot nudges the tape measure and it slides out and falls to the ground. 200-feet below. Even though the tape measure only weighs about 1.5lbs, it hits with a force of 3,750lbs. To put that in perspective, a hippo’s average weight is 3,300-4000lbs. 

This happened to a worker in New Jersey, who was delivering sheet metal to a work site when he was killed by a falling tape measure. Falling objects pose risk to the worker who drops it too, since the knee-jerk reaction is often to reach out and try to catch it which could cause you to slip and fall. 

Fall protection protects you from falls, while tool fall protection is designed to save others. We’ve covered comfortable fall protection equipment on the blog before and that it’s important to remember a safety harness isn’t a one-size fits all solution. Tool fall protection is the same.

Many workers find tool fall protection distractive and obtrusive—This is why it’s important to select a drop prevention system that’s comfortable and reasonable for workers to use. 

WHAT SHOULD MY PLAN INCLUDE? 

Your fall prevention plan should consider and plan to account for: 

  • Tool size & fit
  • Tool form & function
  • Attachment points for each tool (great starting point for tool protection) 
  • Drop-tests with attachment points, before used on the worksite 

3M FALL PROTECTION DEMO BAG | WHAT’S INSIDE?

3M fall protection, protecta vest-style harness at hercules securing, lifting and rigging
The 3M Protecta® Vest-Style Harness has back D-rings, tongue-buckle rings and pass-thru chest connections that give maximum comfort and protection.

 

3m protecta rebel SRL
The Protecta® Rebel Self-Retracting Lifeline (SRL, web) is compact, lightweight and has a swiveling anchorage with self-locking snap-hooks and fast-acting speed-sending brake system. It also has thermoplastic housing for extra agility and protection.
 
3m fall protection shock-absorbing lanyard
The 3M Twin-Leg Shock-Absorbing Lanyard has double-leg loops for 100% tie-off with convenient snap-hook and flat, steel rebar hooks at leg ends to keep you balanced in case you fall. 
3m fall protection dbi-sala harness
The 3M DBI-SALA® Vest-Style Harness has back D-ring and tongue-buckle leg straps, quick-connect and pass-through buckles with detachable shoulder padding that give ultimate comfort. It has an industrial-strength magnet that secures your items, even when tipped upside down.
 

3M SAFE BUCKET

3m fall protection demo safe bucket

The 3M safe bucket is your best friend for preventing dropped tools. 

The 3M Safe Bucket (100lb Load Rated Drawstring Canvas) includes: 

  • Adjustable Radio Holster (1500089)
  • Hard Hat Tether (1500178) 
  • Tool Lanyard, Coil Ether, 5lb. (2.3kg) capacity—Single-leg with self-locking carabiner with hooks at both ends. (1500063)
  • Python Canvas pouch (1500119) 

3M FALL PROTECTION DEMO BAG | BOOK YOUR DEMO NOW 

What’s a Fall Protection Demo, you ask? Book a fall protection demo with your local Hercules SLR branch and a representative will: 

  • Share the features & benefits of the 3M Fall Protection Demo Bag Products 
  • Show you how to use the tool fall protection attachment points 
  • Discuss your unique PPE needs based on your employees and type of work 

BOOK YOUR FALL PROTECTION DEMO NOW

SHOW & TELL ISN’T JUST FOR KIDS—HERCULES SLR WILL SHOW YOU HOW 3M EQUIPMENT  WORKS AND KEEP YOU SAFE

INFO@HERCULESSLR.COM 1-877-461-4877


FOR RELATED ARTICLES

VISIT OUR BLOG:

DON’T SLIP UP: FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY

HERCULES’ TIPS: IS YOUR SAFETY HARNESS COMFORTABLE?

CONFINED SPACES: CHOOSE THE BEST FALL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT


STAY IN THE LOOP—FOLLOW US

FACEBOOK LINKEDIN TWITTER INSTAGRAM YOUTUBE


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.