Fall for Safety: Tips for Autumn Yard Maintenance

Fall for Safety: Tips for Autumn Yard Maintenance

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

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

Leaf Removal

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

Safety Tips for Raking

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

Leaf Blowing Safety

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

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

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

Gutter Cleaning

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

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

Ladder Safety Quick Tips

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

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

Trimming Branches

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

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

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

Set-up

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

Operation

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

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

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.

10 Safety Tips Every Chainsaw User Should Know

10 Safety Tips Every Chainsaw User Should Know

Chainsaws are very commonly used and effective tools. When it comes to cutting through though materials in a hurry, nothing beats the power of a chainsaw. Chainsaws are used in many industries, and in ones like forestry, they are likely used daily by workers. Even outside the workplace, chainsaws are an easily accessible tool for the average person trying to prepare firewood for their home.

However, with great power comes great responsibility. Chainsaws are not a tool you should just bring home, unbox and start using without any experience. Even for the pros, don’t allow yourself to become overly comfortable with chainsaws – they are a tool that if used incorrectly, could result in serious injury.

The best way to ensure you are using a chainsaw correctly and safely is to take a chainsaw safety course. This is just one of many courses offered at the Hercules Training Academy! Learn more about the course by clicking here.

In this blog, we’ll go over some general safety tips that could prevent injuries when operating a chainsaw. Consider this the ‘sprinkles on top’ of an already established trained knowledge on the tool, so remember, Nobody wants a big bowl of just sprinkles—Get trained!

General Chainsaw Safety 

  1. Read the manufacturer owner’s manual carefully. Every chainsaw is different so don’t assume you can skip this step if you’ve used a chainsaw before.
  2. Review health and safety legislation on chainsaw operation in your area. Some jurisdictions have certain requirements when operating a chainsaw, including different types of PPE like cut-resistant footwear or leg guards.
  3. Inspect your chainsaw before starting. Ensure that all safety features are working and the chain is tight on the guide bar.
  4. Understand your limits. If you’re an at-home chainsaw user, don’t let your ego get in that way of calling a professional for a job that seems out of your depth. And, if you are a professional, don’t be afraid to request extra assistance for large jobs, and don’t allow yourself to be pressured to speed through a job to meet a too-tight deadline.
  5. Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Always wear the following PPE:
    • Eye Protection – Safety glasses with side shields, safety goggles, and face shields approved by CAN/CSA Standard z94.3-15: Eye and Face Protectors.
    • Gloves and Mitts – Leather gloves with ballistic nylon reinforcement on the back offer the best grip on the saw and absorbs some vibration which provides protection to the hands. Leather gloves also prevent cuts when sharpening the saw.
    • Foot Protection – Heavy, well-fitted, safety work boots approved by CAN/CSA Standard z195-14 (R2019): Protective Footwear. In addition to the regular required safety boots, chain saw operators should consider wearing boots made from cut-resistant materials that offer protection from contact with running chain saws (this is required in some jurisdictions).
    • Head Protection – A hard hat in a highly visible color, approved by CSA Standard Z94.1-15: Industrial Protective Headwear. 
    • Leg Protection – Pants or chaps with sewn-in ballistic nylon pads, preferably ones that extend to the beltline rather than ones that stop at the upper thigh as they provide extra protection. All clothing worn while operating a chainsaw should be well-fitted, without cuffs, and made of close-woven fabrics.
    • Fall Protection – If working at a height (necessary if above 10ft), fall protection equipment like body belts, harnesses and lanyards should be used. Need fall protective equipment? We’ve got you covered!
  6. Do not cut alone. Always have someone nearby if something goes wrong. If you have a team working spread out on a project, ensure everyone knows where everyone else is and who’s closest to them if they need to reach out for help.
  7. Be aware of your surroundings. Only operate a chainsaw outside or in a well-ventilated area. Be aware of weather conditions, terrain, wildlife, buildings, power lines, vehicles, and other people.
  8. Only operate saws when you are well-rested. Fatigue causes carelessness—If using a chainsaw on the job, be extra cautious before breaks and at the end of your shift.
  9. Don’t use a chainsaw on a ladder or climb a tree with your chainsaw if not professionally trained to do so. Consider buying a pole saw if you’re trying to complete jobs like trimming high-up branches.
  10. Ask questions, be safe. If you have any doubts about doing the job safely, seek out the proper protocol before continuing. Varying safety procedures may be necessary or required depending on the job at hand (e.g. working at a height, or presence of trip, slip, snag or fall hazards). You should also have a first aid kit nearby at all times when operating a chainsaw.

Just as a bit of a bonus, we broke down some do’s and don’ts when cutting with a chainsaw and tips to fuel up! Hopefully these coupled with our off the chain training course will have you equipped with all the knowledge you need to get the job done well, and most importantly, safe.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cutting With a Chainsaw

DO

  • Plan each job before you start. If you’re unsure what to do next, turn off your chainsaw and come up with a plan before continuing.
  • Hold and carry the chainsaw by its front handle, with the muffler away from your body and the guard bar pointing behind you.
  • Use the correct saw—Proper weight, power and bar length should match the job at hand.
  • Operate the chain saw in a firm two-handed grip with fingers and thumb surrounding the handles. Always keep both feet firmly positioned.
  • Maintain full power throughout the entire cut.
  • Ensure the chain does not move when the chain saw is idling.
  • Keep your saw clean- free of sawdust, dirt, and oil.

DON’T

  • Start a chainsaw when it is resting against any part of your body.
  • Stand directly behind the saw.
  • Leave a saw running unattended.
  • Carry a chainsaw while it’s running.
  • Make contact with the muffler—This may cause serious skin burns.
  • Cut with the nose or tip of your chainsaw – this will cause kickback and can lead to serious injury.

Tips for Fueling a Chainsaw

  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions for what oil/gas mixture should be used for your specific model.
  • Only use safety containers for storing and dispensing fuel.
  • Do not refuel a running or hot saw – always allow it to cool down before refueling.
  • Ensure you are at least 3 meters (10 ft) from sources of ignition before dispensing fuel. Do not smoke or be around smokers while refueling. 
  • Use a funnel or spout for pouring and wipe away any spills.
  • Mix fuel in a well-ventilated area and keep a well-maintained fire extinguisher nearby.

Remember, the best way to ensure you are using a chainsaw correctly and safely is to take a chainsaw safety course. 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. Learn more about the Chainsaw Safety course 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 Westray Bill & Weed: What you Need to Know About Bill C-45

You may be familiar with Bill C-45, otherwise known as the Cannabis Act, a piece of legislation that legalized weed throughout Canada – but what does this mean for the workplace?

Read on to learn more about Bill C-45, what it means for employers, employees & organizations and how to stay compliant & safe at work.

BILL C-45: WHAT IS IT?

Bill C-45, also known as the Westray Bill, was legislation enacted as law to Canada’s Criminal Code in 2004. Bill C-45 was created following the Westray Mining tragedy, where 26 miners died due to preventable, unsafe work conditions. In a report made after the tragedy, the owner of the mine, Curragh Resources, safety inspectors and even politicians’ were found to all have some sort of responsibility for the tragedy.

This legislation aimed to create legal responsibility for companies regarding workplace health and safety. It detailed rules to attribute criminal liability to organizations, and those who direct the work of others, like supervisors, managers, or anyone else with the responsibility of directing/supervising others. This specification is made because sometimes, a job title doesn’t specify whether they are responsible to manage others and assign responsibilities & duties.

The 2004 bill amended the criminal code to place responsibility on organizations and others responsible. Sections 217.1, 22.1 and 22.2 were added. These sections state:

217.1

217.1—Everyone who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task.”

22.1

22.1—In respect of an offence that requires the prosecution to prove negligence, an organization is a party to the offence if (a) acting within the scope of their authority, (i) one of its representatives is a party to the offence, or (ii) two or more of its representatives engage in conduct, whether by act or omission, such that, if it had been the conduct of only one representative, that representative would have been a party to the offence; and (b) the senior officer who is responsible for the aspect of the organization’s activities that is relevant to the offence departs – or the senior officers, collectively, depart – markedly from the standard of care that, in the circumstances, could reasonably be expected to prevent a representative of the organization from being a party to the offence.

22.2

22.2—In respect of an offence that requires the prosecution to prove fault — other than negligence — an organization is a party to the offence if, with the intent at least in part to benefit the organization, one of its senior officers (a) acting within the scope of their authority, is a party to the offence; (b) having the mental state required to be a party to the offence and acting within the scope of their authority, directs the work of other representatives of the organization so that they do the act or make the omission specified in the offence; or (c) knowing that a representative of the organization is or is about to be a party to the offence, does not take all reasonable measures to stop them from being a party to the offence.”

BILL C-45: THE CANNABIS ACT 

In 2017, the cannabis act was proposed as part of Bill C-45 and was introduced to Parliament in April, 2017. Marijuana was legalized for recreational use throughout Canada in October 2018 – with this, of course, comes potential safety issues for both employers and employees.

BILL C-45: WEED IN THE WORKPLACE

There are limited studies about how weed impacts those in the workplace (for obvious reasons) – however, there are quite a few well-known side effects that generally, will impact the way you work. Symptoms of marijuana use include:

  • Dizziness, drowsiness, feeling faint or light-headed, fatigue, headache(s)
  • Impaired memory and disturbances in attention, concentration and ability to think and make decisions
  • Disorientation, confusion, feeling drunk, feeling abnormal or having abnormal thoughts, feeling “too high”, feelings of unreality, feeling an extreme slowing of time
  • Suspiciousness, nervousness, episodes of anxiety that resemble a panic attack, paranoia (loss of contact with reality), hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that don’t exist)
  • Impairment of motor skills and perception, altered bodily perceptions, losing control of bodily movements, falls
  • Dry mouth, throat irritation, coughing
  • Worsening of seizures
  • Hypersensitivity (worsening of dermatitis or hives)
  • Higher or lower blood levels of certain medications
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Fast heartbeat

Overall, Health Canada (2016) says about cannabis-use, “Using cannabis or any cannabis product can impair your concentration, your ability to think and make decisions, and your reaction time and coordination. This can affect your motor skills, including your ability to drive. It can also increase anxiety and cause panic attacks, and in some cases cause paranoia and hallucinations.

You should not be impaired at work under any circumstances – but particularly if you work in an industry that relies strongly on safety standards, or risk & hazard assessment to keep yourself and others safe. As we mentioned in the list above, marijuana can impair your ability to think clearly and your motor-skill ability & agility. Its effects can last up to 24-hours.

BILL C-45: HOW TO STAY COMPLIANT

FOR EMPLOYERS 

As Bill C-45 states, employers in Canada have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment for employees and take reasonable measures to protect the health and safety of workers. Employers must show due diligence by creating safety precautions before an accident occurs – not after. How does an employer do this?

Well, there are many factors to consider when it comes to workplace safety and both employers and employees play a role to make it happen. Here are easy steps you can take to stay compliant, and have transparent communication with staff about weed at work:

  • Does your organization have an EFAP (Employee & Family Assistance Program) in place? Typically, this gives employees a private, confidential place to ask questions about the resources available to help with issues like stress, depression and addiction. They will often, at no charge to the employee, tell you what kind of services are available to deal with these issues, and if your employee benefits will help you access them.

FOR EMPLOYEES

Employees have a responsibility to show up ready to work and keep themselves, and others safe – employees must work sober, alert and take measures to not be fatigued, all of which increase the risk of injury.


Have questions about our workplace safety? Hercules SLR will lift you there.

Click here to learn more about safety training courses at Hercules SLR.

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

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

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.