Fire Prevention Week: How to Prevent Fires in the Workplace

Fire Prevention Week: How to Prevent Fires in the Workplace

If a fire broke out where you work would you know what to do? Are you aware of your workplace evacuation plan? Are you equipped with the proper knowledge and tools to prevent fires during your work processes? You should know the answers to all these questions.

Preventing fires in the workplace isn’t just about safety, it’s a smart business move. It’s costly enough to run a business in today’s world, and nobody wants to see their profits go up in flames. Every year, workplace fires cause injury and property loss, both of which you can avoid by having the right fire prevention protocols in place.

In recognition of fire prevention week (Sunday, October 6-Saturday, October 12), we’re going to go over some of the most important aspects of workplace fire prevention. Interested in learning more? Read on!

Fire Safety Plans

The best way to be prepared for anything, especially emergency situations, is to have an established plan. Once an emergency hits, like a fire breaking out in your workplace, it’s extremely hard to think clearly. Having a clear plan already laid out makes it so you don’t have to do any rash thinking – You just have to follow the steps laid out for you.

Approved fire safety plans are often required per your local fire code – depending on the building, occupancy rate or industry. If you’re not aware if a fire safety plan is necessary for your organization you can check with your jurisdiction, municipality, or local fire department for more information. However, fire safety plans are a tool you should consider implementing, even if it’s not enforced.

Fire safety plans should be very detailed and outline an evacuation plan, maintenance, housekeeping requirements, and fire control methods. Different jurisdictions may require certain things, and some may provide a standard template or request a certain format – But, in general, a fire safety plan should include:

  • How to sound the alarm
  • How and when to notify the fire department and designated senior staff (all telephones on-site should have the emergency phone numbers listed, as well as the address of the work-site should be posted close by)
  • An evacuation plan
  • How to confine, control and extinguish the fire (if possible)
  • Fire drill procedures as well as how often they will be performed
  • Specialized information for any designated staff given fire safety duties and responsibilities
  • Any staff education and training necessary
  • Detailed maintenance procedures for any fire suppression equipment
  • Operation instructions including the type and location of all fire or emergency systems
  • Alternative (back-up) fire safety measures
  • How to properly allow the fire department access to the building

View Halifax, Nova Scotia’s, fire safety plan template by clicking here if you’d like to see an example. (You may be able to find one for your specific city by doing a quick Google search!)

Adequate Fire Suppression Equipment

Depending on the work environment, you’ll likely need different types of fire suppression. No matter the type(s) of fire suppression equipment used, employees should be trained on its proper use. You should only use fire suppression equipment if you have received proper training. Examples of some of the more typical types of fire suppression/control systems are:

  • Fire sprinklers – These will be activated automatically in the case of a fire
  • Fire exits – Doors with illuminated exit signs show you the best emergency exit route in case of a fire
  • Fire alarm – A device that makes a loud noise to warn people of a fire. Typically there will be devices located near emergency exits that allow you to sound these alarms, or they may automatically sound when a fire is detected.
  • Smoke detector – An alarm that will sound if smoke is detected
  • Standpipe and hose system – These are usually located in the hallway and serve as a pre-formed connection to a water supply (basically, an extension of the fire hydrant system). They are most common in buildings with large floor plans where areas of the space are a great distance from any entrances. These systems should only be used by specially trained personnel.
  • Fire extinguishers – These are usually mounted on the wall near exits or near flammable equipment. Read on to learn more about fire extinguishers! 

Fire Extinguishers

There should be at the very minimum one fire extinguisher for each level of your workspace. If your work environment/building includes a kitchen, workshop, garage or basement, each of these spaces should have its own fire extinguisher.

You should only attempt to use a fire extinguisher if the fire is contained to a single object. Make sure you and everyone else in the building are safe from both the fire and smoke, and that the fire is not blocking your only exit from the building. ALWAYS prioritize your safety and exit the building to wait for professional assistance if you feel you are unable to put the fire out on your own.

How to use a fire extinguisher

It is very important that you are using the correct type of fire extinguisher when attempting to put out a fire. There are five classes of fire extinguishers – A, B, C, D and K – Each class puts out a different type of fire. Evaluate worksites for potential fire hazards and have the correct extinguisher on-hand for the types of materials used.

Fire extinguisher classes:

  • Class A – Ordinary combustibles like wood or paper
  • Class B – Flammable liquids like grease, gasoline, and oil
  • Class C – Electrically energized fires
  • Class D – Flammable metals
  • Class K – Kitchen fires, effective on cooking oils, animal fats, and vegetable oils

You can purchase multipurpose extinguishers that are suitable for more than one class (A-B, B-C or A-B-C). You’ll find a label on the side of fire extinguishers that show which classes it should be used on.

If it is safe to do so, using the correct extinguisher, follow the PASS method to use your extinguisher:

  1. P – Pull the pin, this will break the tamper seal
  2. A – Aim low, pointing the nozzle or hose at the base of the fire. Do not hold by the horn/nozzle because if it is a CO2 extinguisher, it will get very cold and could harm the skin.
  3. S – Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent
  4. S – Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire and fuel source until the fire is out

If you have an issue during any of these steps, do not continue and exit the building immediately.

Proper Handling and Storage of Flammable Materials

Flammable materials include anything that easily or rapidly ignites and burns. Flammable materials are not rare, and many workplaces use at least a few in their everyday operations! Following labels and doing research is the best way to know exactly what within your workplace is flammable, but some examples are:

  • Gases – Natural gas, propane, butane, methane, acetylene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide.
  • Liquids – Gasoline, many solvents such as acetone, alcohol, paint and paint thinner, adhesives, degreasers, certain cleaners, waxes, and polishes.
  • Solids – Some types of coal, pyrophoric metals, solid wastes soaked with flammable liquids, gunpowder, matches

Employers are responsible for developing work procedures for the use and storage of any flammable materials used within your job, and to ensure that all employees are trained on those procedures. These procedures should include:

  • Storage
  • Dispensing
  • Spill clean up
  • Incompatible materials
  • Use and maintenance of any controls used in the workplace such as ventilation
  • Required personal protective equipment (PPE) when using the materials
  • Fire protection and prevention measures
  • An outline of any special circumstances which may require additional precautions or training (e.g. confined spaces)

Storage of Flammable Materials

Flammable materials must not be stored near exits, electrical equipment or heating equipment. They should be separated by type and stored in well-ventilated storage areas, away from any potential sources of ignition.

Always ensure and flammable materials are stored in appropriate containers made for these types of materials. Refer to regulations in your area when transferring materials from the container you purchase it in, as many jurisdictions have specific standards that must be met. Some Fire Codes also include requirements for storage, handling, and maximum amounts of flammable materials permitted in a building.

Always remember to label any portable containers with the necessary information often found on the original container, such as:

  • Container contents
  • If contents are flammable
  • If the container should be kept away from ignition sources (e.g. heat, spark, and open flames)
  • The container should be kept closed when not in use
  • A reference to the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for the product

Handling of Flammable Materials

There are three main ways to prevent fires with handling flammable materials:

  1. Limit the amount of flammable materials
    •  Keep only what is needed on site
    • Purchase only the amount of materials needed
    • Do not allow hazardous waste build-up by removing it on a regular basis
  2. Provide proper ventilation to ensure flammable vapors do not accumulate
    • Install proper ventilation in work and storage spaces
    • Ensure all exhausts lead outside the building and away from any air intakes
    • Maintain ventilation system following any building codes that may apply
  3. Control ignition sources
    • Ground and bond all work and ignition-proof equipment
    • Ensure that there is no smoking in work areas where flammable materials are used or stored
    • Never store flammable materials near hot equipment or open flames
    • Use safe and non-sparking tools

Safe Housekeeping Practices

As with many health and safety precautions, housekeeping can really make or break your efforts. You can have access to the best fire suppression equipment possible, but it won’t do any good if that equipment is hidden behind a stack of improperly stored boxes. As well, clutter is fuel to a fire and can inhibit your access to emergency exits.

Below is a general housekeeping checklist that can be followed to aid in fire prevention. If your workspace includes elements like a full kitchen, laundry facilities, spray finishing services, or large refrigeration units, additional elements will need to be added to your list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to download this checklist as a PDF if you’d like to print and use it for your workplace housekeeping – Or, sign-up here and find more Safety Topics & downloadable content to share at your next Toolbox Talk.

Interested in bringing your workplace safety to the next level? 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. We have Red Cross standard first aid, Red Cross emergency first aid and WHMIS 2015 with GHS just to name a few that may come in handy with your fire prevent measures! You can check out all of our course offerings by clicking here!


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

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

how do i treat heat stroke

Be Cool: How to Beat Extreme Heat at Work

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

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

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

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

WHAT HEAT DOES TO YOUR BODY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Over-exposure to heat can lead to:

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

HEAT STROKE: WHAT EMPLOYERS CAN DO

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

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

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

As an employer, you should provide:

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

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

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

worker sweating in extreme heat

HEAT STROKE: WHAT EMPLOYEES CAN DO

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

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

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

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

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

KNOW THE SIGNS 

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

WORK IN EXTREME TEMPERATURES: LEGISLATION 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TLV® value chart

 

 

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

REST: Sitting

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

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

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

VERY HEAVY: Intense activity at fast to maximum pace.

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

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

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

FOR RELATED READING, CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

WHY CONFINED SPACE TRAINING? 

TRAINING TUESDAY: TOP 4 CONFINED SPACE HAZARDS 

CANNABIS: BEYOND THE CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING


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

INFO@HERCULESSLR.COM1 (877) 461-4876


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

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

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


SOURCES:

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

The Silent Killer: How Carbon Monoxide is Formed

working welding with welders mask

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: The Silent Killer

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

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

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

Carbon monoxide is made when you burn: 

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

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

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

WHAT IS CARBON MONOXIDE?

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

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

OK, SO WHAT IS CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING?

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

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

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

CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING: WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For treatment, they might: 

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

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

Get to know the respirator, here: 

cartoon ppe respirator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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


FOR RELATED READING, CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

WHY CONFINED SPACE TRAINING?

TRAINING TUESDAY | TOP 4 CONFINED SPACE HAZARDS

CANNABIS: BEYOND THE CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING


HERCULES SLR PROVIDES MAINTENANCE, INSPECTIONS & REPAIRS FOR RIGGING EQUIPMENT

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

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

 


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

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

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

Why Chemical Safety is Important | Training Tuesday

why chemical safety is important

WHY CHEMICAL SAFETY IS IMPORTANT 

Why is chemical safety important? Hazardous or toxic chemicals are used in many industrial environments on a daily basis. 

Although chemicals make up the world around us, some can be more harmful than others—This is just one reason why chemical safety is important. 

Read on to learn how toxic chemicals can enter the body, how to identify hazards, some tips for using chemicals safely in the workplace and terms you should know. 

WHY CHEMICAL SAFETY IS IMPORTANT | 4 TYPES OF EXPOSURE

There are four different ways chemicals can enter the body. These are:

  1. Inhalation: Chemicals that take form in gas, vapour or particulates are easily inhaled. These chemicals can absorb into the respiratory tract, and can head into the bloodstream and organs. This is often noted as the most common way the body absorbs harmful chemicals. 
  2. Skin/Eye absorption: Chemical contact with skin can result in mild dermatitis, or a rash. However, chemicals can also be absorbed into the bloodstream this way. Eyes are also sensitive to most chemicals, so safety glasses must be worn when conducting work with chemicals. Another common scenario that causes eye contact to chemicals (especially if not wearing appropriate safety glasses) is wiping or rubbing at your eyes during chemical exposure.   
  3. Ingestion: Like with inhalation or skin/eye absorption, ingestion can cause the toxic chemicals to travel to the organs. When conducting work in areas where ingestion is likely, like confined spaces, it’s important to have an entry & exit plan, and the proper PPE for the job. 
  4. Injection: This doesn’t necessarily mean directly injecting chemicals into your bloodstream, but if you have a cut or other tear in the skin, chemicals can be absorbed this way. 

Chemicals often travel to the respiratory system, but how? The respiratory system has two main parts. These are the upper & lower airway passages. The upper respiratory system consists of the nose, mouth, pharynx & larynx. The lower respiratory system consists of the vocal cords to the trachea, to the end of the bronchial tree. 

It’s important to note that there are different factors that affect how the degree of hazard caused by the chemical. These are: 

  • How it enters the body 
  • How much enters the body 
  • How toxic the chemical is 
  • When/How it’s removed 
  • Biological variation 

WHY CHEMICAL SAFETY IS IMPORTANT | IDENTIFYING HAZARDS

Obviously, chemical exposure in the workplace is unavoidable—But risks and hazards can be managed. 

A risk assessment should be conducted for chemicals, just like is conducted for other workplace hazards.
To identify chemical hazards in the workplace:why is chemical safety important

  • Identify: Determine the chemicals in your workplace and safety hazards that go along with them. For example, if chlorine is used to clean, know that long-term exposure to chlorine can cause nausea & eye discomfort, and have eyewash stations in-place so employees can rinse their eyes if contact occurs. 
  • Assess: Take a look not just at hazardous chemicals in the workplace, but the processes that accompany them.
  • Control: After hazards are identified, put controls in-place to reduce the likelihood of an accident.

WHY CHEMICAL SAFETY IS IMPORTANT | TERMS TO KNOW 

ACUTE TOXICITY (SEE TOXICITY BELOW): Refers to exposure to chemicals that humans aren’t often around, or are in contact with due to an accident. For example, a leak at a plant could cause the locals to experience acute toxicity. Sometimes, effects are immediately felt, and in other cases effects can be delayed. 

BIOLOGICAL VARIATION: Characteristics that might be unique to the individual, like weight, height or sex. 

PARTICULATES: Solids or liquids that are dispersed as gas. Particulates can include dust, mist, fumes or other particles that are found in the space. 

TOXICITY: The measure of how poisonous a chemical is. For example, a chemical with a lower toxicity will need a much higher amount to be harmful than a chemical with a high amount of poison or toxicity. 

WORKPLACE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS INFORMATION SYSTEM (WHMIS): This is Canada’s national workplace hazard communication standard. This elements of WHMIS include hazard classification, cautionary labelling, availability of material safety data sheets and educational programs for employees. 

chemical safety

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


FOR RELATED READING, CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

TRAINING TUESDAY: TAGLINES

 TRAINING TUESDAY | CONFINED SPACE HAZARDS

RIGGING AND LIFTING SLINGS | TRAINING TUESDAY


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

How to Handle a Workplace Emergency

workplace emergency toy responder

How-to Handle a Workplace Emergency

We’ve discussed Emergency Preparedness Week earlier this week on the blog – But what about how to handle a workplace emergency? Emergency Preparedness Week is held for one week each year, and this week it’s May 5-11.

To celebrate, we’re sharing some of our best tips for emergency preparedness. 

Emergencies don’t wait until you’re home. We’ve covered general emergency preparedness, like what your emergency plan & kit should include, and that you should keep a version of both an emergency plan and kit in your workplace. 

It’s smart to be prepared for emergency situations no matter where you are. Many tips for emergency preparedness in the home apply to the workplace, but there are a few other situations and procedures unique to work that are worth being prepared for. (It’s also an essential part of any Occupational Health & Safety program). 

Emergencies you could encounter at work are:

  • Fires/Structural failures 
  • Medical emergencies
  • Attacks (Shootings, active assailants, etc.) 
  • Industrial accidents (Ex. hazardous chemical spills, burns, etc.) 

How can you prepare for emergencies in the workplace? We recommend: 

  • Conduct a workplace risk assessment
  • Hold emergency drills at least once a year 
  • Have an emergency kit in your office or workplace (Consider where the highest risk is, the amount of people and gather materials like blankets, food & water accordingly) 
  • Have a rescue procedure for falls, slips and other accidents relevant that are relevant to your workplace 
Four elements of a workplace emergency management program are:
  1. Prevention: Policies and procedures that minimize emergencies 
  2. Preparation: Hold drills and activities to make sure personnel is familiar with the procedure 
  3. Response: Action to take when emergency occurs 
  4. Recovery: Practices to resume normal business operations 
Here are six steps to plan for a workplace emergency: 
  1. Establish a planning team. The team should include representatives from different departments including senior management. 
  2. Assess the risks and how the company can respond.
  3. Develop an emergency response plan.
  4. Implement the plan—Get supplies, communicate & train others 
  5. Test the plan—Hold drills or exercises 
  6. Improve the plan continuously. Revisit the plan at least once a year.

So, what should you include in step 3? Here are some things you should include in your written workplace emergency response plan: 

  • Scope and outline potential emergencies 
  • Alarms and other methods of initiating a response 
  • Site-specific response procedures 
  • Command structure, roles & responsibilities 
  • How to shut down power & relevant machinery 
  • How to evacuate the premises
  • Communication systems and protocols 
  • Emergency contact lists 
  • Resource list 

Extra Workplace Emergency Tips  

  • Hold random emergency drills now and then—It can be worthwhile to show employees what a perceived threat is like, and how to ‘jump into action’ when you’re unprepared, and the hazard or incident is unplanned. 
  • Don’t forget about visitors—If you have customers, clients or other personnel that are likely to be in the workplace, don’t forget to include provisions for them in your plan 
  • Have accessible emergency information available—Having accessible emergency information includes posters and training videos 

We hope this gives you an idea of what to include in your workplace emergency plan. This is a loose guideline for handling workplace emergencies, as we mention at the beginning of the article it’s wise to prepare for emergencies that are relevant to your workplace—For example, if you work at heights often, an emergency plan for workers who have arrested a fall will be a necessary emergency plan to have. 


DEALING WITH A WORKPLACE EMERGENCY? CHECK OUT THESE BLOGS: 

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

NATIONAL EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS WEEK | WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW


HERCULES SLR PROVIDES REPAIRS, INSPECTIONS & MAINTENANCE FOR RIGGING EQUIPMENT

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

Don’t Slip Up: Fall Protection Glossary

fall protection glossary

Sometimes you just want a quick, simple definition without all the fluff, so we’ve created a fall protection glossary that does just that.

Do you use a fall arrest system? If you work at 10-feet or higher, you need it – no ifs, ands or buts. Fall protection is a combined system of plans and equipment workers use to protect themselves and their tools from slips or falls, prevent them happening in the first place and minimize worksite risk. 

Read on to discover our fall protection glossary, and stay up-to-date on important safety terms. 

Like our fall protection glossary? Check out our Rigging Glossaries One and Two, and our guide to Rigging Slang.

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: A 

ANCHORAGE

A way to securely attach your fall arrest system to the rest of your equipment. 

ANCHORAGE CONNECTOR

A piece that connects and secures your fall arrest, prevention or protection system so it can withstand the forces of work and a potential fall. 

ATTACHMENT POINTS

Loops or d-rings that connect to the body, and allow the worker to attach other components of a fall protection system to it. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: B

BODY HARNESS 

A full-body harness is used to protect workers it does this by distributing the fall’s force throughout the entire body, and ensures the worker’s body remains upright, even after a fall occurs. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: C

CCOHS

The Candian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety is a federal department corporation, and Canada’s national resource for workplace health & safety information. They promote the well-being – physical, psychosocial and mental health – of Canadians by providing information, training, education, management systems and solutions that support health, safety and wellness programs.

CONFINED SPACE

A confined space is an (often enclosed) area not meant for long-term human occupation, with limited exits and entries. Although these spaces are not usually built for humans, work needs to be done there – Some examples of these confined spaces include sewers, aircraft wing (a great example of a confined space that’s not necessarily enclosed), tanks and silos. 

CONNECTOR

A piece of small equipment, or accessory that’s used to connect parts of a personal fall arrest system – These range from individual components, like a carabiner, or those of a larger system, like a d-ring on an absorbing lanyard.

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: Dfall protection glossary by hercules slr

DBI-SALA

DBI-SALA® products are trusted for the past 75 years, to help them get the job done well and get home safely. DBI-SALA® delivers fall protection solutions that enable workers to do their best work safely and comfortably. 

DECELERATION DEVICE

Any device used to slow a fall, or absorb energy to lessen the impact of a fall.

DECELERATION DISTANCE

The additional distance between the location of an employee’s attachment point when the fall occurs, between the attachment point’s location when the worker’s fall stops.

DEFLECTION

What tools do when dropped from heights – dropped objects don’t fall straight down, they tend to deflect in another direction (and can often harm innocent bystanders metres away, who are unrelated to the worksite).

D-RING (ATTACHMENT POINT)

An attachment point (can be on the front or back) that lets a worker connect pther components to their fall protection system, like a lifeline or deceleration device. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: F

FALL ARREST 

Fall arrest is the range of fall protection that focuses on the safety of a person who has already fell. 

FALL DISTANCE

Fall distance, or free-fall distance is the term given to the vertical displacement of the fall arrest attachment point on the worker’s fall protection equipment. 

FALL PROTECTION

Refers to the systems and equipment that keep workers safe at heights.

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: H

HOLSTERS

Attachment for tool belt to prevent dropping tools when working at heights.

HORIZONTAL LIFELINE

A line held by anchorages, and lets worker attach a lanyard, SRL or other component for horizontal travel. These can be configured to arrest a fall, or for total restraint.

HAZARDS

Any object, situation or act that could cause injury, ill-health or damage workers, the property and the environment – These aren’t always readily apparent, but many hazards can be managed or minimized. There are many different types of hazards, including:

  • Ergonomic
  • Physical
  • Mechanical
  • Chemical
  • Biological 
  • Psychosocial 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: I

IMPACT RESISTANCE

This is an object’s ability to withstand strong forces or shock applied  for example, a worker’s safety harness and lanyard must be able to withstand the wear and tear that regular work gives.

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: K

KARABINER

A connector (see below), or coupling link used to secure ropes, harnesses or other components of a fall arrest system. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: L

LADDER

Device used to extend a worker’s reach and work at heights. Commonly-used across a variety of industries to ascend and descend. 

LANYARD

A lanyard is a connection point to your harness, and can be constructed of rope, webbing or cable.  

LEADING EDGE

A leading edge is an under-construction and unprotected side of a surface (think a roof). Its location normally changes as work changes. Leading edges are normally sharp, abrasive and present hazards that you can minimize with fall protection. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: O

OSHA

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is a regulating US agency who’s responsible to make sure workplaces are safe, and work within the necessary regulations and safety standards.

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: P

PROTECTA

Protecta® Brand has comfortable features and fit, like shoulder pads, moisture-wicking back pads, and foam hip pads with mesh for extra breathability. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: R

RESCUE / RESCUE PLAN

Retrieval plan for worker’s at heights or in confined spaces – a rescue plan is an essential part of any fall prevention plan. 

RISK MANAGEMENT

Risk is present at nearly every jobsite, and risk management refers to the act of minimizing and managing those risks so hazards, injuries, fatalities and high financial consequences are prevented.

ROPE GRAB

A rope grab attaches to a safety harness, and typically is less costly than an SRL. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: S

SAFETY HARNESS

A safety harness (also see body harness) is used to protect a worker if they fall while working at height, or in a confined space by catching them as they fall. 

SHOCK-ABSORBER

Webbing device used to extend or lessen forces on the worker if a fall occurs.

SELF-RETRACTING LIFELINE/LANYARD

A self-retracting lifeline, or SRL is a deceleration device with a spring-loaded cable or line that will brake the worker if a fall occurs. They typically are a longer length, and are best applied when a standard shock-absorbing lanyard would not be able to stop the fall in time. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: T

TOTAL RESTRAINT

Refers to the control of a worker’s movement by the connection to an anchorage and restrictive equipment that doesn’t adjust, so a worker is completely stopped when a fall occurs. 


PAY ATTENTION TO FALL PREVENTION!

FIND MORE INFORMATION ON FALL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT, HOW TO CALCULATE FALL DISTANCE AND MORE ON OUR FAVOURITE SAFETY PRODUCTS FROM BRANDS LIKE 3M, MSA SAFETY AND HONEYWELL-MILLER BELOW.

3M DBI-SALA®

3M DBI-SALA® HARNESSES & LANYARDS

HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT HARNESS


FOR MORE ON FALL PROTECTION,

CHECK OUT OUR BLOG:

SAFETY INSPECTION: MAKE YOUR HARNESS A HABIT

CONFINED SPACES: CHOOSE THE BEST FALL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT

FALL ARREST SYSTEM: DON’T FOOL WITH YOUR TOOLS


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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.