6 Top Tips | Rail Safety Week

6 Top Tips | Rail Safety Week

Canada’s Rail Safety Week is from September 21 -27 and aims to increase awareness around the importance of safe behavior near railroad tracks. Did you know Canada has almost 45,000 km of railway tracks covering the country from cities to towns and even rural communities? Railways still play an essential role in Canadian infrastructure, acting as a major form of transportation for both people and goods across the country.

According to the Canadian Rail Safety Organizations Operation Lifesaver report, so far this year we’ve had 100 incidents, 34 fatalities, and 18 serious injuries across Canada. Almost 2,100 North Americans are killed or seriously injured every year in railways crossing and trespassing incidents. The most tragic part about these numbers is that almost every single one of these incidents could be prevented if people knew how to properly and safely act around railroad tracks and trains.

According to Operation Lifesaver, an organization dedicated to preventing collisions at railway crossings and railway trespassing incidents in Canada, these are the 6 top tips to keep you safe near the rails!

1. STAY OFF THE TRACKS

You should never unnecessarily walk, cycle, or drive along railway tracks. Trains can travel as fast as 160 km/h and can take up to 2 km to come to a complete stop – That’s the length of 18 football fields. Because it can be very hard to judge how far away a train is or what speed it’s traveling at, you should always consider active railways a hazard and keep a safe distance.

2. KEEP OFF RAILWAY PROPERTY

Railway yards, tunnels, and bridges are all private property and if you are caught trespassing on them, you could be fined up to $50,000. Not only is it illegal to trespass on railway property – it is extremely dangerous! Railway tunnels and bridges are often time only slightly wider than the rail themselves which leads very little room for you to go if a train were to come along. Like we said before, you should always consider active railways a hazard and keep a safe distance, and this includes all railway property. Save your life and $50,000 by steering clear!

3. USE DESIGNATED RAILWAY CROSSINGS

There are some situations where crossing railway tracks is necessary, such as when tracks cross public roads. These are designated crossings equipped with the proper safety measures needed to ensure you are able to cross safely. You should only cross railway tracks at designated crossings. Remember, trains can come at any time, from either direction and on any track and they also don’t always run on a set schedule so you can never trust that the coast is clear.

4. OBEY ALL RAILWAY SIGNS AND SIGNALS

Railway signs and warning devices such as lights, bells, and gates are crucial safety devices and should be obeyed at all times. If crossing, at a designated crossing, you need to LOOK and LISTEN. Look both ways for any approaching trains and listen for if you can hear any trains.  If a train is coming, or railway warning signals are activated, stop behind any gates or stop lines—or no closer than 5 meters away from the nearest rail—and wait for the train to pass. Cross only after the warning signals have ceased and you are certain no other trains are approaching, from either direction, on any track.

5. STAY ALERT

 

You can’t avoid getting struck by a train is you’re not LOOKING or LISTENING. Some modern trains can be extremely quiet so you can not trust that simply because you don’t hear the chug chug chug that there isn’t one nearby. When near railway tracks stay off of phones or other distractions and stay alert.  Although trains sound their whistles at most crossings, or in the case of an emergency, you won’t hear the warning if you are wearing headphones – and sometimes it can still be too late!

6. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE

Trains are not always the size of the railway tracks and can overhang by as much a 1 meter on each side. They can also carry loads that are even wider than the railway cars themselves. So, don’t assume that taking a few steps back will keep you in the clear. Even if the train itself wouldn’t hit you, you can get hit by chains, straps, or other equipment if you are too close. Remember, they can travel up to 160km/h – would you want to be within even a couple feet of a car driving that fast?

For more rail safety tips, resources and more check out Operation Livesaver.


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Herc How-To | Keeping Cool at the Construction Site

Herc How-To | Keeping Cool at the Construction Site

When people think Canada they probably aren’t thinking a beautiful sunny paradise – But for a couple of months a year, it actually does gets hot outside! Summer has arrived, and parts of the country have already seen record or near-record highs this month & meteorologists say 2020 on course to be one of the hottest years since records began

The risk is increased for workers where the temperature can reach higher than the outside air temperature such as those performing roof work, road construction or doing interior work on a building with no air conditioning and poor ventilation.

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

Work in Extreme Temperatures: Legislation

Legislation can be a bit vague surrounding the rules and regulations on what employers specifically must do to keep employees safe with regards to heatstroke, and often these standards & regulations will differ provincially.

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

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

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

There isn’t one magic temperature where work is canceled, but each province does have some legislation that describes temperatures suggested for different workplaces & conditions, particularly those in industrial jobs such as construction workers.

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

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

TLV® value chart

 

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

  • REST: Sitting
  • LIGHT WORK: Sitting, standing to control machines, light hand or arm work
  • MODERATE WORK: Moderate hand & arm work, light pushing or pulling,
  • HEAVY WORK: Intense arm & trunk work, pick & shovel work, digging, carrying, pushing/pulling heavy loads and walking at a fast pace
  • VERY HEAVY: Intense activity at fast to maximum pace.

What Heat Does to Your Body

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

A healthy, normal human body maintains an internal temperature of 37°C, and generally feels most comfortable with an air temperature between 20°C-27°C, and humidity ranges from 35 to 60%. As the external environment warms, the body warms, too. Your ‘internal thermostat’ will introduce more blood to your skin and produce more sweat. This means the body increases the amount of heat it loses to make sense of the heat burden.

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

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

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

Over-exposure to heat can lead to:

Heat Edema: Swelling (typically in the ankles) caused by work in hot environments.

Heat Rashes: Inflammation, which causes tiny red spots that prickle during heat exposure due to clogged sweat glands.

Heat Cramps: You might feel sharp pains in muscles in addition to the other symptoms of heat stress we list above. Cramps from heat are caused when your body fails to replace lost sweat with salt, and often happen when you drink too much water and don’t replace it with enough salt (electrolytes).

Heat Exhaustion: Caused when you lose body water and salt from excessive sweating. Symptoms involve heavy sweat, weakness, dizziness, visual disturbances, intense thirst, nausea, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, breathlessness, palpitations, tingling, and numb hands & feet.

Heat Syncope: Heat-induced dizziness and fainting caused by insufficient blood flow to the brain while someone is standing. This usually happens when people aren’t used to an environment (are unacclimatized) and your body loses body fluids through sweat, blood pressure lowers & blood pools in the legs. Luckily, recovery is very quick when you simply rest in a cool area.

Heat Stroke: This is the most serious type of heat illness. Signs of heatstroke include a body temperature over 41°C and a complete/partial loss of consciousness. There are two types of heat stress, one where the victim does not sweat and the other, where they do sweat.

Heat Stroke: What Employers can do

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

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

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

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

Heat Stroke: What Employees can do

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

KNOW THE SIGNS

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

You Notice That Someone has the Signs of Heat Stroke—What Should I do? 

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

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

6 Herc How-To Top Tips for Keeping Cool

1. Let Your Body Acclimate

Especially if you are a new worker or returning from any sort of extended leave due to illness or vacation – it’s important to let your body acclimate to work when in heat. All workers should expect work to be a bit harder in the heat near the beginning of summer, but as time goes on your body will adjust. Employers should expect and allow employees to work at a slower pace, slowly working up to 100% over 5 to 7 days so your body can adjust to the heat and strenuous activity.

2. Get an Early Start

Air temperature usually peaks between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm, so the early bird gets the cooler worm! Try to schedule your jobs/days in a way that outdoor strenuous work can be completed early in the day. You’ll be in the best position if your days can be structured to be completed before these hot hours, but even just leaving the easier, or inside, work for these hours of the day can help you survive the heat.

3. Sunscreen

Whenever you are working outdoors you should be using sunscreen. Even on cloudy and overcast days, ultraviolet (UV) rays can reach you and cause sunburn. When working outside you should reapply often with a sunscreen that is either sweat-proof or waterproof to help ensure that you don’t sweat it all off in the first few minutes of work. It’s also a good idea to wear a wide-brimmed hat to block the sun’s deadly rays.

4. Proper Clothing

When working outside doing strenuous activity in the heat, light-colored, loose-fitting and lightweight clothing is the way to go. Choosing natural fibered clothing such as cotton is a good choice as it will be more breathable and will absorb moisture well. Moisture-wicking clothing is also a smart choice, as it will draw sweat off your body which will allow your body to cool quicker – this is especially important if you work in a humid climate where sweat evaporation becomes difficult.

5. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

When working in hot weather conditions you should be drinking water or other fluids at least every 15-20 minutes. Cool water should be your main source of hydration. Sports drinks and coconut water are good options for restoring electrolytes and fresh fruits or fruit juices are good options if you’re feeling a drop in blood sugar. You should avoid coffee, soda, and alcohol as they all contain diuretics which will cause you to become more dehydrated.

If you experience any of the following symptoms you should immediately take a break to rehydrate:

  • increased thirst
  • dry mouth
  • swollen tongue
  • inability to sweat
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • decrease in urine output

6. Take Frequent Breaks 

Taking frequent breaks in the shade is an important step to avoid heat-related illnesses. Whenever you are feeling overheated or presenting any of the above symptoms of heatstroke, you need to take at least a 5-minute break in a shaded area. This is also a good time to rehydrate or eat some food to restore your energy.

To really cool your body temperature down, try getting inside an air-conditioned space like a vehicle or job site trailer. You can also apply a cool, wet cloth to pulse points on your body such as the neck, wrists, and elbows. If you are working indoors with no air conditioning consider setting up some portable fans to increase air circulation and cool you off. There are also a number of personal cooling devices on the market like cooling vests or neck coolers that can help you beat the heat.

NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.

Safety Tips | Working in the Wet & Rain

Safety Tips | Working in the Wet & Rain

Even if your job doesn’t take you outside, you may find yourself out doing yard work in the wet and rain because let’s face it, some of those spring-time jobs would simply never get done if you waited for a day that was completely beautiful and dry.

Safety should ALWAYS come first – if you feel you cannot safely complete a task in the wet and rain, communicate with your employer and re-prioritize to shift the timeline of this task. No job, project, or yardwork is worth an injury. However, we humans won’t melt, and there are many tasks that with a bit of extra precaution can be complete in the wet and rain with no issue! Read on for 8 tips on how to keep safe while working in the wet and rain:

1. Slow and Steady…

We all have an instinct when in the rain to quickly complete our task so we can get back inside as soon as possible. However, since rain makes everything more slippery, you need to work against that instinct and work more slowly and carefully. Be deliberate with your movements and take your time, especially when working at a height or climbing ladders. In reality, you’re getting wet either way, so you might as well just go with it and safety return inside once you’ve taken the time you need to complete your task.

2. Power Tools?

It’s important to use the correct equipment. Do not use electrical tools and equipment that are not specifically rated for outdoor use when working in the wet or rain. We all know what happens when electricity and water come together – You’ll be lucky if you walk away with just broken equipment.

When using hand tools, ensure you are using tools with textured nonslip grip handles. Wet hands and/or tools can lead to losing your grip and dropping your tools. Your toes will thank you for using tools with a grip handles!

3. Stop the Drop!

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. Fall protection is particularly important when working in the wet and rain because your chance of slipping is increased working on a wet surface.

It’s also important to remember that certain fall protection equipment is designed to be worn as close to your body as possible. This means you cannot wear this equipment on top of bulky, heavy, or slick rain gear! You shouldn’t wear your fall protection equipment over anything but your base layer of clothing – this being your underwear, pants, and shirt. So what are you supposed to do? You can purchase special rain gear made to be worn with fall protection equipment that allows workers to wear their harness snug to their body and the jacket on top while still being able to safely attach to connectors and lifelines through holes.

4. Gear Up!

Speaking of rain gear, it is important to wear appropriate rain gear. If you are cold and wet, you are going to have a hard time concentrating on the work at hand. Rain gear which includes both a coat and pants or overalls and is ventilated should be worn for prolonged wet-weather work. If it’s cold and rainy, wool or synthetic fibers specifically designed for cold weather use are the best for wear under rain gear because it will keep you warm even if it gets wet. Also, wear rain gear that is the proper size; if it’s too large it may interfere with movement. (pssssttt…if you’re in Atlantic Canada, our sister company Spartan Marine is a great place to pick up rain gear).

5. These Boots Are Made For…

And the gear shouldn’t stop there, appropriate footwear is just as important! #1 most important for working in the wet and rain is footwear with deep treads to help prevent slipping. Footwear that’s in poor condition will be your ultimate enemy when working in the wet and rain as it will often fail to keep water out, and cause you to slip and fall if the tread has been worn smooth. A tip to really keep that water out is to wear a shoe that extends above the ankle, and rain gear that extends to the ankle – and keep the boot inside of the pant leg opposed to tucking the pant leg into the footwear.

6. Get a Grip!

What gets the coldest in the rain? Your fingers and your toes! Now that we have your toes covered in tip number 5, we’re moving on to those fingers. Use proper hand protection that fits snuggly and provide a non-slip grip. That non-slip grip will work together with the grip on your hand tools and will make it very easy to keep a firm grip on your tools, no matter how wet they get. To prevent water from getting into your gloves, make sure that the sleeve of the glove is tight-fitting and is long enough to fit under the cuff of your jacket.

7. See Clearly Even if the Rain Isn’t Gone…

You’ve got to make sure you can see! Be sure your work area is well lit, and if needed, ensure any lights used are rated for outdoor use. If you choose to wear goggles or eyeglasses, use an antifogging spray or wipe on them before heading outside.  Hoods and hats can also be used to keep the rain out of your face and eyes, but they can limit your vision, so make a point to turn your head when looking around you.

8. Visibility! Visibility! Visibility!

And it’s just as important to be seen. Especially if you are working in an area with traffic, always wear bright-colored, reflective vests or rain gear, even during the day. Stear away from rain gear or vests that have become wore and dull and therefore are no longer as reflective.


The best way to do something safely is to do it correctly, and that comes with proper training and education! Hercules SLR recognizes that and through the Hercules Training Academy, offers 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.

NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.

Safety Tips | Vision Health Month

Safety Tips | Vision Health Month

Since May is Vision Health Month, we thought for this blog it would be the perfect opportunity to talk a little bit about the importance of vision health!

According to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, over 700 Canadian workers per day sustain eye injuries on the job, resulting in lost time and/or temporary or permanent vision loss.

That statistic sounds impossible, right? Well, it’s not! Eye injuries on the job can be caused by flying debris like metal pieces or glass, tools, chemicals, harmful radiation or even eye strain due to digital devices. What makes this statistic worse is that 90% of those injuries could have been avoided with the use of proper safety equipment, including safety eyewear.

But Why Are People Not Wearing Safety Glasses?

With an issue like this, you may find yourself thinking, “those people just didn’t put on their safety glasses”, and that’s that. And, to some extent, it is that easy! However, it’s important to take into consideration WHY people aren’t wearing their safety glasses. The Alberta Association of Optometrists found these were amongst the most common when asking people why they don’t wear their safety glasses on the job:

  • “I hate layering glasses over glasses.” If the worker already wears prescription eyewear, putting safety glasses over regular glasses is a hassle. In addition, the worker may not feel he or she can see well enough to do a proper job.
  • “It doesn’t fit right.” If your glasses were ordered online without a fitting, or if they are a generic size, they can be very awkward fitting, and fall off when you most need them.
  • “They look ridiculous.” If workers are self-conscious about wearing safety glasses, they will take them off at the first chance, and could forget to put them back on when necessary (if indeed they know where they left them!).
  • “It’s not necessary, the employer is just doing a CYA” If the bosses don’t wear the safety gear, or exhibit a casual atmosphere toward enforcing it due, employees may think the rules are just for insurance or liability purposes. They may think the dangers are only superficial.
  • “They don’t have sun protection.” If workers are outside without lenses coated with sun protection they may be tempted to wear sunglasses instead of safety glasses. Having any lens in front of the eye can fool workers into thinking they have protection, but there is a huge difference between sun glasses and real fitted safety glasses.

So, with all of those points taken into consideration, our #1 tip for proper vision health in the workplace is access to properly fitted eyewear, and if necessary, prescription safety eyewear dispensed by an Optometrist. Safety eyewear is not a one size fits all solution, you need to be fitted with the correct PPE for your circumstances. If you find yourself wanting to take them off for any reason, fix that reason!

How To Choose the Right Safety Glasses

The Most Important Components of Safety Glasses

Lenses: CSA-certified eye and face protectors must meet the criteria for impact resistance as outlined in the standard. Only devices made of approved materials are permitted.

Markings: The manufacturer or supplier certification mark must be present on all approved safety lenses, frames (front and temple), removable side shields, and other parts of the glasses, goggles, or helmets.

Frames: Safety frames are stronger than street-wear frames and are often heat resistant. They are also designed to prevent lenses from being pushed into the eyes.

What are the pros and cons of the different lenses?

As Defined by the Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)

Hi-Vex

  • More impact-resistant than CR39 plastic
  • Available with all surface treatments (coatings)
  • 100% UV filtering
  • Light weight
  • Material is very clear

Polycarbonate

  • Most impact-resistant of all lens materials
  • Lightweight
  • Can be coated for scratch resistance
  • Most have built-in UV radiation absorption properties

Plastic (CR39)

  • About one-half the weight of glass
  • Resistant to solvents and pitting

Trivex

  • More impact resistant than CR39 Plastic
  • Less impact resistant than polycarbonate
  • UV radiation absorption properties

Glass

  • High-density material resulting in heavy lenses
  • Loses impact resistance if scratched
  • Does not meet impact criteria as set by CSA Z94.3

Proper Fit & Care

Fit
  • Ensure your safety eye wear fits properly. Eye wear should cover from the eyebrow to the cheekbone, and across from the nose to the boney area on the outside of the face and eyes. Eye size, bridge size and temple length all vary. Eye wear should be individually assigned and fitted so that gaps between the edges of the device and the face are kept to a minimum.
  • Eye wear should fit over the temples comfortably and over the ears. The frame should be as close to the face as possible and adequately supported by the bridge of the nose.
  • Users should be able to see in all directions without any major obstructions in their field of view.
Care

Eye and face protection devices need maintenance.

  • Clean your devices daily. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Avoid rough handling that can scratch lenses. Scratches impair vision and can weaken lenses.
  • Store your devices in a clean, dry place where they cannot fall or be stepped on. Keep them in a case when they are not being worn.
  • Replace scratched, pitted, broken, bent or ill-fitting devices immediately. Damaged devices interfere with vision and do not provide protection.
  • Replace damaged parts only with identical parts from the original manufacturer to ensure the same safety rating.
  • Do not change or modify the protective device.

Eye Protection Classes & How to Choose the Right One

As Defined by the Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)

Safety at Home and At Work

Vision health hazards aren’t just present at work! It’s important to maintain your vision health all the time, not just when you’re in workplace environments. You may have the perfect eye protection down for work, but if you’re not keeping up with your vision health at home, you could still risk losing one of the senses you rely on the most.

Healthy Vision Checklist:

  • Get an annual eye exam – 75% of vision loss is treatable or preventable if caught early.
  • Wear sunglasses – Sunglasses protect against serious eye conditions caused by UV exposure.
  • Don’t smoke – Smoking increases the likelihood of cataracts, optic nerve damage, macular degeneration. Smokers are also 4x more likely to go blind in old age.
  • Avoid common sources of eye injury – Common sources of eye injury in the home include, home renovations, makeup applicators, fingernails, household cleaning products, poorly fit contact lenses and misused contact lenses.
  • Know your history – Many eye diseases are hereditary, talk to family members about their eye health history.
  • Take eye infections seriously – Symptoms can include redness, pain, discharge, itching, blurry vision, light sensitivity and swelling. If you suspect an eye infection, visit your Doctor of Optometry immediately. Delaying treatment could lead to vision loss.
  • Have an eye doctor who knows you – Having a Doctor of Optometry that knows you and the history of your eyes helps ensure you get the right care at the right time.

Download the printable version of this checklist so you can always be reminded of your Vision Health! 

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

Friday the 13th | 13 Ways to work SAFER

Friday the 13th | 13 Ways to work SAFER

Don’t give Friday the 13th any ammunition, kick up your workplace safety this Friday the 13th!

Read on for 13 quick tips to enhance your workplace safety in (un)celebration of Friday the 13th. Don’t leave your workplace safety to luck, put safety tips like these to work so you can rest assured you’ll return home safe each and every day…Even on the unlucky days!

1. Place Importance In Your Workplace Safety

When it comes to workplace safety, the #1 most important thing is that YOU place value in working safe. All the training, preparation and safety measures in the world cannot combat a lack of interest – You must be in charge and value your own safety. It can be easy to sink into a routine at work, but sometimes it’s worth taking a step back and evaluating. Are you taking the time to put on all your required PPE? Are you following safety procedures? Are you rushing through work that should be done with more care? Don’t let yourself look back and say, “I wish I would have been more careful!”

2. Report Unsafe Conditions

The 2nd most important aspect of workplace safety is reporting unsafe conditions or safety hazards. Employee observations can be extremely important in preventing accidents. Even the best of employers with safety front of mind can miss safety hazards if they are not reported. Especially within large organizations, leaders may not see all aspects of every department, and you can’t fix something you don’t know is broken! For this reason, it is extremely important to report ANYTHING you think maybe a safety hazard. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

3. Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

All too often when workplace safety incidents happen, you hear the employee say they just didn’t see it coming. Injuries that take place because workers are not aware of the machinery or objects around them are 100% preventable. Being aware of your surroundings is an easy first step in taking ownership of your safety at work. Not sure where to start? Start with surveying your work area before performing any tasks including:

  • Ensure that you have enough space to do your work
  • Identify energy sources that require lockout/tagout procedures
  • Look for hazards in your work area such as: low-hanging overhead objects, sharp edges or surfaces, standing water, exposed wiring, unguarded equipment, general work environment conditions
  • Make sure that all safety devices on your equipment are in good working order before use
  • Discuss work status and potential hazards with coworkers in your area and/or the person you are replacing at shift change prior to starting any work
  • Always finish off by asking yourself: Is there anything in my work area that poses a threat to my safety, and if so, to what extent? Is the threat great enough that I should stop working immediately? Is there anything I can do to reduce the risk exposure so that I can continue to work safely?

4. Keep Emergency Exits Clear

It’s really easy for emergency exits to blend into the background and go unnoticed as often times they are not used on a daily basis as they are connected to a system that triggers an alarm when they are opened. Because of this, it’s not rare to see boxes, work stations, garbage containers, and other items getting pushed into their path little by little as they blend into the normal workplace background. The importance of a clear pathway to emergency exits can get overlooked until there’s an emergency, and exits are inaccessible. Furthermore, these things could potentially cause a greater hazard should anyone trip or fall over them and get injured while trying to exit in an emergency. Because of this, always take care in where emergency exits are and ensure that they are clear at all times.

5. Keep up With Maintenance and Inspections

Without inspections and maintenance, equipment failures can have a major effect on business costs, cause unscheduled outages and most importantly, could cause major and possibly deadly safety hazards. Hercules SLR offers LEEA-certified inspections, repairs, predictive & preventive maintenance (so you can pass those inspections!) and parts & accessories like wire rope slings, hoists & whatever else you need to lift.

Hercules SLR inspects, repairs, and certifies:

  • Wire Rope
  • Fall Protection
  • Lifting Gear
  • Rigging Hardware
  • Hoist & Cranes
  • Winches & Hydraulics

6. Lockout / Tagout

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 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.

7. Keep Correct Posture

We all know the age-old saying, “lift with your legs, not your back!” but keeping correct posture in mind is important for all employees, not just those doing the heavy lifting. Even if you work at a desk, proper posture can help you avoid back injuries, neck pain, and even carpal tunnel. And of course, you only have one back, so if you are heavy lifting, do keep proper posture and technique in mind and don’t be afraid to call on the help of a partner if you think it’s too heavy to take on alone – Plus, things like forklifts and dollies exist for a reason, get trained and put them to use!

8. Take Your Breaks

Regulated and scheduled breaks are put in place for a reason, take them! Tired workers are the most prone to accidents and incidents. You can’t expect yourself to be on your toes and aware of your surroundings if you’re worn out and tired. Take time on your breaks to rest and recharge so you can return to work refreshed – You’ll get more done in a more timely manner anyways! Another tip to help out with tiredness at work is to schedule as many of your difficult tasks at the beginning of your shift, when you have the most energy, and easier tasks for the end of the day when you’re tank of energy is running low.

9. Proper 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.

10. No Procedure Shortcuts

Workplace procedures exist for a reason – To keep employees safe! Especially if those procedures have to do with heavy machinery, it’s important to know you’re using every tool and machine according to instruction and procedure. Shortcuts may seem enticing, but are never worth the small amount of time they may save you, especially if it results in injury. If you’re not sure of proper procedure, always reach out to your employer for clarity – Proper training is step one!

11. Practice Ladder Safety

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.

12. Fall Protection

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. Did you know that approximately 18% of those time-loss injuries, or about 42,000 workers a year, are injured due to fall incidents alone? You can prevent falls and incidents like these by wearing proper fall protection equipment, and wearing it right.

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.

13. Workplace Housekeeping

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

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 may have noticed a core theme in many of our 13 tips, and that’s being in the know! The best way to do something safely is to do it correctly, and that comes with proper training and education! Hercules SLR recognizes that and through the Hercules Training Academy, offers 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.

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

Fall for Safety | Tips for Autumn Yard Maintenance

Fall for Safety: Tips for Autumn Yard Maintenance

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

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

Leaf Removal

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

Safety Tips for Raking

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

Leaf Blowing Safety

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

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

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

Gutter Cleaning

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

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

Ladder Safety Quick Tips

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

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

Trimming Branches

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

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

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

Set-up

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

Operation

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

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

National Emergency Preparedness Week | What you Need to Know

national emergency preparedness week header

NATIONAL EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS WEEK

Since 1996, National Emergency Preparedness week happens each year in Canada for one week. This year, it’s being held from May 5-11. 

This is a national awareness campaign and is a collaboration between the provinces, emergency organizations and other groups across the country. It’s a great time to make sure your workplace, and your home is equipped with an emergency plan and kit to stay safe if an emergency happens. 

National Emergency Preparedness Week is meant to showcase the importance of being prepared for a range of emergencies—These three steps are recommended to prepare: 

  • Know the risks 
  • Make a plan 
  • Get an emergency kit 

NATIONAL EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS 1) KNOW THE RISKS 

One of the most useful (yet simple) things you can do to be prepared for an emergency is to understand the region you live in. Natural disasters are a risk in Canada, and they can vary depending on which region you live in. 

There are some risks other than natural disaster that are important to prepare for—These can include technological hazards, industrial or transportation accidents or power outages. 

NATIONAL EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS 2) MAKE A PLAN 

It’s important to have a plan in-case of an emergency. You can have an emergency plan that works for a variety of different circumstances. 

They plans might be different depending on your family, location and other factors. It doesn’t take long to create an emergency preparedness kit either—20 minutes is all it takes to ensure you, your workplace and family is safe in case of an emergency situation. 

Some important things to keep in mind when creating your emergency plan are: 

  • Be familiar/Have copies of your provincial emergency response plan. 
  • Plan how your family/workforce will communicate with each other if an emergency happens and you’re not together 
  • Plan for specific risks like earthquakes, power outages and severe storms 
  • Keep people from your neighbourhood in mind that may need extra help during an emergency, for example, an elderly neighbour, and assign ‘block buddies’ for those who require one. 

GET YOUR DOWNLOADABLE EMERGENCY PLAN CHECKLIST HERE

NATIONAL EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS 3) GET AN EMERGENCY KIT 

Emergency kits can be bought from places like Red Cross First Aid, the Salvation Army, or you can create you own. 

We recommend looking at your emergency kit each year and be sure to replace the food inside. 

GET YOUR DOWNLOADABLE EMERGENCY KIT CHECKLIST HERE

Here are some additional items you might want to keep in your emergency kit (beyond the basic items found on the checklist above). 

In your car:

  • Blanket 
  • Candle & matches 
  • Spare clothes and shoes 
  • First aid kit with seatbelt cutter 
  • Flashlight (crank or battery-powered)—Replace batteries once a year 
  • Non-perishable food 
  • Contact information
  • Radio—Replace batteries once a year 
  • Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush
  • Warning light or road flares 
  • Water 
  • Whistle
  • Antifreeze, windshield washer fluid
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Road maps
  • Sand, salt or cat litter (non-clumping)
  • Tow rope and jumper cables 

FAST FACTS:

  • Around 5,000 earthquakes happen in Canada each year.
  • The Saguenay flood of 1996 was Canada’s first billion-dollar disaster and caused mud, rocks, water and trees to become dislodged and 12,000 people had to evacuate their homes.
  • Only 40% of Canadians have an emergency kit prepared, yet 85% of Canadians say it’s important to have one. 
  • Hailstones range in size—They can be the size of peas or baseballs.
  • Hurricanes can cause more widespread damage than tornadoes—Their damage can hit over 1,000 kilometres.
  • In storms, power lines, ice or branches can fall even hours after the storm has ended. 
  • One of the worst storms in Canadian history was an ice storm on the East Coast in 1998—Power outages lasted up to 4 weeks, and restoration efforts cost nearly $3billion. 
  • In 2007, 410 severe weather events plagued the prairie provinces—This is almost double their nearly average of 221 severe weather events.
  • The cost of natural disasters worldwide has increased by $7billion over the past decade. 
  • The biggest landslide in Canadian history saw a 40-metre deep scar that covered 80 city blocks in 1894 at Saint-Alban, Quebec. 

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS INSTRUCTIONS 

We’ve given you a lot of tips about what you should include in your emergency preparedness kit. Here are more steps you can take for an emergency plan: 

In an emergency

  • Follow your emergency plan
  • Get your emergency kit 
  • Make sure you’re safe before assisting others 
  • Listen to the radio or television for information from authorities—Local officials might advise you to stay where you are. Follow their instructions! 
  • Stay where you are until it’s safe to evacuate. 

Evacuation orders

  • NOTE: Authorities won’t ask you to leave home unless they have a reason to believe you’re in danger 
  • If ordered to evacuate, take your emergency kit, wallet, personal identification for each family member and copies of essential family documents with you. Bring a celluar phone and spare battery or charger with you, if you have one. Use travel routes specified by local authorities. 
  • If you have time, call or e-mail your out-of-town contact (Here’s a printable list you can use to write down contact information) 
  • If there’s time, leave a note that tells others when you left and what you’ve shut off. If officials give the direction, shut off water and electricity. 
  • If you have a natural gas service, leave it on unless officials tell you to turn it off. If you do turn off the gas, the gas company will have to reconnect it—Note that in a major emergency, it could take weeks for a professional to respond in a major emergency. 
  • If you have them, take pets with you. Lock your home and follow instructions from authorities. 
  • If you go to an evacuation centre, register personal information at the registration desk—Leave only when authorities advise it’s safe. 

FOR RELATED READING, CHECK OUT OUR BLOG:

WELCOME TO HAMILTON, ONTARIO: MEET RIGGER JIM CASE

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: BUILDING A SAFETY CULTURE AT HERCULES SLR

FALL PROTECTION SAFETY: WHAT’S YOUR IQ?


SAFETY IS NO ACCIDENT—HERCULES SLR PROVIDES WORKPLACE SAFETY TRAINING, INSPECTIONS & MORE

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


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

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

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

Crosby Guest Blog: Shackle Inspection & Care

crosby shackles

CROSBY SHACKLES 

Crosby shackles are a popular option for lifting applications. Time-tested and work proven, Crosby has made their mark in rigging—they’ve produced the first wire rope clip, quench and temper fittings (this makes performance more reliable) and were the first to fatigue-rate products. Their shackles are particularly popular – read on to learn more about Crosby shackles and how to use them safely, a handy interactive inspection checklist and more tips for best use. 

CROSBY SHACKLES: 3 MAIN SHACKLE TYPES

Round pin shackles can be used for lifting applications and others like tie down, towing or suspension applications when the load’s strictly applied in-line.

Screw pin shackles are used for pick and place applications. Pick and place applications are when a load is moved to its desired location, and the screw pin is tightened before each pick.

Bolt-type shackles can be used in any applications that round pin or screw pin shackles are used. They’re also great for long-term or permanent installations where the load may slide on the pin, which causes it to rotate. The other way to secure a shackle includes using a nut and cotter, which eliminates the need for you to tighten the pin before each lift or movement. 

CROSBY SHACKLES: USE THEM SAFELY  

Before you put your Crosby shackle in service, make sure your shackle’s in good condition. To do so, look for these conditions:

  • The shackle’s pin works freely and fits correctly. 
  • The pins are undamaged, have no considerable wear and fit properly from the opposite side of the shackle. 
  • The load line and jaw opening are aligned.
  • The pin is always seated and is ‘matched’ to the body.
  • The shackle is the right material, size and type for the proposed lift.
  • Shackles are stored in a dry, cool place.

CROSBY SHACKLES: INSPECTION 

It’s important to inspect your rigging equipment frequently. Ideally, this happens before use, during (check for points of stress or tension during use) and after use. Inspection is important to prevent equipment failure, which can lead to damaging the load entirely, or worse—injure or kill workers’. 

Check your shackle before use. If any of these conditions are present, remove your shackle from service and have it inspected, repaired or replaced. 

  • The shackle’s jaws or pins are distorted.
  • The shackle isn’t stamped with is safe-working load (SWL).
  • The shackle is home-made (never use homemade shackles).
  • The shackle’s pin does not work freely, or fit correctly in the shackle’s opening. 
  • The pins’ threads are damaged, worn down or don’t easily screw in from the opposite side of the shackle. 
  • The unthreaded hole is enlarged – a hole too big places unnecessary strain on the loaded shackle. 
  • The shackle has wear that’s reduced its diameter by more than 8% of its original diameter. To test for cracks that may be hidden, tap them with a hammer. A shackle in good-condition should ‘ring’ clearly.
  • The shackle’s pin has been replaced, especially if it’s been replaced with anything but a pin. 

CROSBY SHACKLES: USE THEM SAFELY OR NOT AT ALL 

There are a few things to keep in mind when using shackles for securing and lifting applications. 

  • When you use shackles in conjunction with multi-leg slings, you must give consideration to the angle between the legs of the sling. 
  • As the angle increases, so does the load in the sling leg, and as a consequence, any shackle attached to the leg. 
  • Try to avoid erratic loading of the shackle – to do this, place a loose spacer on either end of the shackle’s pin, or use a shackle with a smaller jaw. 
  • If using a shackle to secure the top block of a rope block set, the load on the shackle is increased by the value of the hoisting effort. 
  • Take care to make sure the shackle and assembly above the hook is the right capacity. 
  • It’s important that on shackles fitted with a nut and bolt pin, the length of the bolt’s plain portion will cause the nut to jam on the inner end of the thread, and not on the shackle’s eye. This leaves the bolt free to rotate.
  • Be sure the bolt and nut are cross-drilled for the fitting of a split cotter pin. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON CROSBY PRODUCTS,

CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

CROSBY QUIZ: CAN YOU PASS THIS HOOK INSPECTION QUIZ?

GUEST BLOG: CROSBY TALKS FORGED WIRE ROPE CLIPS VS MALLEABLE CAST IRON CLIPS

RIGGING HARDWARE WE LOVE: CROSBY® 4-50 CLIP APPLICATIONS


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Have questions about Crosby products? Hercules SLR will lift you to the answers.

Click here to learn more about Crosby 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

Forklift Safety – Top Tips for a Safe Workplace

chariot élévateur

The Forklift is an incredibly useful piece of equipment, used throughout many industries to enhance productivity, speed up processes and protect the health and safety of employees. But they can also be extremely dangerous, with thousands of forklift accidents every year resulting in sometimes serious injuries, and usually caused by improper and unsafe operation or lack of training for the operatives.

Below are a few tips that will help you keep your workplace safe and ensure you get the most from your equipment and employees.

1.   Know the Stats

It’s important to know the dangers that come with using forklifts on loading docks and in warehouses. Keep these statistics in mind while training workers and safely operating forklifts.

  • Overturned forklifts are the leading cause of deaths involving forklifts; they account for 22% of all forklift-related fatalities
  • Workers on foot struck by forklifts account for 20% of all forklift-related fatalities
  • Victims crushed by forklifts account for 16% of all fatalities and falls from forklifts account for 9% of all forklift fatalities

2.   Know the Classes

These are classifications of six commonly-used types of forklifts, as recognized by OSHA, along with different types of trucks unique to each class.

  • Electric Motor Rider Trucks (such as rider-type counterbalanced forklifts and sit-down, three-wheel electric trucks)
  • Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks (such as high lift straddle trucks and platform side loaders)
  • Electric Motor Hand Trucks or Hand/Rider Trucks (such as low lift pallet trucks and high lift straddle trucks)
  • Internal Combustion Engine Trucks with Solid/Cushion Tires (such as counterbalanced fork trucks with cushion tires)
  • Internal Combustion Engine Trucks with Pneumatic Tires (such as counterbalanced fork trucks with pneumatic tires)
  • Electrical and Internal Combustion Engine Tractors (such as sit-down riders)
  • Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks (such as vertical mast type forklifts, variable reach type forklifts, and truck trailer mounted)

Download a full list here

classes of forklifts

3.   Know the Common Hazards

Here’s a quick look at a few common hazards associated with forklifts.

  • Unsecured loads may fall, crushing pedestrians or drivers.
  • Forklifts may tip over, due to excessive speed or imbalanced loads
  • Workers may fall if they stand on the forks
  • Drivers may not see pedestrians, leading to collisions and fatal accidents
  • Improper or missing floor marking may lead to accidents between forklifts and pedestrians

4.   Know the Requirements

Before any employee takes control of a forklift, ensure they’re trained in accordance with CCOHS requirements. 

  • Employers must have a training program that incorporates general principles of safe operation, the types of vehicle(s) used, any hazards created by using forklifts and powered industrial trucks, and CCOHS general safety requirements.
  • Trained forklift operators must know how to do the job safely, as demonstrated in a workplace evaluation.
  • Employers must provide formal and practical training. This may include using some combination of lecture, video, software training, written material, demonstrations, and practical exercise.
  • Employers must certify that operators have received all necessary training and evaluate each operator at least once every three years.
  • Employers must evaluate the operator’s performance and deem the employee competent to operate a powered industrial truck prior to operating the truck.

5.   Know What to Watch For

Employees and employers should work together to ensure a forklift is safe to use before getting behind the wheel. Follow these steps before using a forklift.

  • Perform a daily inspection of all forklifts in use
  • Examine the tires and oil levels
  • Check for water, oil, or radiator leaks
  • Ensure forks are straight and not cracked
  • Test brakes, lights, the horn, and the steering wheel
  • Look for obstructions, uneven surfaces, overhead obstacles, and other potential hazards

inspections

6.   Stay Safe While Using A Forklift

Workers should do the following while behind the wheel to protect themselves and co-workers:

  • Make sure the load is balanced and fully secure to prevent a forklift from tipping over
  • Ensure both forks are as far under the load as possible before lifting
  • Drive with the load as low as safely possible
  • Pay attention to posted speed limits and warning signs
  • Always look in the direction you’re traveling; if a load blocks the view ahead, travel in reverse
  • Steer clear of areas where forklifts are prohibited or restricted
  • Keep an eye out for signs, floor marking, and other warnings for pedestrians and forklifts
  • Use the horn at intersections and in areas where pedestrians may be present

Travelling on an Incline

Keep the forks pointed downhill without a load, and pointed uphill with a load. Do not attempt to turn the lift truck until it’s on level ground.

Steering

Support the load by the front wheels and turn with the rear wheels. Do not turn the steering wheel sharply when travelling fast. If the lift truck is overloaded, steering will be difficult. Do not exceed load limits, and do not add a counterweight as an attempt to improve steering.

7.   Keep An Eye Out Around Your Facility

Even if you’re not operating a forklift, you can take steps to keep workers safe. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Post forklift safety signs, aisle markers, and forklift procedure labels—using pre-made signs, custom labels, or a combination of the two
  • Implement a floor marking system in your facility
  • Ensure safety signs are at all intersections where pedestrians and vehicles intersect
  • Use steering wheel covers and padlocks when necessary
  • Use proper lockout/tagout equipment to prevent forklifts from inadvertently starting up

Lift Truck Forklift Operator

8.   Safe Loading

It’s important to know the recommended load limit of the forklift (shown on the data plate) and the capacity of the fork, and to never exceed these limits.

Position the load according to the recommended load center. Do not add extra weight to counterbalance an overload. Keep the load close to the front wheels to keep the lift truck stable.

When inserting the fork, keep the mast of the forklift in an upright position before inserting the fork into a pallet. Level the fork before inserting it.

Raising the Load

Do not raise or lower the fork unless the lift truck is stopped and braked. Avoid lifting a load that extends above the load backrest if there’s any risk of the load, or part of it, sliding back toward the operator. Check for adequate overhead clearance before raising a load, and maintain a safe working distance from overhead power lines. Lift the load straight up, then tilt back slightly. Watch that the load doesn’t catch on adjacent loads or obstructions. Don’t back up until the forks are free.

When a load is raised, the lift truck is less stable. The operator must stay on the forklift when the load is in a raised position. Don’t allow anyone to stand or walk under the elevated part of the forklift, whether it’s loaded or unloaded.

Handling Pallets

Ensure that forks are level and high enough to go into the pallet, and that they go all the way under the load. Forks must be the proper width to provide even weight distribution.

Avoid trying to move or adjust any part of the load, the forklift or the surroundings when on the forklift. Do not use pallets elevated by forklifts as an improvised working platform.

9.   Develop a Visual Communication System

Here are a few tips for successful visual communication, which can alert operators and pedestrians to hazards caused by forklifts:

  • Use “Stop” signs, speed limit signs, and other traffic control devices
  • Implement way finding to improve the flow of traffic, keep pedestrians away from forklift paths, and direct forklifts along safe routes
  • Point out loading docks, shelves for inventory, and other important places within a warehouse
  • Post signs at junctions to warn pedestrians and forklift operators to stop and look for hazards
  • Display checklists and inspection requirements where forklifts are stored

10.  At the End of a Shift

Once the task is completed or the operative’s shift ends, the forklift should be returned to the designated area and parked safely in the authorized space.

Operatives should never change mid-shift, or in an unauthorized zone, without the new operative being given the time to check the vehicle and adjust the controls, seat and mirrors to suit them, in a safe and designated area.

Forklift

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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.

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