Suspension Trauma: 3 Must-Know Myths

suspension trauma

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

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

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

MYTH #1: SUSPENSION TRAUMA ISN’T REAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

MYTH #2: SAFETY HARNESSES MAKE SUSPENSION TRAUMA EXTINCT

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

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

These factors include: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Leg circulation
  • Heart circulation
  • Brain circulation 

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

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


START BEING SAFETY SMART

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

TRAINING@HERCULESSLR.COM 902-468-6827


FOR RELATED ARTICLES

VISIT OUR BLOG:

HERCULES TIPS: IS YOUR SAFETY HARNESS COMFORTABLE

SAFETY INSPECTION: MAKE YOUR HARNESS A HABIT

DON’T SLIP UP: FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY


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

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

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

Don’t Slip Up: Fall Protection Glossary

fall protection glossary

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

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

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

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

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: A 

ANCHORAGE

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

ANCHORAGE CONNECTOR

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

ATTACHMENT POINTS

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

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: B

BODY HARNESS 

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

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: C

CCOHS

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

CONFINED SPACE

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

CONNECTOR

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

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: Dfall protection glossary

DBI-SALA

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

DECELERATION DEVICE

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

DECELERATION DISTANCE

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

DEFLECTION

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

D-RING (ATTACHMENT POINT)

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

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: F

FALL ARREST 

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

FALL DISTANCE

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

FALL PROTECTION

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

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: H

HOLSTERS

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

HORIZONTAL LIFELINE

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

HAZARDS

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

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

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: I

IMPACT RESISTANCE

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

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: K

KARABINER

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

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: L

LADDER

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

LANYARD

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

LEADING EDGE

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

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: O

OSHA

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

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: P

PROTECTA

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

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: R

RESCUE / RESCUE PLAN

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

RISK MANAGEMENT

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

ROPE GRAB

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

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: S

SAFETY HARNESS

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

SHOCK-ABSORBER

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

SELF-RETRACTING LIFELINE/LANYARD

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

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: T

TOTAL RESTRAINT

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


PAY ATTENTION TO FALL PREVENTION!

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

3M DBI-SALA®

3M DBI-SALA® HARNESSES & LANYARDS

HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT HARNESS


FOR MORE ON FALL PROTECTION,

CHECK OUT OUR BLOG:

SAFETY INSPECTION: MAKE YOUR HARNESS A HABIT

CONFINED SPACES: CHOOSE THE BEST FALL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT

FALL ARREST SYSTEM: DON’T FOOL WITH YOUR TOOLS


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

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

Fly Away, Labrador City! Earn Air Miles­® Bonus Miles

air miles bonus miles

FLY AWAY, LABRADOR CITY: GET 100 AIR MILES® BONUS MILES

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

There’s a chill in the air – and we know you probably need a getaway. We’re here to help. 

WORK IN A DEMANDING ENVIRONMENT? 

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

It’s cold outside right now, and in Newfoundland, Winter can stick around just a bit longer than in other parts of Canada. Harsh, unpredictable weather like this demands 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 

QUESTIONS ABOUT PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR? CALL US IN LABRADOR CITY:

(709) 944-3694


OR FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PPE, 

CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS: 

HERCULES’ TIPS: IS YOUR SAFETY HARNESS COMFORTABLE? 

CONFINED SPACES: HERCULES’ SAFETY TIPS 

SAFETY INSPECTION: MAKE YOUR HARNESS A HABIT 


FOLLOW US? 

FACEBOOK  LINKEDIN  TWITTER  INSTAGRAM YOUTUBE


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.

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. 

FALL ARREST SYSTEM: HAVE A PREVENTION PLAN IN PLACE

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.

SAFETY 

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. 

PRODUCTIVITY

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.  

OPERATIONS  

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. 

WHY IS A FALL ARREST SYSTEM FOR TOOLS SO IMPORTANT? THE NUMBERS

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.    

TOOL FALL ARREST SYSTEM: THE PRICE OF DROPPED EQUIPMENT

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. 

FALL FROM ROOFS: $119,000
FALLS FROM HEIGHTS: $66,000
FALLS FROM LADDERS: $82,000
FALLS DOWN STEPS: $48,000
 
 

WHY DO PEOPLE DROP THEIR TOOLS? 10 REASONS

  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. 

WHAT TOOLS DO PEOPLE DROP? 3 MOST COMMON TOOLS

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 

WHERE DO FALLEN TOOLS GO? THE ANSWER MIGHT SURPRISE YOU 

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

INDUSTRIES 

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.  


FOR MORE INFORMATION ON TOOL PROTECTION,

CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

TOOL FALL PROTECTION: MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU THINK 

FALL PROTECTION FOR TOOLS: STOP THE DROP

FALL PROTECTION TRAINING: DON’T GET LEFT BEHIND 


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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.

Confined Space Rescue & Retrieval: Guest Blog from 3M

3m confined space rescue from hercules slr

Incidents that prevent workers from self-rescue can occur in confined spaces due to ill-conceived attempts to rescue and retrieve others, but planning for a rescue can help prevent tragic results.  

Proper rescue and retrieval plans aren’t often created for confined spaces – over 100 deaths occur annually inside confined spaces in the United States according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics1. In almost all of these incidents, investigations reveal no rescue plans were in place. Before entry or work begins, OSHA requires you have a defined and documented rescue and retrieval plan that’s specific to your confined space whether a tunnel, storage tank, manhole, elevator shaft, reaction vessel, ductwork or even wastewater treatment facility.

But a detailed rescue and retrieval plan is only one critical step of preparation (one of the four elements 3M talks about here). Rescue and retrieval needs to be performed by a competent person, who’s completed proper training. They must also understand how to select, wear and use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and other tools or equipment that will be needed.

HAVE A RESCUE PLAN IN PLACE BEFORE ANY ENTRY OCCURS

There are many aspects of a robust rescue plan, but at minimum the rescue plan should include:

  • The location of the confined space and the job being conducted inside;
  • Identify the rescuer, competent person to be on hand, emergency contact and methods to keep in contact with those in the confined space and anyone involved if a rescue becomes necessary;
  • Layout all pre-work tasks;
  • Catalog all the rescue equipment available for use and where they can be located include a checklist for thorough inspection that evaluates if it’s in good working order;
  • List all the critical rescue factors, include any hazards present;
  • Record the response procedure, include how to:
    • notify the emergency contact
    • make a medical assessment of the person stuck inside
    • if possible, how to have the trapped employee perform a self-rescue, or other crucial steps if that’s not possible.

You can model your emergency response plan after the NFPA 350 best practice guide. Determine appropriate means for rescue before the start of any confined space entry activities. The procedures set up at your work or job site for emergency rescue for each specific confined space should to be suitable and sufficient.

The detailed rescue plan should be documented, reviewed and in place before anyone attempts to enter or begins work in a confined space. The rescue plan for each confined space should be reviewed by all involved in the entry each time the space is going to be entered, just like a hazard assessment should be conducted before entry into a confined space. These plans should be practiced as part of training so everyone knows what to do if a rescue/retrieval situation does arise.

No plan in place to enter a confined space? You should speak up, and not enter the confined space without a plan in place for how to react if a rescue and retrieval becomes necessary.

MAKE SURE YOU’RE PROPERLY TRAINED TO RESCUE

Before any access is granted to a confined space, you should evaluate the needs of a rescue team and what training is required for the team (or individual) to perform a rescue operation. Tailor training to specific roles required – you should include:

  • Confined space competent person who is responsible for the evaluation of confined spaces on the job site
  • Confined space supervisor who approves the work inside that’s being done
  • Confined space attendant and entrant for those who are responsible for the work inside
  • Confined space entry rescuer who may have to enter and assist in a rescue/retrieval

All confined space rescuers, per the requirements of OSHA general industry and construction regulations are required to receive annual refresher training. This must include utilizing similar spaces and techniques anticipated at the job site.

You’ll find, rescue training covers a wide range of information related to hazardous conditions and all types of rescue equipment. Rescuers will also require training to prepare for tasks involved with accessing confined spaces, such as descent control, secondary systems, patient packaging methods, dismantling techniques, proper storage of equipment, selection, and use of suitable anchors, as well as the common hazards that pertain to the system and components.

For rescues requiring entry:

  • All members of the team must be specially trained in confined space rescue work
  • The team must have at least one member certified in CPR and first aid
  • All members of the team must be trained in the techniques and equipment for specific confined spaces
  • The members who are going to assist with the rescue should be well-versed in the rescue plan for that confined space and review both the risk and hazard assessments that have been conducted for that specific space

According to current U.S. regulations and industry standards, an identified rescuer, whether in-house or an outside rescue service is used, must have the ability to respond to a permit space rescue request in a timely manner, considering the hazards identified.

confined space rescue by 3m
3M’s Protecta Confined Space System

TYPES OF RETRIEVAL AND RESCUE

There are different types of rescue/retrievals that can be conducted, depending on the situation you and your team are facing.

SELF-RESCUE

Self-rescue is exactly what it sounds like. This is when you can rescue yourself with your own means and you can use equipment that is suited for self-rescue that will allow you to climb out of the space safely. Self-rescue requires the entrant to stop what they are doing and safely exit the space as quickly as possible.

Self-rescue should be implemented whenever an entrant or attendant determines there is a problem within the space. This may include a potentially hazardous change in atmospheric conditions within the space or when signs or symptoms of an exposure are noted. Self-rescue may also occur if the entrant realizes that PPE is faulty, communication with the attendant is severed, or some other hazard presents itself that may put the entrant in danger.

NON-ENTRY RESCUE

If self-rescue is not an option, the next consideration should be if a non-entry rescue can be carried out. Non-entry rescue occurs when a worker outside the space does not have to enter to help a worker exit a confined space safely. This type of rescue often requires an attendant or non-entry rescue team. A non-entry retrieval option is required at all times unless the retrieval equipment would increase the risk to the worker or not contribute to the rescue.

The person or people helping the worker out of the confined space will often require the use of a retrieval system comprised of the following components:

  1. Anchor systems such as a davit, pole hoist or tripod
  2. Body harness, worn by the entrant
  3. Connection devices such as a winch or retrieval SRL

This type of rescue is only effective in simple vertical or horizontal spaces. The opening must be able to accommodate the anchor system, and the surface around the opening must support the weight of it in addition to the attached entrant. If the entrant is injured or cannot perform a self-rescue, the attendant can remove the entrant using the retrieval system. This is where a retrieval system with a mechanical advantage becomes very helpful.

If neither self-rescue or non-entry rescue is possible, an entry rescue will be required. If you have a properly trained rescue and retrieval team, they will need to be called upon to help perform getting the entrants out.

ENTRY RESCUE

An entry rescue is required when someone cannot get out on their own and requires not just a team on the outside to assist, but someone who will enter the space to assist any entrants who cannot exit the space on their own. These teams can be comprised of company personnel, including externally hired services or a local emergency response team. Because there needs to be a prompt response in these situations, OSHA specifically addresses the requirements of the entrant’s employer to fully evaluate the capabilities of these rescue teams.

POST-RESCUE REVIEW

Once a rescue is complete, it is important to review how the rescue went and what can be learned from the experience. Do changes need to be made to the rescue plan if the confined space is going to be accessed in the future? Does your PPE need to be checked and should any of it be decommissioned and different or should new PPE ordered?

PPE AND OTHER EQUIPMENT

As part of a rescue plan and the hazard assessment conducted for each confined space entry, make sure you have identified what PPE and other equipment, such as air monitoring/gas detection instruments, are needed. Also, be sure everything is available in stock on the premises, the location is known, the equipment is clean and is in good working order before commencing any access work.

When it comes to considering the equipment for a rescue start with understanding the ABC’s of confined space:

  • Anchorage systems such as davits, pole hoists, tripods

  • Body support, which means full body harnesses, and in some cases, boatswain (bosun) chairs

  • Connecting devices such as self-retracting lifelines and retrievals

  • Detection for air monitoring of gases, vapors, particulates, fumes and other hazardous substances

  • Education courses that help teach proper techniques

  • Full body coverage for employees who should be protected from head to toe based on hazards identified in the risk assessment, including hard hats, safety glasses, hearing protection, advanced communication devices, respiratory protection, clothing that protects the body against chemicals, fires and other hazards such as coveralls, as well as gloves and safety shoes that protect the hands and feet

ARE YOU READY IF A RESCUE OR RETRIEVAL BECOMES NECESSARY?

Proactively identifying a proper rescue plan, seeking out appropriate training and identifying the right equipment long before any rescue is ever attempted is crucial. You must be prepared so if you’re faced with saving someone who’s stuck, has collapsed, or has ceased to respond from inside a confined space, you are ready for the situation.

3M knows there’s a lot to consider when it comes to planning for, working in and rescuing someone from inside a confined space. Explore resources available at 3m.com/confinedspace. 


ORIGINAL ARTICLE REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION VIA 3Mconfined space rescue 3m from hercules slr

To browse Hercules SLR’s selection of 3M Fall Protection for confined spaces and more, click here

 


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

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

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.


  1. https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0015.pdf

Stuck in a Tight Spot? What to know in a confined space

confined space, hercules slr, how to work in confined spaces

Most workers will have to work in a confined space at some point in their career – although common, many workers and employers don’t plan or account for common hazards found in them. 

Read on to discover commonly-found dangers in confined spaces and how to prepare for them. 

WHAT’S A CONFINED SPACE? 

A confined space is an area that:

  • Is large enough to enter and do work in;
  • Has limited entries and exits;
  • Isn’t meant for long-term human occupancy.
  • Examples: Silos’, tunnels, sewers, wells, underground utility vaults, an empty tanker trailer

WHAT’S A PERMIT-REQUIRED CONFINED SPACE (PRCS)?

Yes, it’s a confined space that you need a permit to enter – but a permit-required confined space also:

  • Contains or has the potential to contain serious safety or health hazards like:
    • Engulfment
    • Toxic Atmosphere
    • Puzzling Configuration
    • Heat or Cold Stress
    • Slipping Hazards
    • Flammable Atmosphere
    • Oxygen Deficiency

CONFINED SPACE HAZARD: 2 FACTORS THAT CREATE HAZARDS

  1.  Failure to see and control hazards associated with the confined space
    • Atmospheric hazards
    • Physical hazards
  2. Poor Emergency response time or plan
    • Many injuries or fatalities in confined spaces occur when other workers attempt to save coworkers injured in a confined space
    • Nearly 60% of worker fatalities occur when trying to save someone else from a confined space hazard 

Nearly 60% of deaths in confined spaces happen to the would-be rescuer

CONFINED SPACE: KNOW THE HAZARDS

Hazard #1: Oxygen Deficiency

Normal air has an oxygen content of 20.8-.9% – when there’s less than 19.5% available, you’re in a oxygen-deficient space. When this level decreases, even by 1-2% the effects are felt immediately. When working in a space with this level, remember to wear a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). 

What leads to oxygen deficiency? Inadequate ventilation, poor air quality, oxygen consumed from welding, decomposition, rust are some of the factors that cause oxygen levels to drop.

Oxygen Deficiency Levels

  • Minimum for safe entry: 19.5%
  • Impaired judgement and breathing, accelerated heartbeat: 16%
  • Faulty judgement and rapid fatigue: 14%
  • Nausea, vomiting, inability to perform simple tasks, unconsciousness: 6-10%
  • Rapid loss of consciousness, death in minutes: Less than 6%
Hazard #2: Oxygen Displacement

Oxygen displacement occurs when there’s an inert gas (it’s worth noting inert gas is different than a noble gas – an inert gas doesn’t chemically react, and a noble gas does chemically react under certain conditions. All noble gases are inert, but not all inert gases are noble).

When enough of a inert gas is in a confined space, it displaces the oxygen which makes it difficult – well, impossible to breathe. For example, nitrogen is non-toxic, colourless and odourless – but will displace the oxygen in a room.

Hazard #3: Fire & Flammable Atmosphere

Flammable atmospheres are caused by flammable liquids, gases and combustible dusts which if lit, can cause an explosion or fire. The ignition doesn’t have to be a flame – it can be something as simple as static electricity or a small spark.

Hazard #4: Physical

You can become engulfed after being trapped or enveloped by material. Electrocution can happen when electrical equipment is activated, and mechanical energy can activate and cause physical injury. 

Other physical safety hazards, although small that can still cause injury are inadequate lighting, noise, vibration and radiation. Nearby traffic, vehicles and other heavy machinery could also be a hazard. Objects and slippery areas pose falling hazards, and hot or cold temperature extremes also pose a threat. Extremely high temperatures can cause your body to undergo heat stress. 

Heat Stress Symptoms

In a confined space (and other areas) your body might not be able to cool down which can cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke to occur.

Heat exhaustion symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Pale, clammy skin

When these symptoms occur, you should move to a cool area, raise your legs, take off any heavy clothing, drink water and apply a wet cloth to your skin. 

Heat stroke symptoms include:

  • Dry, pale skin – with no sweat
  • Hot, red skin that looks sunburnt
  • Unable to think straight, seizure, unconsciousness

When this occurs:

  • Call 911
  • Move victim to a cool area
  • Loosen or remove heavy clothing
  • Place icepacks at your armpit and groin

To protect yourself:

  • Try to work or accomplish physical parts of work during the coolest parts of the day
  • Use spot ventilation
  • Use buddy system
  • Drink cold water – try to drink around every 15 minutes and take frequent breaks
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine in high temperatures, and be mindful of medication as this can increase your risk of heat  stroke.

confined space, hercules slr, srl, self-retracting lifeline, inspections, repairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONFINED SPACE: PROCEDURES

Before you start work in a confined space, it’s essential to follow a procedure to control and/or minimize safety hazards and remain safe on the job. Follow this procedure before working in a confined space:

  • Conduct a pre-entry evaluation (like a discussion with everyone who will be working at the site);
  • Identify and eliminate potential hazards that can enter the space, both atmospheric and physical;
  • Use forced air ventilation and use lock out/tag out if necessary;
  • Complete an entry permit – Assign an entrant, attendant and supervisor and any other relevant competent person needed on the site.

The Authorized Entrant will:

  • Know hazards that will face workers during entry;
  • Wear proper PPE;
  • Maintain communication with the attendant;
  • Know the signs of overexposure/heat stress and stroke;
  • Evacuate the confined space when ordered to or when over-exposed to hazard(s).

The Authorized Attendant will:

  • Keep their position outside the entrance at all time;
  • Know the signs and symptoms of overexposure;
  • Prevent unauthorized people from entering the space;
  • Maintain communication with entrants;
  • Begin the emergency response/rescue plan if needed;
  • Complete an evaluation of the entrance before they start work;
  • Make sure personnel know the hazards;
  • Implement any necessary control measures, for example – ventilation;
  • Complete any permits that are necessary to enter the space;
  • Complete any tests needed to enter the confined space safely.

REMEMBER TO use retrieval equipment to remove yourself or the entrant from the confined pace.

Ensuring you have the necessary PPE for emergency rescue situations is the most important step of working in a confined space.

As we mentioned, almost 60% of confined space deaths happen to someone trying to rescue a coworker – It’s natural to want to save a life, but it’s important to not take two lives in the process. This is why confined space planning is essential to completing work efficiently and safely.


Choosing and having the proper PPE for the job is essential to staying safe amidst hazards in a confined space. This may include self-retracting lifelines, anchorages or body harness’ – click the link below to find out more about Hercules SLR’s fall protection services. 

Fall Protection

Check out our blogs to learn more about fall protection and staying safe at heights: 

Sources: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health - https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/hsprograms/confinedspace_intro.html 

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.

Fall Protection Training: don’t get left behind

fall-protection-training-dont-get-left-behind

Fall Protection Training: don’t get left behind

Fall protection and training for is easy to overlook when there’s a job to be done—who has time to strap on a safety harness? You do.

Worker at height with SRL

At Hercules SLR, safety is a priority in all areas of our company. We spoke with some experts around the office about fall protection safety training – think safety harnesses, self-retracting lifelines and anchorage lines. They all agree that equipment alone is not enough – workers must be trained to use it properly. Training should be engaging, hands-on and fun to have workers actually use this equipment.

We want workers and employers alike to be aware of fall protection’s importance and the difference the right training makes. Read on to discover tips from our safety experts that will make you and your employees want to use their fall protection gear.

Fall Protection Training: are you credible?

Credibility is a large aspect of effective training and communication—do you sit behind a desk all day? Do you climb a 12-foot ladder daily? Regardless of the words you say, who you are will effect the message you’re trying to deliver.

“I had a professor in University who was from Poland, and her Family had escaped from the Nazi’s during their reign – her experience gave her credibility when she taught us European history, and even as students it made us pay attention,” remarks Business Development Manager, Consultant and Safety Trainer & Inspector Lou Gould on the difference credibility makes.

Fall Protection Training: know your audience

It’s important to know that while there’s overlap, there are differences among the industrial trades—it’s important to know the differences and not generalize when explaining the importance of fall protection gear.

Says Gould “Once, I was at a meeting where the topic was roof workers safety. The guy who was giving the presentation was an electrician, but was only speaking from his experience. I noticed right away a lot of guys in the room ‘check out’ so to speak, since he wasn’t addressing their specific problems or issues. It’s important to know your audience, especially when you’re trying to get an important point across.”

Experience is a great teacher. He continues, “The classroom is a sharing experience with everyone you’re with. Personally, I am a story-teller, and I’ve found this makes a great environment to learn. Whether it’s a situation you’ve been in or just witnessed, being able to say ‘I’ve seen someone use this before and protect them’ tends to stick in everyone’s head better than reading straight from a text.”

Use industry-specific examples to show how fall protection gear will improve and enhance their daily work. For example, talking to roofers? Mention how slippery roofs become during inclement weather – something your audience relates to.

Fall Protection Training: risk management vs. risk communication

When you reflect on an incident, there are typically thousands of tiny moments that led to that one disaster. All are entirely preventable – nothing is random. However, explaining how a fallen wrench can lead to a fatality isn’t something all trainers can do.

In the safety industry, we talk about risk management all the time, but we never talk about risk communication. Risk communication is the ability to explain the process of an injury, how they can escalate and what is being done to mitigate or in worst-case scenarios, investigate and provide conclusions. In the safety industry, many trainers have extensive knowledge but are don’t deliver it in a way that makes their audience pays attention.

ppe-fall-protection-training-safety-harness
Hercules SLR employee at height with their safety harness

It’s not enough to say “an 8-lb wrench dropped can cause fatal injuries” – which is an approach many trainers take. Hercules SLR trainers know that reading out facts is not enough. It’s much more effective to say “an 8-lb wrench dropped from 200 feet above has 2,833 pounds of force per square inch – which is equal to a Clydesdale horse hitting a 1 square inch area.”

It’s important to explain causation when you emphasize the need for proper PPE equipment and fall protection training. Many workers have the perception that fall protection PPE and training is only essential for “big accidents” – think falls from height or worksite explosions. But the right training emphasizes PPE’s role in daily work.

Causation vs. Big Accidents

Help workers visualize common accidents that occur on worksites and the role causation plays in daily workplace safety. For example, the nursing profession has many different hazards to mitigate. A few factors that contribute are, long shifts, high-stress nature of the job, aggression in the workplace, high emotional environment, poor housekeeping and lifting at awkward angles. The stressors through the day can contribute to injury and low-productivity. Financially, employers and owners can expect to pay much more to repair or replace misused equipment, rather than taking measures to maintain it in the first place.

The proper equipment and training will reduce discomfort caused by misusing PPE & fall protection gear, while reducing worksite injury and accident and improving productivity.

Fall Protection Training: most importantly, make it fun

We hate to break it to you—but if you’re boring no one will listen to you.

Many Hercules SLR students that enroll are actually already certified riggers. Often, they’ll start to work on-site and realize they’re making too many errors, or they enroll in other rigging courses and realize their skill isn’t on par with their peers.

Going forward, a big trend is the transition to a blended-training model. Blended training involves both a practical and classroom/online component, with a focus on engaging, hands-on activities, demonstrations.

Our Aerial Work Platform Training course is a great example of this. We spend 3-4 hours in the classroom and cover theory, and then we operate machines all afternoon. Right now, industry trend is to complete an online module that before the practical, then students come to the facility and complete their final practical test. This gives our trainers more hands-on training with the students and equipment than is available with more traditional training models.

Hercules SLR Training

Hercules SLR offers high-quality safety training and certification courses. We’ll customize courses to fit your workplace’s specific needs, and we’ll provide training on-site or at a Hercules SLR facility.

We don’t just offer safety and fall protection training – we’ll inspect, repair and certify your equipment too. Have your inspection done with Hercules SLR and gain access to our exclusive asset management tool, CertTracker. CertTracker maintains inspection records, gives advance notice of inspection due dates and schedules service times – Consider it your tool for great safety compliance.


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.

PPE-volution – How the Golden Gate Bridge Inspired PPE

America’s Industrial Revolution and ingenuity brought about many important advances in worker safety and PPE (Personal Protection Equipment).

At the start of the American Industrial Revolution, worker safety and health were nowhere near the priority they are today. As manufacturing grew, so too did worker injuries and deaths. The idea of safe work grew slowly from a small glimmer to a bright flame inside the collective consciousness of the American workforce.

Although the creation of OSHA regulations was many decades away, the evolution of PPE progressed on its own with the creation of new types of protective devices and advancements in pre-existing devices. Much of this early PPE had a major influence on worker safety’s advancement and will continue to do so.

Hard-Headed PPE Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, built in 1933, is an excellent early example of PPE’s influence on safety. Constructing a cable-suspension bridge that was 4,200 feet long was a task that had not been attempted before, one that presented many hazards. The project’s chief engineer, Joseph Strauss, was committed to making its construction as safe as possible.

The bridge’s construction played a particularly significant role in the successful development of one form PPE: It was the first major project that required all of its workers to wear hard hats. Although the hard hat was in its infancy at the time, head protection wasn’t new; gold miners had learned long before the importance of taking steps to protect against falling debris. Michael Lloyd, head protection manager at Bullard – a company in business since 1898, said many early miners wore bowler hats, which were hard felt hats with rounded crowns. Often dubbed “Iron Hats,” these were stuffed with cotton to create a cushioning barrier against blows.

Inspired by the design of his “doughboy” Army helmet, Edward Bullard returned home from World War I and began designing what was to become known as the “hard-boiled hat.” The hat was made of layered canvas that was steamed to impregnate it with resin, sewn together, and varnished into its molded shape. Bullard was awarded the patent in 1919. Later that year, the Navy approached Bullard with a request for some sort of head protection for its shipyard workers. The hat’s first internal suspension was added to increase its effectiveness, and the product’s use quickly spread to lumber workers, utility workers, and construction workers. By the time of the Hoover Dam’s construction in 1931, many workers were voluntarily wearing the headgear. Soon after, the Golden Gate Bridge construction provided a true test of the hard hat’s protective capability because falling rivets were one of the major dangers during the project.

Other innovations came in the form of different materials. In 1938, Bullard released the first aluminum hard hat. It was more durable and comfortable, but it conducted electricity and did not hold up well to the elements. In the ’40s, phenolic hats became available as a predecessor to fiberglass hats. Thermoplastics became the preferred material a decade later for many head protection products; it’s still used by many manufacturers today.
PPE-Hard-hats
From Left to right: Vintage Bullard Miners hats, Vintage Bullard Hard Boiled Hard Hat 1930’s (Used on the Golden Gate Bridge Project, Hard Boiled aluminum Safety hard hat w/Liner and a current day hard hat

In 1953, Bullard introduced the process of injection-molded hats. “Before, [thermoplastic] was kind of laid out on a mold. In the injection-mold process you actually have a closed mold that you pump into. It makes a more consistent helmet and a higher-quality product, which in the long run is also going to be the same thickness all the way through. It’s going to be a safer helmet,” Lloyd said.

Despite the hard hat’s effectiveness and relatively low cost, its use wasn’t officially required at most job sites until the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970. OSHA’s head protection standard, 1910.135, obligated employees to protect workers and instructed manufacturers and employers to turn to the American National Standards Institute’s Z89.1 standard for the appropriate usage guidelines.

Many new materials have since been created, such as the use of General Electric’s high-heat-resistant polyphthalate-carbonate resin in firefighters’ helmets. New hard hats have been designed that provide side protection, which are designated type 2 hats in ANSI Z89.1. “A hard hat was originally designed to protect if something falls from that sky and hits you in the head,” Lloyd said. “But what happens if you run into something? What happens if you bend over and something hits your helmet?”

Because hard hats are a mature market, except for the development of other materials, most innovations will be comfort features and technologies enabling them to withstand different temperature extremes, Lloyd predicted. Easier-to-use designs are appearing that allow users to adjust a hard hat’s suspension with one hand. In the last couple of years, manufacturers have come up with different types of vented helmets designed to help workers keep cool. Hats are accessorized with attachable face shields, visors, and ear muffs, and some have perspiration-absorbing liners. Some come with AM/FM radios, walkie-talkies, and camcorders.

Netting a Safe Return
Although primitive by today’s standards, the solution for the problem of falls also was addressed during construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. Three years into the construction, delays had convinced Strauss to invest more than $130,000 (these were Depression-era dollars, remember) on a vast net similar to those used in a circus. Suspended under the bridge, it extended 10 feet wider and 15 feet farther than the bridge itself. This gave workers the confidence to move quickly across the slippery steel construction. There were reports of workers being threatened with immediate dismissal if found purposely diving into the net.

Strauss’ net was heralded as a huge success until the morning of Feb. 16, 1937, when the west side of a stripping platform bearing a crew of 11 men broke free from its moorings. After tilting precariously for a moment, the other side broke free and the platform collapsed into the net, which contained two other crew members who were scraping away debris. One platform worker, Tom Casey, managed to jump and grab a bridge beam before the platform fell; he hung there until rescued. The net held the platform and the others for a few seconds before it ripped and fell into the water. Two of the 12 men who fell survived.

Read the original article here.

At Hercules SLR we provide a wide range of PPE solutions, from Lanyards and harnesses, to hard hats and rescue equipment.  We also repair, service and certify PPE equipment. We stock leading industry brands and can provide you with expert advise on your PPE options depending on your project. Call us on 1-877-461-4876 for more information.

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

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

PPE Fall Protection in North America

Hercules SLR

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.

References
https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2007/01/01/PPEvolution.aspx?Page=4

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

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

Watch: Hang Glider Travels Without Safety Harness

In recent safety news, a tourist from the United States decided to go hang gliding for the first time during asafety-news-hang-glider vacation in Switzerland—and was in for a huge surprise.

Chris Gursky and his wife Gail take a vacation to Switzerland, and decide to soak up the beautiful scenery by hang gliding. He takes off with his instructor—who forgets to attach his safety harness to the glider. Gursky hangs on for a terrifying 2:14 before they land.

Says Gorsky, “The landing was a rough one, but I lived to tell the story.”

The video shows Gursky hanging on to the glider by one hand and attempting to grab his tandem instructor, while the instructor navigates with one hand and holds on to Gursky with the other.

Gursky had a fractured wrist following the landing, and will need surgery. However, Global News says he’ll glide again—“I will go hang gliding again as I did not get to enjoy my first flight,” notes Gursky.

Watch the terrifying video below:

Safety News: Fall Protection at Hercules SLR

At Hercules SLR, we know the importance of the right fall protection gear. We’re committed to providing hands-on & interactive training, the best safety products and inspection services so you and your employees get the most from your safety gear and harnesses.

Find more information on Hercules SLR training here—for tips on how to properly inspect and ensure you’re using your safety harness properly, read our blog “Safety Inspection: make your harness a habit“.


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.