Rigging Throughout History: How the Hoover Dam was Built

Rigging Throughout History: The Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam (originally known as the Boulder Dam) is one of American’s most famous landmarks—An engineering marvel of it’s time, that still remains one of the largest and most impressive dams to ever be created.

When the construction of the Hoover Dam was complete in March of 1936, it was the heaviest and tallest dam to exist, surpassing the next in line, The Arrowrock Dam, by double the height and triple the width.

This is impressive in any decade, right? Absolutely! But before we had the technology we have today that makes huge construction projects like these much easier, and more importantly, much safer, this feat was even more notable.

Read on to find out how, and why!

The Hoover Dam: It Begins

hoover dam inspection party 1931
An inspection party near the proposed site of the dam in the Black Canyon on the Colorado River.

The Hoover Dam was created to solve two different problems. If you’re not familiar, the Hoover Dam is located on the border of Nevada and Arizona, in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. Prior to construction in 1931, the Colorado River would flood every spring, and often destroyed villages and crops along its path. This was one reason to create the dam, because water would be more controlled and displaced in calculated locations. Then, of course, the second reason is why most things get created—Income generation.

How does the Hoover Dam work? As water flows through large pipes inside the dam, turbines rotate, which then spins a series of magnets, past copper coils and a generator to produce electricity. This electricity helps support Nevada, California, and Arizona still, to this day!

As we mentioned before, this was not (and still isn’t) a simple task. Even today this wouldn’t be a construction project to scoff at, so you can imagine how difficult it was in 1931.

The Hoover Dam is 726.4 feet tall from the foundation of rock at the bottom to the roadway that runs along the top, and is constructed from 3.4 Million cubic meters of concrete. And if that’s not daunting enough, it was constructed in the middle of the desert, which at the time had no local workforce, no infrastructure, or transportation. The closest access to civilization was 30 miles away in Las Vegas, which had a railroad. This railroad became their one and only access point to bring in workers, materials, and supplies.

The construction of the Hoover Dam happened in the middle of the great depression, so despite it being in the middle of nowhere, it didn’t take long to get the workforce they needed. Within 3 weeks of the project being announced, the closest employment office in Las Vegas had received 12,000 applications for work. This wasn’t going to be easy work, but it was a stable income—Something many people at the time didn’t have.

black and white frank crowe hoover dam engineer
Frank Crowe.

Unfortunately, this made exploiting workers easy—If a worker wasn’t able or comfortable doing a task, they would simply be sent away and replaced with one of thousands of other men who’d happily step into the job.

An engineer named Frank Crowe was in the charge of the project, and had 7 years to complete it. If the project wasn’t complete within this timeline, there would be an approximate $3,000 a day financial penalty. Crowe was prepared to complete the project by any means necessary, and even earned the nickname ‘Hurry-Up Crowe’ for his constant efforts to ensure the project was unfolding on-time and on-budget.

A rushed project focused on speed above all else, is often not a safe project—And the Hoover Dam is a perfect example of this.

The Hoover Dam: Phase One

Allow me to set the scene for you—Thousands of untrained workers, in the middle of the desert, during one of the hottest summers on record (temperatures peaking at 49°C), faced with the monumental task of diverting one of America’s most powerful, dominating and unpredictable rivers—Sounds like a perfect storm…right?

In order to create a construction site in the riverbed, four diversion tunnels were driven through the canyon walls, two on the Nevada side and two on the Arizona side. These tunnels were 56 ft (17 m) in diameter and had a combined length of nearly 16,000 ft, or more than 3 miles (5 km). They also had to be sturdy enough to handle the powerful Colorado river, which meant about 850-cubic metrics of water a second.

The process of creating these tunnels involved  drilling holes into the rock, then packing the holes with dynamite. In 1931, this work was traditionally very slow and tedious, with each hole being drilled out individually with a simple drill or jackhammer. But, with a tight deadline in mind, Frank Crowe came up with a faster solution. Specialized 10-ton trucks were brought in that would each have 50 men on board, running 24-30 drills at one time. These trucks would be backed up along the walls of the tunnel, and half of the wall would be able to be drilled at a time. With 8 of these trucks and 500 drills, they were able to create the tunnels in record time. and 10 months ahead of schedule.

But, this did not come without consequence. Temperatures within the tunnels could reach upwards of 60°C, and the only solution presented for this was a team of people they called the “ice brigades” who would go into the tunnels to bring out exhausted workers to plunge them into ice water. Fourteen men died of heat exhaustion alone during the construction of the tunnels.

And the hazards don’t stop there – Many other workers were hospitalized or killed due to carbon monoxide poisoning because the tunnels didn’t have the proper ventilation to support the steady stream of trucks going in and out. Many of these deaths were reported as a pneumonia outbreak, according to doctors at the time, but it’s widely believed that it was misrepresented by the construction company to avoid paying death compensation.

The Hoover Dam: Phase 2

hoover dam high scaler 1931
One of the Hoover Dam “High Scalers”.

After the tunnels were complete, cofferdams (small enclosures so the water can drain) made from materials extracted from the tunnels were put in place, and water was drained from the construction site. In order for the dam to rest on solid rock, accumulated erosion soils and other loose materials in the riverbed had to be removed. Since the dam is an arch-gravity type, the side-walls of the canyon bear weight from the dam as well, so the side-walls also had to be excavated.

The team that performed these side-wall excavations was called “high scalers” and they would work suspended from the top of the canyon with ropes (NOT proper fall protection equipment) and would climb down the canyon walls removing any loose rock with jackhammers and dynamite. Falling objects were the number one cause of death on the dam site, with high scalers often being the victims of this hazard.

To protect themselves against falling objects, some high scalers took cloth hats and dipped them in tar, allowing them to harden. When workers wearing such headgear were struck hard enough to inflict broken jaws, they sustained no skull damage.

These hats went on to be called “hard boiled hats” and companies began ordering the hats and encouraging their use—One of the first versions of the modern hard hat (but not NEARLY as safe, so don’t get any ideas about dipping old hats in tar…please, buy a certified hard hat!)

The Hoover Dam: Phase 3

Once excavations were complete, the concrete staring pouring in, 6,600,000 tons of it to be exact. You may notice a squared pattern along the side of the Hoover Dam, and that’s because it’s made of a series of blocks of concrete—Not a large pour. This is because if they attempted to pour out the Hoover Dam in one continuous piece, it would still be drying today!

LEFT, A bucket holding 18 tons of concrete is maneuvered into positions. RIGHT, Concrete lowered into place.

When the ingredients of concrete are combined (cement, aggregate & water), they trigger a chemical reaction. This reaction generates internal heat, and slows down the curing process—The larger the pour, the longer it takes to harden. A series of interlocking blocks allows the concrete to harden in a more reasonable time-frame.

But there was also the opposite problem—Liquid concrete could harden too fast when attempting to transport it to the top of the dam, where the blocks were being formed, because of the intense desert heat.

To solve this problem, Frank Crowe designed an elaborate network of overhead cables and pullies that would move across the construction site carrying buckets of concrete. This was one of the largest rigging systems to ever be used on a construction site at the time! But I think it’s safe to say it probably wouldn’t pass a modern inspection (definitely not from our LEEA certified technicians)—So don’t start taking any notes!

The Hoover Dam: Lessons Learned

The Hoover Dam project was complete in 1936, 2 years quicker then the original timeline suggests. During construction, 112 people died.

Back in 1931, it wasn’t that uncommon to have a high fatality rate on construction sites. Some of that was because they didn’t have access to the technology we have today (or at least not as good quality), like fall protection equipment or modern hard hats, and other personal protective equipment (PPU). Some of it was also due to the fact that employers were not held accountable to ensure they weren’t putting their workers into unsafe working conditions – Like using the proper equipment and ensuring it’s been inspected and in full working order.

Construction is a dangerous industry, even today, but that doesn’t mean we should ever accept fatalities or even injuries. It’s not 1931 anymore—Employers and construction workers have the responsibility and the right to be able to perform their jobs safely. Now we DO have access to the proper means necessary to create a safe work environment, so there’s no excuse not to be using them.


LOOKING TO BRING YOUR WORKPLACE SAFETY TO THE NEXT LEVEL? CALL US FOR A QUOTE—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.

April 28, Day of Mourning: Fight for the Living, Mourn for the Dead

blue, white and yellow hard hats for day of mourning

APRIL 28, DAY OF MOURNING | ABOUT

Every year in Canada, April 28 is the Day of Mourning. This is to commemorate workers who have lost their life, been injured or made ill at work.

The Day of Mourning has grown to include more than 120 countries around the world. In many of these places, it’s known as the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, or Worker’s Memorial Day. 

The purpose of this day is to not only remember and honour those lost to workplace accidents, but to inform and educate workers about workplace accidents and talk about how we can prevent these tragedies. 

APRIL 28, DAY OF MOURNING | FAST FACTS ON WORKPLACE INJURY

  • In 1984, the Canadian Labour congress created the National Day of Mourning in Canada 
  • In 1991, the Parliament of Canada passed the Workers Mourning Day Act to recognize April 28 as an official date of mourning 
  • Young worker’s aged 18-24 are most likely to be injured on the job. 
  • In 2017, 951 workplace fatalities were recorded in Canada—46 more than 2016. 23 of these deaths were workers aged 15-24. 
  • 251,508 accepted claims from workplace injury (An increase of 10,000 accepted claims from 2016) for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease. 
  • Canadian flags on Parliament fly at half-mast 
  • To show respect for others who have lost their life, people wear yellow ribbons, black, light candles and/or observe a moment of silence at 11am. 

APRIL 28, DAY OF MOURNING | WHAT YOU CAN DO

On the Day of Mourning, there are a few things you can do at your workplace to commemorate the day, pay respects and commit to safety. Here are a few ideas: 

  • Have a health & safety meeting covering safety-related topics like PPE 
  • Have your team share stories about different safety-related situations or issues they’ve dealt with
  • Brainstorm ideas to make your workplace safer with your team

We remember those who died, were injured or made ill from their work. We commit to protecting workers and preventing further workplace tragedies. 


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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

Why Workplace Culture Matters | #HercAtWork

why workplace culture matters

FUN AT WORK: WHY WORKPLACE CULTURE MATTERS 

Fun at work is important, and this is one of the reasons why workplace culture matters — Seriously. We’ve went over our passion for safety before, but we’re also passionate about fun. 

Why is fun important? Well, an article from Monster states that a focus on happiness at work not only leads to a more positive workforce, but a better bottom-line, too.

Studies found organizations that had fun and were allowed to be silly were linked to higher employee engagement, retention and profitability. Another study completed by the University of Warwick found that happier employees put in more effort, and were more productive by 12%, and in some cases even 20% more productive.  

There are more abstract benefits that show why fun workplace culture matters, too—Workplaces that allow employees to have fun also allow them to be more creative, which often leads to employees to find unique solutions to organizational problems.   

Fun really is a win-win situation for employers, managers and employees. 

workplace culture matters employees dressed up for Halloween at Hercules slr
Some of our staff from ‘Accounts Receivable’ at Head Office having fun on Halloween

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHY WORKPLACE CULTURE MATTERS | HOW HERCULES SLR HAS FUN

Here are just some of the ways we have fun at Hercules SLR: 

  • Contests and incentives for reaching goals, targets & achievements 
  • Social committee with activities like mini golf, axe-throwing and arts & craft nights  
  • Company comraderies
  • Collaborative and upbeat environment 

WHY WORKPLACE CULTURE MATTERS | PERKS OF HERC 

At Hercules SLR, we work hard and take pride in our work, but we know that sometimes it’s nice to sweeten the deal.

Hercules SLR offers: 

  • Fully-equipped break-room with vending machine, complementary coffee & tea and cooking appliances like a grill, toaster & kettle
  • On-the-job training (Videos, manuals, online power-point & resources) 
  • Free parking

WORK WITH HERC

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? 

HR@HERCULESSLR.COM 1-877-461-4876


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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies. We have a unique portfolio of businesses nationally, with locations coast-to-coast. Hercules Group of Companies provides extensive coverage of products and services that support a variety of sectors across Canada which includes the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, mining and marine industries. 

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

We have the ability to provide any hoisting solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876 or email info@herculesslr.com. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.

Under Construction: Building Safety Culture at Hercules SLR

safety culture at hercules slr

Hercules SLR has been building a safety culture for over 45 years—Yes, we literally got here by playing it safe.

When it comes to rigging, Hercules SLR does it all, and we does it safely. How do we build a safety culture? Read on to learn how we make safety cool, (really). 

SAFETY CULTURE | why we’re proud 

We approach safety with everything we do, from how we inspect cranes to how we pull into our parking lot each morning (It’s true, we back in—It’s the safest way).  

It’s important to lead by example. Behaviour-based safety training has long-been used as a framework to build a safety culture. This approach says that human-behaviour is the main cause of workplace accidents, and to prevent workplace accidents, employees should tell supervisors and managers when unsafe behaviours take place, and discipline or reward them—And yes, while human error is up there on the list of reasons why, it’s also been proven that discipline alone and placing blame doesn’t actually make a workplace safer.

It’s much more effective to lead by example, ingrain safety in your daily actions and get feedback from coworkers and employees on the safety culture at your organization. To us, it’s important to know why employees work safe—Why do you want to go home at the end of each day? Whether it’s to spend time with family, play hockey or go ATVing, our safety culture lets us do what we love outside of work. 

SAFETY CULTURE | leading by example

We provide training and on-going learning opportunities for our employees—These include:

  • Support and training for all branches across Canada by our in-house trainer, Lisa Barkhouse  
  • Rich online resource library (powerpoints, manuals & video)
  • Opportunities for external training and certifications 
  • The Hercules Training Academy—our cutting-edge training academy is equipped with a crane that supports 10-tonnes, smaller gantry cranes and materials to lift and rig you’ll actually encounter on-site

Overall, Canadian workplaces lack on-the-job training, and Hercules SLR is passionate about providing on-the-job training. We know it’s important to give our employees the skills they need to be safe.

SAFETY CULTURE | health, safety & life at Hercules SLR

Health and safety go hand-in-hand. How does Hercules SLR make sure we support a healthy lifestyle? We: 

  • Offer incentives for employees to get out and get moving
  • Benefits comparable to industry standards
  • Social outings and team-building activities 

We’re also proud of our diverse workforce. We have staff hailing from China to England—And Canada, of course. 

What else is great about work at Herc? There’s:

  • Strong sense of teamwork 
  • Management team that recognizes individual achievements you reach and exceed
  • Bonuses and sales incentives for our team of Customer Service Representative’s (CSR’s) and salespeople 
  • Exciting growth opportunities for those who are eager to learn—For example, of one our inspectors expressed interest in gaining more certification, and we made it happen for her. 

SAFETY CULTURE | is work at Hercules SLR right for you?

Is #HercAtWork right for you? If you’re:

  • Engaged
  • Motivated
  • A self-advocate
  • Excited to learn

You’ll fit right in. Find information on current career openings below. 


WORK WITH HERC

VIEW & APPLY FOR POSITIONS AT HERCULES SLR BELOW

HR@HERCULESSLR.COM 1-877-461-4876


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MEET YOUR HERCULES SLR INSPECTOR, QUINCY WARNER

MEET QUALITY ASSURANCE & SAFETY SPECIALIST, JAMES GOLEMIC

WELCOME TO HAMILTON, ONTARIO: MEET RIGGER JIM CASE


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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies. We have a unique portfolio of businesses nationally, with locations coast-to-coast. Hercules Group of Companies provides extensive coverage of products and services that support a variety of sectors across Canada which includes the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, mining and marine industries. 

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

We have the ability to provide any hoisting solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876 or email info@herculesslr.com. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.

Suspension Trauma: 3 Must-Know Myths

suspension trauma myths to know

Suspension trauma has a few different names—Harness hang, harness-induced pathology and orthostatic intolerance (the medical term). Consequences can be fatal, and it’s important to be aware of symptoms and ways to prevent its onset.

Suspension trauma has its fair share of misconceptions—One of the biggest is that it’s a myth. 

In this article, we discuss three myths that surround suspension trauma you must know. 

MYTH #1: SUSPENSION TRAUMA ISN’T REAL

It is! Suspension trauma happens when a worker’s movement is vertically suspended, restricted and upright for an extended period of time and lose consciousness.

But why does this happen? Blood pools in the legs and makes them swell, while blood pressure drops. Typically, when orthostatic intolerance sets in the victim faints so blood will re-circulate through the body—A worker in restrictive fall arresting equipment can’t do this. 

It can be minor, too—A common example is people who are still for long periods of time and faint, or feel dizzy when they get up. 

Now, imagine you’ve arrested a fall, don’t have a rescue plan and first responders are still on the way. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and now 25 minutes pass. You know that suspension trauma can set in after just 30 minutes. Time is ticking. You’re covered in sweat, you feel dizzy and terribly nauseous.

Finally, you’re cut down and pass out, unconscious. You’re in the hospital—There’s paperwork, lost-time and incident investigations to happen. Who knew a little slip could cause so much trouble?

Yes, you’re alive, but next time, you’ll definitely have a rescue plan. And suspension trauma is real.

MYTH #2: SAFETY HARNESSES MAKE SUSPENSION TRAUMA EXTINCT

Suspension trauma is still a reality. Yes, education, training and equipment reduce injuries and fatalities in industrial workplaces, but prevention is still a priority. Look at it this way—Vaccines exist for illness like the measles, but people still contract it when they don’t use preventative measures. 

Individual factors increase a worker’s risk to develop the trauma, and its effects are not easy to predict person-to-person. 

These factors include: 

  • Individual’s ability to manage anxiety/stress
  • Harness selection & fit
  • Poor training
  • Previous injury or illness 

This is why training is vital. It’s important to teach employees not only what happens when you use the wrong PPE, but psychological coping mechanisms to help a worker deal with a potential fall. Proper training will also emphasize the importance to continuously move your legs in specific ways to maintain circulation—It’s important The right safety harness and leg straps will allow the worker to move 

MYTH #3:  WHEN THE HARNESS IS OFF, IT’S OVER 

Okay, so when I take the safety harness off I’m fine, right? Wrong.  

Workers in vertical positions must receive medical attention immediately after release. In past suspension trauma cases, victims have died after the harness comes off—This is known as ‘rescue death’.

Some doctors think it’s caused when blood tries to circulate through the body at its normal pace, and can’t. Did you know leg muscles are one of your body’s auxiliary pumps? When legs hang, motionless and upright, it pinches the arteries and blood can’t flow to crucial parts of the body, like the heart and brain. 

  • Leg circulation
  • Heart circulation
  • Brain circulation 

Fortunately, like we mention above, industrial environments benefit with the right personal protective equipment (PPE) and training to prevent suspension trauma. Recorded injuries from suspension trauma are somewhat rare—But training and proper PPE are key to this.

A body harness that doesn’t fit properly, is fit with the wrong accessories or is uncomfortable, does more harm than good. Remember—Suspension trauma does exist, the right safety harness help prevent it and negative effects of suspension trauma can linger after the harness is off. It’s important to train yourself and workers (even those who may not be working at heights) of the risk and procedures to take before, during and after a fall.


START BEING SAFETY SMART

STAY SAFE AT WORK AND LEARN THE SKILLS TO GET THERE AT THE HERCULES TRAINING ACADEMY.

TRAINING@HERCULESSLR.COM 902-468-6827


FOR RELATED ARTICLES

VISIT OUR BLOG:

HERCULES TIPS: IS YOUR SAFETY HARNESS COMFORTABLE

SAFETY INSPECTION: MAKE YOUR HARNESS A HABIT

DON’T SLIP UP: FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY


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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies. We have a unique portfolio of businesses nationally, with locations coast-to-coast. Hercules Group of Companies provides extensive coverage of products and services that support a variety of sectors across Canada which includes the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, mining and marine industries. 

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

We have the ability to provide any hoisting solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876 or email info@herculesslr.com. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.

Workplace Mental Health: How Hercules SLR Supports Staff

workplace mental health at hercules slr

MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE: A HERCULES SLR PRIORITY

Mental health is like a sling. Load a sling beyond capacity, and it breaks. A sling must be maintained to work properly, and mental health in the workplace is similar. 

Mental health in the workplace is just as important as physical health in the workplace. Each day, Canadian workers’ pull on coveralls, get in vehicles and drive to their jobs, even though they’re sick, suffer or struggle with mental illness. Often, a sick day isn’t enough to recover, so it’s important to Hercules SLR to provide employee support.

Mental illness affects approximately 20% of the population – that’s 7.5million Canadians. One of the biggest risk factors related to mental illness in the workplace is psychological support. At Hercules SLR, we take measures to reduce risk factors and support our team so both physical & mental wellness is encouraged. 

MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE: WHY WE DO IT

Why support mental health in the workplace? If those numbers aren’t enough, people with mental illness are less likely to be employed, and each week nearly 175,000 full-time workers miss work because of mental illness. Says Hercules’ HR Generalist, “Hercules SLR understands the importance of mental health in the workplace and strives to promote a supportive environment for employee’s well-being.”

Mental illness is also more likely to surface in times of stress or uncertainty, which is a common part of many jobs. The cost of physical illness versus mental health is significant, too  financially, it costs almost twice as much to take leave for mental illness over physical illness. Not only does it make financial sense, it’s one of our core values. 

“Hercules SLR understands the importance of mental health in the workplace and strives to promote a supportive environment for employee’s well-being.”

MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE: WHAT WE DO & HOW 

A well-rounded, healthy life for employees leads to people who can reach their full potential, and workplace support is a crucial part of this. So, we have a Employee and Family Assistance program (EFAP), that’s free and private for employees to access. It’s not always easy to disclose to an employer that you’re struggling – this allows employees to call anytime and receive guidance, tools and advice for a number of issues that relate to mental health. They offer advice and support for legal issues, nutrition, addiction, workplace conflict, financial issues, relationships, depression, anxiety, anger and life transitions. 

Physical wellness is linked to mental wellness. Poor mental health can make physical conditions worse, and those with poor physical health are at a bigger risk to develop mental health issues. Hercules’ understands this, so we offer an annual financial incentive for employees to purchase something that supports their health, whether it’s a fitness class, gym membership or even a pair of running shoes that encourages you to get outside. 

By giving our employees tools to be more resilient in the face of mental health issues, we improve our overall company culture and give our people an environment where they can thrive. We value mental health, because we value our employees. 


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

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

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.

Get to Know Your Training Specialist – Kevin Giles CRSP

Training -Kevin-Giles

Kevin Giles, CRSP is one of our highly experienced Training Specialists and Safety Consultants. We sat down with him to find out more about him and how he decided to choose training as a career path.

Tell us about your educational background?

Kevin: I’ve always had a passion for the outdoors, so I started my education at the Nova Scotia Community College in the Forestry Program. I went on to further my education at the Maritime Forest Ranger School in Fredericton NB and graduated in in 1997.

During the next 11 years I worked in many different aspects of forestry from privet woodlot management, and saw milling to large scale harvesting operations. In every job I did I always played a strong role in health and safety of the workplace, it became clear to me that this was the area I wanted to concentrate on, and I never turned back.

Training Kevin Giles 2

 

I completed the Health and Safety Professional (HSP) designation and was one of the first people to achieve the designation from the Canadian Association Of Provincial Safety Councils. In 2011 a major highlight of my career was achieving the Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) designation with the Canadian Board of Registered Safety Professionals.

During my 11 years with Hercules I have furthered my education in many areas including; train the trainer programs, Master Rigger, non-destructive testing, and completing 4 diploma programs with the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA). As you can tell I love to grow my knowledge and am highly committed to continuous education, my next goal is to complete the Diploma program in Occupational Health and Safety with the University of New Brunswick, only 3 more courses to go!

What made you decide to go into this industry?

Kevin: As I mentioned the safety industry sort of came to me rather than me seeking it out. With every job I ever had since I was 16 years old I played some kind of role in safety, from being a first aid provider on the ski hills with the Canadian Ski Patrol, to being part of various safety committees, and developing policies and procedures with large industrial forestry operations and sawmills. The rigging industry has given me the opportunity to explore so many aspects of safety I find It amazing to think of.

Can you tell us about your work experience before joining Hercules SLR?

Kevin: Upon graduation from the Maritime Forest Ranger School I worked with the SNB Wood Co-op and the Hants County Woodlot Owners Association helping private woodlot owners manage their woodlots for a verity of forest productivity, environmental, and wildlife goals. This was a very rewarding time and experience in my forestry career.

After 4 years in the privet woodlot industry I moved into several new roles in a more industrial forestry operation with JD Irving ltd., working as harvesting supervisor, planer mill supervisor, and chip plant supervisor. This industrial atmosphere gave me to opportunity to work with contractors, unionized workers, students and many more. Working in these environments which already had a very strong safety culture helped me to build confidence and a broad knowledge base of various safety program elements.

What made you want to transition into training?

Kevin: I’ve always enjoyed helping people and sharing my knowledge whenever I could. I started formally instructing with the Canadian Red Cross first aid programs and have taught for the Canadian Ski Patrol, Saint John Ambulance, Safety Services Nova Scotia, and various employers along the way. I enjoy when I can help a student or coworker have that “lightbulb moment” when everything seems to come together and they get a clear understanding of the topic.

Why did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?

Kevin: When I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in safety the opportunity to Join the Hercules team came available. The timing was right and it was the perfect fit. Having a fulltime safety professional was new for the company and it was new for me. I am very happy to say the company and myself have grown together over the last 11 years to build a strong safety culture.

Where have you traveled during your time as a training specialist for Hercules SLR?

Kevin: The majority of the training that we deliver is based in the maritime provinces, but we are able to deliver training anywhere in Canada.  I’ve delivered training from the coast of NL to the coast of BC and many stops in between, including Ontario, Quebec, PEI, NB and Alberta.

Where have you enjoyed traveling to most for training?

Training Kevin-Giles-3

Kevin: Traveling to different parts of NL over the past few years has been interesting. The people are great, and it has been very interesting to see the change in safety culture since the oil industry has grown so much there. Some of the most memorable places to provide training has been in a federal prison, on various ships, sawmills, and airplane hangars. Sometimes you just don’t know what you are getting into and that is always exciting.

Is there anywhere that you would like to travel to in the future with Hercules SLR?

Kevin: I would really like to travel to the northern parts of Canada maybe up to Yellowknife or somewhere in the North West Territories.

Lastly, is there anything that you hope to accomplish during your career in the industry?

Kevin: I hope to be able to make a great success of our Hercules Training Academy and some day expand the course offerings to include some more of the academic safety programs to help companies build a strong safety culture.

 

Hercules SLR offers a wide array of safety training courses. Alongside our standard courses we can tailor make courses to suit your specific requirements, at our facility or yours. To find out more about our course and how we can help you raise the bar in safety training email us at: training@herculesslr.com

 

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

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

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.