Winter Forklift Safety Tips

Winter Forklift Safety Tips

Hopefully, your car is fully prepared for winter—What about your forklift?

Winter in Canada can be a beautiful thing, fresh layers of glistening white snow coating trees and a shiny layer of frost on the grass…But as Canadian’s we know it’s not always quite that glamorous. Canadian winters require a lot of planning and preparation – It means it’s time to dig the shovels out from the back of the shed, making sure the winter tires get on the car in time and pull the winter coat from the back of the closet.

As good as Canadians have come to be at preparing for winter, there are some things that still may fall through the cracks. You may not realize the extra safety precautions that need to be taken when operating a forklift in the winter.

Read on to learn how to stay safe while operating a forklift this winter!

Prepare Your Forklift for Winter

Forklift operators should give their forklift a detailed inspection to minimize the chance of experiencing a forklift breakdown and getting stuck in the middle of an aggressive winter storm. Getting a tuneup ahead of winter is always recommended. And of course, as always ensure you are up to date on all of your scheduled service visits and inspections. Things to ensure are in tip-top shape before braving the winter months are:

  • Tires: Check tires for proper air pressure (for pneumatic tires) and to ensure that there is sufficient depth on your treads (needed for both solid and air-filled tires). For forklifts operating in snow or ice specialized forklift chains can be installed to provide extra grip
  • Lights: Winter doesn’t just bring cold weather, it also means darker days – So ensuring your lights are in working order is something you may not think of, but is especially important. Tip – If your forklift uses halogen lighting it may be a good time to consider upgrading to LED, which lasts longer, shines brighter and is not affected by freezing temperatures or the vibrations created by your forklift during operation!
  • Hydraulics: Frigid winter temperatures can cause joints to stiffen up so ensure all of your moving parts are well-lubricated.
  • Cabs: If your forklift has an enclosed cab and windshield (recommended for winter conditions), be sure the heater and windshield wipers are working correctly and that all latches are lubricated.
  • Cooling System: It is important to ensure there is the correct amount of anti-freeze used in the coolant system. Anti-freeze ensures that the engine will not freeze solid and block the coolant system, which can lead to a number of problems including dangerous overheating.

It’s also important to remember to allow your forklift to warm up before using it. Everyone knows you’re supposed to let your car warm up during cold weather, a forklift is no different! Allowing it to warm up lessens the chance of combustion and transmission-related problems occurring.

Ensure Forklift Operators are Appropriately Clothed

Pre-winter planning is not limited to the equipment itself, especially for work that takes place outdoors. It’s important to make sure operators are equipped to do the job under more challenging conditions. Clothing needs to be able to protect operators from snow, ice, wet and slippery conditions, cold or strong winds and limited visibility.

To protect the most vulnerable areas of the body against frostbite (i.e., the ears, nose, fingers, and toes) operators need to wear appropriate protective gear including a warm hat, gloves, face mask, and water-proof boots while operating a forklift (or during most work, for that matter!) Layers are the key here, so pairing these items with wind-proof, water-resistant and high visibility outerwear, is the best way to tackle the cold and wet conditions found throughout the winter months.

Always keep in mind typical year-round PPE such as protective eyewear, hard hats, steel-toe boots or safety gloves and ensure bundling up isn’t inhibiting your ability to wear those things. You may need to purchase specialized PPE meant to keep you safe & warm at the same time like NORTH OF 49° gloves.

north of 49 work gloves ppe hand protection safety

Operator Training and Education

Beyond supplying the proper equipment to your employees, it’s essential to educate your operators with the fundamental knowledge and practical skills of operating a forklift. The Hercules SLR Training Academy can deliver this training (and more!) at The Hercules Training Academy or it can also be delivered on-site. The content covers:

  • Regulations
  • Hazard assessment
  • Pre-use inspections
  • Equipment stability
  • Operating principles
  • Refueling
  • Battery care

When it comes to managing the additional challenges posed by the winter weather, these steps can help navigate you through your shift ensuring you’re keeping the most important elements in mind:

Before Your Shift

  • Conduct a proper pre-operation inspection of the forklift. Record and report any issues.
  • Check the weather outside and make sure to adjust driving habits to current weather conditions.
  • Install and check all winter items – Including weatherized PPE and things like tire chains if needed on your forklift.
  • Avoid cold starts by allowing the forklift to properly warm-up before operating.

During Your Shift

  • Only travel as fast as the weather conditions permit – Slow down if needed and drive carefully.
  • Remove any accumulation of snow on windscreens, lights, etc. to maintain proper visibility.
  • Be sure to stop working if conditions deteriorate such as: slippery driving conditions (don’t let this be you!), limited visibility, etc. – Safety first! 
  • Try to avoid short run times (less than 30 minutes) as forklift engines tend to run a richer fuel mixture during the first 20 minutes of operation. This means it is possible for water vapor to accumulate in the engine oil and exhaust system in the cold, as evaporation isn’t possible. Try to plan your day so you can do multiple forklift tasks at once instead of scattered throughout the day.

After Your Shift

  • Clean the forklift – Remove all snow, dirt, and salt in order to prevent rust and corrosion.
  • Make sure to plug in the forklift’s block and/or battery heater to avoid issues at the start of the next shift.
  • Park the forklift in a warm and dry place in between uses to avoid issues related to ice formation.

Click here to view the Forklift Safety Training course overview.

Through our Hercules Training Academy, we offer an extensive suite of high-quality safety training and certification courses. Brand new classrooms and specialized training equipment enable us to provide an even higher quality of service than ever before when it comes to safety training.

Whether you’re looking for initial or refresher training, we provide practical, hands-on courses designed to exceed the minimum safety requirements.

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

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



Safety Gloves | An Important Part of Your PPE


Safety Gloves: An Important Part of Your PPE

What comes to mind when you think of the number one tool you use at work? For many people, the correct answer to this question is right in front of you—Your hands.

You may not consider it, but your hands do a lot throughout the day, and I bet your job would get a whole lot harder without them. But yet, when it comes to assembling your personal protective equipment (PPE), sometimes proper safety gloves don’t make the list. You, like many others, may not understand why protecting your hands is so important, or what type of glove is the right choice for you—Because it’s not just about wearing safety gloves, it’s about wearing the right safety gloves.

Protect your #1 tool, and read on to learn a bit more about why safety gloves are so important, and how to choose the right ones for your work conditions.

The Importance of Wearing Safety Gloves

Not only are your hands one of your most important tools, they are very complex tools that aren’t always easy to fix (as you can imagine, spare parts are hard to track down). If a severe hand injury accrues, you may have to deal with effects like loss of motion, dexterity, and grip for the rest of your life.

But the good news is – Many of these injuries can be prevented by wearing the right safety gloves. Safety glove technology has progressed to include features like being cut-resistant, heat-resistant, anti-impact, anti-vibration, and so much more! You shouldn’t have an issue tracking down a glove that will protect you from any hazards present in your workplace.

What Hazards do Safety Gloves Protect Against?

Chemical and Biohazards – When handling chemicals or biohazards, it can only take one touch to cause a chemical burn or infection. Because of this, you need a glove that forms a complete barrier around your hands. Typical glove materials for chemical protection are latex, nitrile, neoprene, polyvinylchloride, or other polymers – Like the Chemstop™ – Premium Quality PVC Coated Gloves. For chemical mixtures or jobs where multiple hazards are present, it may be necessary to wear gloves that have the highest chemical resistance or in some cases wearing a combination of different types of gloves. Employers should always refer to the chemical’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for selecting the correct glove materials. Need to brush up on your WHMIS knowledge? Check out our WHMIS 2015 with GHS course!

Cuts, Punctures and Abrasion Hazards – It’s fairly common for these types of hazards to be present in the workplace. For these hazards, gloves need to be able to protect your hands from things like abrasive surfaces, wood and metal splinters and injuries associated with cut or scrapes while still providing high levels of dexterity and tactile sensitivity. Typical materials for cut and puncture protection are leather, canvas, cotton, cotton blends or other synthetic materials. Often times additional protection is added by applying various coatings to sections of the glove or by lining the gloves with impact or vibration-dampening gels or pads.

Impact Injuries – If you’re performing tasks like swinging a hammer or lifting heavy objects then you need gloves that protect you from impact injuries. Any job where your hands might be crushed or hit by tools, equipment, or supplies requires reliable, impact-resistant work gloves. Impact-resistant gloves feature a padded outer shell strategically placed to the areas on your hands where impacts are most likely to occur. Gloves like Oilbloc™ Goatskin Kevlar “SUP”® Lined Anti-Impact Driver Gloves allow some of the force of the impact to be absorbed and spread out over a larger surface.

Heat and Arc hazards – These hazards are present in many fields such as welding, glass manufacturing, petrochemical plants, oil fields, and the natural gas industries. Safety gloves that are specifically made to protect your hands against these hazards create a barrier that blocks the heat from reaching your skin. Depending on the temperature, type of heat (e.g. dry, moist, thermal, ambient), and other work factors, a variety of materials are used such as terry cloth or neoprene.

Severe Weather and Extreme Temperatures – If you’re working in a cold outdoor environment or even a cold-storage facility, you need a thermal barrier on your hands to protect them from damage and to maintain your body heat. Don’t be fooled, protecting yourself from extreme cold is just as important as protecting yourself from extreme heat. Cold temperatures can cause temporary or permanent damage to the skin and muscle tissue – The colder it is, the more protection you need. Gloves made to protect your hands from cold temperatures are often made from materials like PVC, nitrile, animal hide, or Thinsulate™ – as used in the North of 49° gloves.

Persistent Vibrations – Persistent vibration can irritate nerves and nerve endings, damage blood vessels, cause long-term joint and muscle pain, and, in extreme cases, even lead to permanent nerve damage such as neuropathy. You may think you only need gloves that help absorb vibrations when using tools that create a dramatic vibrations such as chainsaws or jackhammers, but in reality, even lower level of vibrations found in tools like sanders or grinders should be protected against because you’re more likely to use these tools for an extended period of time, not noticing the damage being done.

How to Choose the Right Type of Safety Glove

As we mentioned before, keeping your hands safe isn’t just about throwing on any glove you can find – It’s important you’re using the right ones. No single type of glove will provide protection against all safety hazards. You should always check with your jurisdiction to see if there are any regulations around hand protection, but in general, employers are tasked with performing a hazard assessment in order to choose the correct gloves to provide to their employees. But remember, your workplace safety should always be something you take into your own hands. If you feel you haven’t been provided with the correct gloves for your job – speak up!

Based on tips from The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), these steps can help you perform your own hazard assessment and consider whether you’re using the correct gloves for your job.

  1. Take time to think through your work tasks and environments so you have an accurate description in your mind (or on paper if that helps you!) of your day to day work.
  2. Identify all hazards that you come in contact with that may require hand protection. This should include any chemicals you come in contact with as well as physical hazards such as abrasions, tearing, puncturing, fire, temperature, and/or biological hazards.
  3. Determine the amount of flexibility and touch sensitivity you need to safely and effectively complete your tasks. This will affect your choice in thickness of glove material as well as if you may need a textured glove made to aid in grip.
  4. Take into considerating the type of contact you’re making with the hazards you’ve identified (e.g. occasional contact, splashing, or continuous immersion). This will affect your choice in an appropriate length of the glove, as well as the type and thickness of glove material, and whether you need lined or unlined gloves.
  5. Take into account any hazards that may be caused by the gloves themselves keeping in mind your other PPE. For example, heat stress, reduced dexterity, rip or tactile functions, poor comfort or contributing to skin conditions. It’s just as important to have a well-fitted, comfortable, and easy to wear pair of gloves. Gloves won’t protect anything if you’re never wearing them because they hurt your hands or make your job harder. 
  6. Consider any decontamination procedures that need to be followed. Will the gloves need to be disposed of or cleaned after use? If they need to be cleaned, consider the cleaning method, how often they can be cleaned, and any special procedures required for disposing of the “decontamination wash waste”.
  7. Ensure you’ve been given the necessary education and training required which includes: what are the hazards of skin contact with the chemical/materials being used, what are the limitations of the gloves, what could happen and what to do if the gloves fail and when to dispose of or to decontaminate gloves.

Working through this list should give you an idea of what you’re looking for in a glove – working from there you can connect with manufacturers to ensure you’re purchasing a glove that fits your perfect criteria. And remember, it’s not just about the safety features – make sure you’re choosing a glove that’s comfortable, so you’re never drawn to leave them on the table – Even once.

Hercules SLR carries a wide variety of protective gloves and equipment to keep your hands safe no matter the task. Choose from a wide selection of gloves along with rubber gloves, hand guards, finger guards, and more. You will even find glove dispensers to keep items organized. Whatever work you do, Hercules SLR has the hand protection products your job requires.


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


Your Hard Hat has an Expiration Date

Yes, Your Hard Hat has an Expiration Date

What do a carton of milk, bread, paint, and your hardhat all have in common? Expiration dates.

Your hard hat is a very important part of your personal protective equipment. They’re the only piece of equipment made to protect you from blows to the head, and shouldn’t just be used in hazardous workplaces with lots of imminent danger—But any job that presents a risk for head injury.

Which injuries are you at risk for when you don’t wear your helmet? Some of the possible injuries that might not cross your mind right away include:

  • Bruises, bumps & cuts that cause physical impact
  • Heatstroke, caused by overexposure UV rays
  • Burns: Nobody wants their hair to catch fire. Your head can get burnt when in contact with molten metal, cutting oxyacetylene, manufacturing metal, machining, welding, or any type of work involving fire or high-heat.
  • Burns, electric shock and electrocution caused by active conductors or electrical loads.



What are the do’s and don’ts of hard hats?


  • Wear the right type of hard hat for the type of work being done.
  • Be mindful of potential electrical issues onsite, and choose your headwear accordingly.
  • If possible, choose a hard hat with a smooth shell as objects will deflect, or slide off them easily—Hard hats with ridges can actually cause your headwear to be knocked over more easily.
  • Select a thick shell (at least 2mm), especially if performing heavy work.
  • Use an adjustable chinstrap, especially if there is a risk of your hard hat falling.
  • Replace your hard hat when signs of scratches, gouges or wear emerge, and if the hard hat has been struck—Even if no signs of wear appear.


  • Wear just any hardhat—They are not created equal.
  • Modify your hard hat (ex. drilling holes). Try to purchase hard hats that have available attachments or accessories for the type of work to be done.
  • Paint the hard hat shell—Paint solvents can make plastic headwear brittle & more likely to crack, and it can even hide cracks that might have developed. Check manufacturer recommendations, which will tell you if and which parts of the helmet you may be able to paint.
  • Use metal labels on G or E class headwear – Metal labels can negatively impact the voltage protection these hard hats provide (learn more about hard hat classes below).


The short answer? Yes. The long answer? Read on…

In Canada, most personal protective equipment (PPE) follows the standards (standard Z94.1, to be exact) set by the CSA (The Canadian Standards Association)—This includes hard hats. There are two types, and three classes for hard hats.

Two hard hat types are:

  • Type 1: Reduces the impact of dropped objects & piercing to head.
  • Type 2: Protects from impact, penetration at the crown (top) and laterally (sides and back).

The CSA identifies three different types of hard hats, which are based on their level of protection and the type of work each is best suited for. These three categories are:

  1. G—General usage: Recommended for nearly every workplace. G-class hard hats protect against impacts and blows, resist voltages up to 2,200 volts.
  2. E—Electrical trades: Designed to resist impact, penetration, and protection against electric shock from high-voltage electrical conductors. In experiments, E-class hard hats resisted up to 20,000 volts from a ground connection. E-class helmets contain no metal and are typically made of high-density polyethylene and polycarbonate, with no holes, fasteners or metal. The E-class helmets’ suspension is made of vinyl, leather and/or nylon and resists electrical shocks. These are suitable for people who work in: transportation (railways, specifically), mining, forestry, manufacturing, construction & industrial trades. An E-class hard hat should be worn anytime work is done near an area that could expose you to active conductors or high-voltage electrical loads.
  3. C—Conducting headwear: Only C-class hard hats are ever made with aluminum, and they have no electrical rating. C-class hard hats aren’t meant to protect from electrical conductors, and may even have ventilation to provide extra comfort and breath-ability.


The reason hard hats expire is pretty simple—They become less effective over time.

Since hard hat manufactures must meet safety standards, they are created to be extremely durable—However, they do not last forever. Depending on your work environment, your hard hat might need to be replaced at different rates.

Things that can affect how long your hard hat will last include:

  •  Sunlight exposure
  •  Temperature extremes
  •  Chemical exposure
  •  Sweat, liquids, and other substances coming in contact with your hard hat
  •  Daily vs. occasional use

The best way to determine if your hard had requires replacement is through daily inspections. These should be performed before each use.

Things to look for in daily inspections:

  •  Cracks, dents or cuts in the hat’s shell
  •  Cracks or tears in the hat’s suspension
  •  Cut or frayed suspension straps
  •  Chalky, dull or crazing pattern on the outer shell – This can be a sign of damage sustained by heat, sunlight or chemical exposer.

Remember, the suspension of your hard hat is actually just as important as the outside (known as the shell). Hard hats have an inner layer that provides shock absorption—Without this, your hard hat can actually do more to damage your head than save it.

If your hard hat is showing signs of any of these things, it should be replaced and disposed of, to avoid further use.


Most hard hats will include manufacturer’s replacement recommendations. For example, 3M hard hats come with a suggestion to replace the hat’s suspension after 12 months of use and the shell every two to five years of use.

Be sure to take note of your hard hat’s replacement recommendations and ensure you are keeping on top of replacing the necessary parts in a timely manner. However, no matter how long in the future the replacement recommendation date is, you must continue to perform inspections before each use, as these recommendations should ONLY be followed if your hard hat shows no sign of expiry before then.

It is very important to remember that if your hard hat sustains an impact of any kind, dispose of it immediately, even if there is no visible damage. Impacts can cause the materials to become weakened, and even if there’s no visible damage, it may no longer be able to provide the same level of protection.

hard hat and safety gloves in toolbox


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

industrial workers wearing msa safety ppe

Inspection Notice: MSA PFL/SRL Rivets  

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

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

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

Product (See Appendix A* for Part Number list)

Rivet(s) to Inspect (See “Inspection Instructions” section for inspection details)Number of Rivets per PFL/SRL Assembly (See Appendix B* for Figures showing Rivet Locations) 
2.4m V-Edge Twin Leg Cable PFLTop Eyelet2 
2.4m V-Edge Twin Leg Cable PFLCasing8 
2.4m V-Edge Single Leg Cable PFLTop Eyelet1 
2.4m V-Edge Single Leg Cable PFLCasing4 
2.7m V-Edge Twin Leg Cable PFLTop Eyelet2 
2.7m V-Edge Twin Leg Cable PFLCasing8 
2.7m V-Edge Single Leg Cable PFLTop Eyelet1 
2.7m V-Edge Single Leg Cable PFLCasing4 
6m V-Edge Cable SRLShock Pack2 

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

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

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

Inspection Instructions

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

Top Eyelet Rivets

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

Casing Rivets

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

Shock Pack Rivets

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

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

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

Replacing Affected PFLs and SRLs

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



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


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

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

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

Why wear safety glasses? | Training Tuesday

why wear safety glasses

Why wear safety glasses?

Why wear safety glasses? Luckily, it’s Training Tuesday at Hercules SLR, where we bring you training tips for rigging, securing, lifting, safety and more each week. 

This week, the focus is on eye safety and why you should wear safety glasses—Even when it seems trivial. 

First of all, why wear safety glasses? Well, even with all we know about the importance of eye safety and the availability of eye glasses, approximately 700 eye injuries happen to Canadian workers each day, and each year about 720,000 eye injuries occur at work and home—According to the Workplace Safety & Prevention Services, nearly 90% of these injuries are preventable. One in four people who sustain eye injuries must take time off school or work. 

So, why don’t workers wear safety glasses? There are a few reasons. For every 5 workers injured, 3 were not wearing eye protection. 

Common excuses for not wearing eye protection include: 

  • Don’t fit comfortably over their prescription glasses 
  • They don’t fit well, slip, are tight, etc. 
  • Think the rule doesn’t really apply to them or is unnecessary 

Yes, these issues can make PPE uncomfortable, but are easily remedied to give you comfort and safety. Low-cost, scratch-resistant prescription safety glasses or lens-covers are available. Yes, it’s important to wear a pair of comfortable glasses, and safety glasses are available in a variety of styles and fits so everyone can find a style that suits their needs. As far as being unnecessary, if there’s a rule in place that states you should wear safety glasses—You should.

Even if you’re just doing what seems like ‘a quick job’, accidents and injuries also happen quickly. 

So, why wear safety glasses?

Well, safety glasses are a defense against hazards at work that could injure your eyes (or other body parts, for that matter). 

safety glasses statistics























Some of these hazards include: 

  • Dust, dirt and other debris 
  • Chemicals, like irritants and corrosives 
  • UV radiation from electrical or welding work 
  • Flying particles from cutting, drilling, digging, etc. 
  • Tree branches or other obstacles faced when working at heights or in natural environments 

Safety glasses are a great step to take to reduce these hazards, and eliminate eye injuries. In addition to safety glasses, employers and workers should take these additional steps to reduce, or eliminate hazards and prevent injury—To reduce eye-related hazards in general: 

  • Use protective screens/side shields with your safety glasses as needed to prevent particles from falling into eyes. 
  • Try to enclose sources of irritants (Gases, fumes, dusts, etc.) 
  • Isolate hazards whenever possible (EX. Keep equipment, like table saws, away from high-traffic areas or from workers who don’t use them). 
  • Keep work areas well-lighted to reduce glare from ignitions and other light sources 

Types of Safety Glasses

Good protective eyewear should be light, comfortable, allow a clear line of vision, block radiation if/when possible, be adaptable to working conditions, have good ventilation and be scratch-resistant. 

Certification or the manufacturer mark should be available on all safety glass lenses, frames, side shields and any other parts of the glasses. The frames should be designed to prevent lenses from dislodging from frames and into eyes, have more strength than typical optical glasses and are usually heat-resistant. 

There are 6 classes of eye (and face) protection. These are: 

CLASS 1: Safety glasses

CLASS 2: Safety goggles

CLASS 3: Welding helmets 

CLASS 4: Welding hand shields 

CLASS 5: Hoods 

CLASS 6: Face shields 

According to the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), safety glasses should be impact-resistant. They outline three different, common types of lens materials—But not all should be used. 

The three different and common types of lens materials are: 


  • Strongest for impact-resistance
  • Can have scratch-resistant coating and UV protection


  • Lightweight (Weighs about 1/2 of what glass does)
  • Resistant to solvents & pitting 


  • Highly-dense material
  • Loses impact-resistance when scratched, and are prone to scratching 
  • Glass lenses do not meet the CSA impact criteria


  • More impact-resistant than CR39 plastic 
  • Less impact-resistant than polycarbonate 
  • Has properties to help absorb UV rays 


  • More impact-resistant than CR39 plastic 
  • Less impact-resistant than polycarbonate 
  • Has properties to help absorb UV rays 

So, why wear safety glasses? 

7 Tips to Protect your Eyes 

Now that you know why it’s important to wear safety glasses, check out our seven tips to keep your eyes safe and prevent injury at work (and everywhere, really).  

why wear safety glasses? tips to protect your eyes


























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


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

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

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

Fly Away! Earn Air Miles­® Bonus Miles at Hercules SLR

air miles bonus miles at hercules slr


Time for a getaway? Hercules SLR wants to help! Head into any of our locations across Canada and enter our contest for a chance to win 1000 Air Miles® Bonus Miles. 

Here’s how to enter: 

  1. Head to a Hercules SLR branch (find below) 
  2. Fill out a ballot & drop it in the ballot box
  3. Wait until June 30 and see if we announce your name! 

That’s it—Easy and simple. 

Find Hercules SLR branches in: 

  • Moncton, New Brunswick
  • Saint John, New Brunswick
  • Mount Pearl, Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Labrador City, Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Wabush, Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Ville Saint-Laurent, Quebec
  • Quebec City, Quebec
  • Saguenay, Quebec
  • Brampton, Ontario
  • Hamilton, Ontario
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Leduc, Alberta
  • Langley, British Columbia
  • Sarnia, Ontario



Want 100 Air Miles® Bonus Miles? Spend $300.00 at our Labrador City, Newfoundland location and they’re all yours. 

You work hard, so you need hardworking gear–And you could probably use a getaway, too. Hercules SLR is here to help! We’ve extended our Air Miles Bonus Miles offer, until July 31, 2019


It might be time for some new PPE. Want to know how you can earn extra Air Miles® Bonus Miles? 

Labrador, Newfoundland is notorious for it’s unpredictable weather—Environments like this demand personal protection that’s tough, durable and ready to work—Just like you. 

Work in an industry with tough conditions, like mining? It’s important to have comfortable, yet effective personal protective equipment. Here are some of the personal protective items you should have to work in this environment: 

  • Protective Communication
  • Hearing Protection 
  • Welding Gear (ex. gloves, welding mask)
  • Disposable Respirators 
  • Fall Protection 
  • Hi-Vis Clothing
  • Protective Apparel
  • Reflective Materials 
  • Safety Glasses/Other Protective Eyewear 
  • Reusable Respirators & Parts




(709) 944-3694








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 Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.

Fall Arrest System: Don’t Fool with your Tools

fall arrest system for tools at hercules slr

You likely know about a Fall Arrest System for your body–but what about your tools? Fall protection for tools is the ‘F’ of the ABCDE’s of Fall Protection. A fall arrest system for tools to prevent drops is essential for a safe worksite. Tools dropped from heights are the third cause on injury on work sites. Preventing tools from slips leads to safer, quicker more productive work. 


When a tool falls, gravity takes over. This is why it’s essential to have a plan in place to address issues that lead to injuries at heights and prevent the fall in the first place. Workers’ need to be protected when at heights 6ft or higher, which really, isn’t all that high. Many different industries perform work at this height, and many perform work much higher. 

There are three good reasons to have a fall prevention plan to reduce (and hopefully, eliminate) tools dropped on a worksite.


Dropping tools leads to injuries, fatalities and can increase hazardous risks around the worksite. Tools that fall from heights are the third cause of injuries on construction sites. 


When tools are dropped on a worksite, injuries often happen. This means that work must stop temporarily – and sometimes, indefinitely. When a tool is dropped or broken and especially if it injures someone, a investigation must take place to determine the exact circumstances that caused the injury.  


Dropping tools can effect the operations of the day, and often the company at large. When a tool drops, work needs to be stopped so they can investigate the incident. Usually, this means workers’ are paid even though work has stopped while the situation is dealt with. Depending on the damage, this usually means that equipment needs repairs too, which results in maintenance costs and time that the machinery or gear will be out of use. 


As mentioned, tools dropped from heights are the third cause of injuries on construction sites. In Canada alone, 27,000 people every year are hit by tools on a work site—this means 80 people a day are hit and likely injured by dropped tools. 30 of these each year are fatal.

Fall from heights are the fourth cause of workplace injury. Over 14,000 injuries are caused by falls each year, and of these 14,000, 40 are fatal.    


Human life can’t be replaced. We know not using tool fall protection at heights leads to injury, but beyond being dangerous, there’s considerable financial impact, too. 

There’s other costs associated with dropped tools that go far beyond just replacing broken equipment. Consider administration time and fees to file paperwork, equipment replacement, inspection or repair, legal fees and consequences, time spent to find more employees or production-loss when there are fewer workers’ at the same job, training for new employees and insurance fees. It’s worth your time and money to invest in fall protection and arrest systems for tools. 



  1. Inadequate risk assessment
  2. Human Error: Although normal, natural human errors have severe consequences at heights. These include operator error, poor behaviour, complacency or neglect. 
  3. Tools or equipment stored inadequately: Includes tool lanyards or tethers not being used or not containing loose items. 
  4. Inadequate risk assessment or procedures: This could be from poor planning, not managing changing hazards on various worksites. 
  5. Failed fixtures or fittings: Includes corrosion, poor design, vibration and selection or installation.
  6. Poor Housekeeping: This could be pre-existing hazards from previous work, or other debris. 
  7. Collisions and snagging: Happens often when lifting, with travelling equipment and on taglines and service loops. 
  8. Inadequate Inspection, repair and maintenance: Ignoring unsafe conditions
  9. Redundant, neglected and homemade tools and equipment (these should be eliminated)
  10. Environmental Factors: Includes wind, rain, harsh winter and heat. 


The three most commonly-dropped things on a construction may or may not surprise you. They are:

  1. Tape Measure
  2. Hard hat
  3. Cellphone/Radio 


Dropped tools don’t fall straight down—this is called falling object deflection (see figure 1). When you drop a tool, it can deflect in any direction. As we mentioned, workers’ need tool fall protection when they’re working up to 6-feet high, since a tool dropped from this height can deflect up to 20-metres away. This means that an innocent person, minding their own business that not on the site could very likely be struck by a dropped object. For workers’ that are even higher (which is more common than you think), say 200-feet high, a tool can deflect up to 128-metres away.

Even small objects pick up enormous force when dropped (see figure 2). This force means that something as non-threatening as a tape measure can be deadly if dropped. 

tool fall protection deflection
Figure 1—Chart via 3M











tool fall arret and impact forces via 3m
Figure 2—Impact Forces Chart via 3M


As we mentioned, any industry that does work 6-feet or higher will benefit from a tool fall arrest system. Are you a telecom specialist, tradesperson or part of a theatre rigging crew? You should probably have a tool fall prevention plan (this include the right equipment) ready. 

In particular, the following industries benefit from a fall arrest system for tools: 

  • Construction
  • Utilities 
  • General Manufacturing 

The number of injuries from dropped tools on Canadian worksites continues to grow – this is why it’s important for workplaces to have a tool-drop prevention plan in place. This helps your construction crew manage productivity, safety concerns, asset management and the high costs associated with accidents.  








Need to stay protected at heights? Hercules SLR will lift you there.

Click here to learn more about fall arrest systems 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.

PPE Fall Protection in North America


PPE Fall Protection: the early lanyard

PPE Fall Protection devices were used in the early 20th Century by many professionals, although they used rope lanyards made of natural fibers, such as manila hemp, and simple body belts with no shock-absorbing properties. Clarence W. Rose–who early in his career was a window washer–became a pioneer in fall protection when he started the Rose Mfg. Co. in 1934 and began producing safety belts and lanyards for window washers. On Nov. 24, 1959, Rose was awarded a patent for an easy-to-use cable connector for safety belts that also had some shock-absorbing properties (U.S. Patent 2,914,139). Listed in the patent was a statement that the connector could, among other things, “be adapted to slip somewhat responsive to a sudden jerk as when the safety rope checks the fall of a wearer and thereby eases the shock to the wearer incurred by checking the fall.”

PPE Fall Protection
Madison Avenue Window Cleaner

PPE Fall Protection: shock-absorption major leap forward

Joseph Feldstein, manager of Technical Services at MSA, which purchased the Rose Mfg. Co. in 1996, said the idea of a shock absorber was a major step forward in protecting against the large braking forces generated in arresting falls, especially during Rose’s time.

“If you can imagine, workers with a simple belt and lanyard arrangement that was common up until that point would be exposed to a fall that could not only damage them internally because of the forces exerted to the soft tissues of the abdomen around the belt, but also you could generate such forces that you could separate the lanyard,” he said.

Rose continued to develop his shock-absorbing concept and was awarded several patents for newer and better shock absorbers. Ultimately, his designs influenced the creation of the modern-day shock absorber. Rose also received many other patents related in some way to preventing or protecting workers from falls. An example is the patent for an early “Ladder Climber” harness system (U.S. Patent 2,886,227) that contains two hook lanyards that are both attached to a harness. While ascending or descending, a worker grasps one hook in each hand and secures them over alternating ladder rungs.

Decades later, the industry would see the emergence of locking snap hook connectors and full-body harnesses, both gaining much more acceptance in the 1980s. In 1990, OSHA enacted regulation 1910.66. Craig Firl, product marketing manager in Hardgoods for Capital Safety-USA, said appendix C in this regulation was the key to getting several areas of fall protection technology up to date.

“Even though that particular standard at that time allowed for non-locking-type hooks to be used in a fall protection-type system, they recommended the locking type to be used because they were safer hooks and more compatible,” Firl said.

PPE Fall Protection: more hardware than ever

Feldstein agreed, adding that the acceptance of the locking snap hook led to the creation of a whole new series of connecting anchorage systems: straps, D-rings, and more. “And that’s continued to evolve to its current state, where we now have personalized anchorage connectors for almost every application, whether it’s building construction or general industry,” he said. Even though body belts were still allowed, Feldstein said appendix C acknowledged that OSHA recognized full-body harnesses as a major innovation in fall arrest. “Belts are still permissible in positioning, but in a fall, you definitely want to be protected by a full-body harness. It distributes the load across your chest and the bony mass of your hip, where your body is most capable of absorbing a blow, and it protects the soft tissue of the abdomen,” Feldstein said.

Two years after 1910.66 arrived, the ANSI committee released standard Z359.1, the key fall protection standard in use today. Most notably, it required the use of full-body harnesses and self-locking snap hooks. Firl said this voluntary compliance standard put pressure on OSHA to recognize that its existing standard needed updating and encouraged the completion of another fall protection standard for the construction industry, Subpart M, in 1995. According to this standard, as of Jan. 1, 1998, the use of body belts and non-locking snap hooks was prohibited.

During the ’80s, Self-Retracting Lanyards (SRLs) gained in development and use. They had been developed in the 1950s for offshore oil production in the North Sea but quickly became a common component in fall protection systems worldwide. Feldstein said SRLs became so valuable because they allowed workers to be protected along a much greater length of travel, increasing productivity without sacrificing safety. He described a scenario for rail car workers:

“Workers could be protected from the ground level and all the way up to the top of the rail car while they were working along the train’s length because the SRL could be mounted mobilely overhead. So that afforded a new type of protection for all types of workers in transportation, everything from rail cars, truck load-outs, and air craft maintenance.”

Regarding fall protection’s future, Firl and Feldstein said they believe comfort will continue to advance. Firl also foresees advances into niche markets with specialized materials and components, similar to the vacuum anchors’ progression into the airline industry for maintenance work on aircraft, whose surfaces can’t be penetrated with traditional-type anchors.
“In the past, a harness was a harness. It didn’t really matter if it was for construction, or utility work, or warehousing, it was a harness,” he said. “Now, you’re starting to see more specialized gear. . .  As an example, in the utility segment, you would see extensively the use of flame-resistant materials . . . because they’re concerned about heat resistance; they’re concerned about being able to resist arc flash and so forth.”

At Hercules SLR we stock MSA, 3M and Honeywell Miller PPE and fall protection products, to provide you with an extensive, high quality range of PPE Fall Protection products. Our in-house experts will advise you on what equipment best suits your project. When it comes time for your yearly inspections and service, our technicians can inspect, repair and certify your gear. For more information on our Fall Protection products and Services, please call: 1-877-461-4876.



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.

Tool Fall Protection: More Important than you Think


Tool Fall Protection: confidence at heights

During Summer 2018, in Providence, Rhode Island ironworkers strapped on their fall protection – tool fall protection included, to start work on a major project.

“That guy’s nuts!” exclaims Steven Strychasz, a nearby civilian watching ironworkers work on the steel skeleton new Residence Inn Providence Hotel.

The guys who’s ‘nuts’? That’s Kyle Coulombe, 31 an ironworker who climbing 50-feet, with an 800-pound beam suspended over his head while working on the hotel.

Fall Protection: essential for working at height

Crane operator Steve Berube inches his hoist so Coulumbe can align a bolt hole at the end of a coloumn so the two will connect. Then, he walks along the beam to connect the other coloumn while the crane holds steady. Coulumbe attaches his safety line to the top flange of the beam. He now hangs from the crane hook by a cable. He resets his cable line, and continues working.

This amazes the crowd—his ability to seamlessly navigate and climb around the huge iron columns and beams.

What allows Coulumbe to do this with ease? His skills, his nerves, but mainly—the fall protection attached to his safety harness. His fall protection system not only keeps his body safe, but his tools too. Coulumbe carries approximately 60 pounds of tools in his harness daily, including nuts, bolts and a 9-pound sledge hammer.


Fall Protection: it’s for your tools, too

Tool fall protection is also essential when working at heights. Many people don’t consider the damage or pain from, for example—a nine-pound sledge hammer falling on their head. However, according to Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) in 2013 there were nearly 9000 injuries caused by falling tools. 23 of these injuries were fatal.

Tool Fall Protection: do the math

To put this in perspective, COS suggests calculating with physics—they use a common, eight-pound wrench as example. If this wrench was dropped from 200-feet above, it would hit with 2,833 pounds per square inch of force—the equivalent of a Clydesdale horse hitting a one-square inch area. This is why tool fall protection is just as important as securing your body.

According to COS, the shape of a tool or equipment can have an equally disastrous effect. For example, a two-pound hammer could drop from a three-metre height onto a hard hat, and the impact would be minimal—but a two-pound sleever bar dropped from this height would go directly through the hard hat, and will puncture the skull.

Accidents don’t just happen from tools falling. Often, a worker attempts to catch his tool and can lose his balance, or drops the tool which then becomes a tripping hazard for unsuspecting workers below.

Next time you work at height, protect yourself, others and your tools with the right fall protection.

Read our blog on the importance of choosing a comfortable safety harness to ensure your fall protection fits properly.

References here:

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.