Rigging Throughout History: How the Hoover Dam was Built

Rigging Throughout History: The Hoover Dam

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

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

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

Read on to find out how, and why!

The Hoover Dam: It Begins

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

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

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

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

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

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

black and white frank crowe hoover dam engineer
Frank Crowe.

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

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

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

The Hoover Dam: Phase One

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

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

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

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

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

The Hoover Dam: Phase 2

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

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

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

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

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

The Hoover Dam: Phase 3

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

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

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

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

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

The Hoover Dam: Lessons Learned

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

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

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


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

10 Safety Tips Every Chainsaw User Should Know

10 Safety Tips Every Chainsaw User Should Know

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

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

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

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

General Chainsaw Safety 

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

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

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

DO

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

DON’T

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

Tips for Fueling a Chainsaw

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

Remember, the best way to ensure you are using a chainsaw correctly and safely is to take a chainsaw safety course. Through our Hercules Training Academy, we offer an extensive suite of high-quality safety training and certification courses. Whether you’re looking for initial or refresher training, we provide practical, hands-on courses designed to exceed the minimum safety requirements. Learn more about the Chainsaw Safety course by clicking here.


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

Why Chemical Safety is Important | Training Tuesday

why chemical safety is important

WHY CHEMICAL SAFETY IS IMPORTANT 

Why is chemical safety important? Hazardous or toxic chemicals are used in many industrial environments on a daily basis. 

Although chemicals make up the world around us, some can be more harmful than others—This is just one reason why chemical safety is important. 

Read on to learn how toxic chemicals can enter the body, how to identify hazards, some tips for using chemicals safely in the workplace and terms you should know. 

WHY CHEMICAL SAFETY IS IMPORTANT | 4 TYPES OF EXPOSURE

There are four different ways chemicals can enter the body. These are:

  1. Inhalation: Chemicals that take form in gas, vapour or particulates are easily inhaled. These chemicals can absorb into the respiratory tract, and can head into the bloodstream and organs. This is often noted as the most common way the body absorbs harmful chemicals. 
  2. Skin/Eye absorption: Chemical contact with skin can result in mild dermatitis, or a rash. However, chemicals can also be absorbed into the bloodstream this way. Eyes are also sensitive to most chemicals, so safety glasses must be worn when conducting work with chemicals. Another common scenario that causes eye contact to chemicals (especially if not wearing appropriate safety glasses) is wiping or rubbing at your eyes during chemical exposure.   
  3. Ingestion: Like with inhalation or skin/eye absorption, ingestion can cause the toxic chemicals to travel to the organs. When conducting work in areas where ingestion is likely, like confined spaces, it’s important to have an entry & exit plan, and the proper PPE for the job. 
  4. Injection: This doesn’t necessarily mean directly injecting chemicals into your bloodstream, but if you have a cut or other tear in the skin, chemicals can be absorbed this way. 

Chemicals often travel to the respiratory system, but how? The respiratory system has two main parts. These are the upper & lower airway passages. The upper respiratory system consists of the nose, mouth, pharynx & larynx. The lower respiratory system consists of the vocal cords to the trachea, to the end of the bronchial tree. 

It’s important to note that there are different factors that affect how the degree of hazard caused by the chemical. These are: 

  • How it enters the body 
  • How much enters the body 
  • How toxic the chemical is 
  • When/How it’s removed 
  • Biological variation 

WHY CHEMICAL SAFETY IS IMPORTANT | IDENTIFYING HAZARDS

Obviously, chemical exposure in the workplace is unavoidable—But risks and hazards can be managed. 

A risk assessment should be conducted for chemicals, just like is conducted for other workplace hazards.
To identify chemical hazards in the workplace:why is chemical safety important

  • Identify: Determine the chemicals in your workplace and safety hazards that go along with them. For example, if chlorine is used to clean, know that long-term exposure to chlorine can cause nausea & eye discomfort, and have eyewash stations in-place so employees can rinse their eyes if contact occurs. 
  • Assess: Take a look not just at hazardous chemicals in the workplace, but the processes that accompany them.
  • Control: After hazards are identified, put controls in-place to reduce the likelihood of an accident.

WHY CHEMICAL SAFETY IS IMPORTANT | TERMS TO KNOW 

ACUTE TOXICITY (SEE TOXICITY BELOW): Refers to exposure to chemicals that humans aren’t often around, or are in contact with due to an accident. For example, a leak at a plant could cause the locals to experience acute toxicity. Sometimes, effects are immediately felt, and in other cases effects can be delayed. 

BIOLOGICAL VARIATION: Characteristics that might be unique to the individual, like weight, height or sex. 

PARTICULATES: Solids or liquids that are dispersed as gas. Particulates can include dust, mist, fumes or other particles that are found in the space. 

TOXICITY: The measure of how poisonous a chemical is. For example, a chemical with a lower toxicity will need a much higher amount to be harmful than a chemical with a high amount of poison or toxicity. 

WORKPLACE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS INFORMATION SYSTEM (WHMIS): This is Canada’s national workplace hazard communication standard. This elements of WHMIS include hazard classification, cautionary labelling, availability of material safety data sheets and educational programs for employees. 

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FOR RELATED READING, CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

TRAINING TUESDAY: TAGLINES

 TRAINING TUESDAY | CONFINED SPACE HAZARDS

RIGGING AND LIFTING SLINGS | TRAINING TUESDAY


HERCULES SLR PROVIDES MAINTENANCE, INSPECTIONS & REPAIRS FOR RIGGING EQUIPMENT

NEED A LIFT? GIVE US A CALL, OR DROP US A LINE.

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

 


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

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

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

Get to Know your Territory Manager, Marc-Antoine Nolin

training courses at hercules slr

Today, we sat down with Quebec Hercules SLR Territory Manager, Marc-Antoine Nolin. We’re proud to have managers with a wide-array of industry experience and hands-on training. Marc has worked in both the mechanical and financial industries, and works at Hercules SLR as a Territory Manager and Trainer—he spoke with us about his professional experience, training courses he’s completed and his role at Hercules SLR.

Tell us about your educational background?

In 2010, I graduated from automotive mechanics. I worked in this field for a few years, then returned to sales-consulting and representation studies—I then obtained my certificate from the Autorité des Marches Financiers (Authority of Financial Markets). After graduation, I worked as a financial security advisor for some time.

What made you decide to enter this industry?

I missed working in a field where the product is tangible and more technical. So I started looking for a new challenge, and by chance I came across a job offer from Hercules SLR. The safety and lifting field was unknown to me, so I took the opportunity to develop experience in a field that had a lot of opportunity.

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

When I worked in the mechanic field, I developed my technical and logistical skills. I had to supervise the team of mechanics, so I had to communicate well. I also worked on telecommunication lines, where I trained for work at heights.

My years in financial services have helped me develop my communication skill and explain things well.

What made you want to transition into training and management?

I’ve always enjoyed gaining and sharing new knowledge. In my various jobs, I was often the person dedicated to training new employees. I like to talk in front of and interact with a group. When the opportunity to become a trainer presented itself, I immediately took my chance—I knew it was right for me.

Why did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?

I applied at Hercules SLR to take up a new challenge. I’ve been lucky to work at Hercules for four years now. During these four great years, I’ve worked in almost every position in the company. I’ve developed a passion for the field and now I have the opportunity to share the knowledge I’ve gained.

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

I’ve traveled to local training courses in Quebec, and to Halifax to attend the first rigging fundamental training at the Hercules Training Academy.

Is there anywhere that you would like to travel in the future with Hercules SLR?
training-courses-territory-manager
Hard hat? Check. Suit? Check. Managing is a balancing act!

I love discovering new cities, so no matter where my role as a trainer takes me, it will be a pleasure. I haven’t been to Western Canada for a long time, so I’d like to go back there!

Lastly, is there anything that you hope to accomplish during your career at Hercules SLR?

I’m passionate about my job—the most important thing I want to accomplish through my job as a trainer is to share my knowledge and make sure people can work safely.

At the moment, I give one class—I’d like to eventually acquire the accreditations to give other courses. I’d also like to seek other LEEA certifications and training courses in the future.

Training Courses by Hercules SLR

Hercules SLR offers a wide array of safety training courses. Alongside our standard courses, we’ll tailor-make courses to suit your specific requirements—at our facility or yours. Find out how we’ll help you raise the bar in safety training.

To learn more about our courses, e-mail us at training@herculesslr.com.

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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.

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.

Warehouse Safety: 8 steps to take after a racking accident

racking-accident-hercules-slr

As we mentioned in our previous blog on warehouse and forklift safety, the winter months are a busy time for warehouse personnel. There’s retail, inventory, and in these modern times, the hustle and bustle doesn’t stop on December 25 – there’s boxing day sales, new years events and more to keep your warehouse busy. During these busy times, a racking accident is more likely to occur.

Many warehouses use a racking system – a material handling storage system meant to store materials on pallets, which are commonly known as ‘skids’. Racking accidents look disastrous and can cause injury – they also take time, money and resources to repair (and this is before the cost of replacing the damaged materials).

Racking accidents tend to occur more than once, generally when proper incident investigation and reporting does not take place – these accidents will continue to happen. Managing a racking accident effectively will ultimately improve your companies whole risk management plan.

To prevent further accidents from taking place, proper incident reporting is absolutely necessary. Norm Kramer, a consultant from Ontario’s Workplace Safety & Prevention Services says incidents often remain unreported, for two reasons:

  1. An ineffective reporting system: It may be common-place to say a racking accident or damage is no big deal in the workplace, and/or the reporting process is too complicated and “not worth dealing with”.
  2. Employees fear consequences: workers may fear discipline or termination after reporting an accident or near-accident.

Here are 8 steps to take after a racking accident in your warehouse:

racking-accident-warehouse-safety-hercules-slr
Accidents happen!
Racking Accident: Be Proactive

Have an investigation team already in place. This team should include people who are aware of accident investigation and causation techniques, and are also familiar with roles and routines of the specific workplace. Examples of these team members could be immediate supervisors, outside-contracted employees, union representatives (if necessary), safety committee members or employees familiar with the role.

Create a basic response plan to follow after an accident/emergency, and post in a common area where all employees can see it.

1. Racking Accident: Consult Workers—And Equipment

Examine the injury/incident that has taken place and take not of the situation at hand. Remember to include the basics – who, what, when, where and how. If needed, don’t forget to acquire medical attention. Inspect the rack and determine the type and amount of damage.

2. Racking Accident: Control the Area

Protect worker safety and secure the area if needed. You may need to contain the damage, or unload the racking structure if safe to do so.

3. Racking Accident: Communicate Hazards

Inform workers of hazards on the warehouse floor, and any other obstacles workers should be aware of.

4. Racking Accident: Find the Source

Identify the cause of the accident/hazard. The cause could be incompatible forks and pallets, poor visibility in the warehouse, or not enough space between racking and the forklift to turn properly.

5. Racking Accident: Put Controls in Place

Place controls on the root source of the accident/incident to remedy it. Controls may range from more training, a different warehouse layout or inspections/repairs to equipment.

6. Racking Accident: Keep Communication Open

Keep communication open with management, human resources and any other management or employees relevant to the accident. Be sure to share relevant forms, documents and other required materials with them.

7. Racking Accident: Repair and Inspect

Be sure to have your racking equipment inspected and/or repaired by a qualified professional. Depending on which province you’re in, these regulations may differ. Factors to consider include: building regulations, fire codes and employer responsibilities regarding safety.

Check with your provincial labour ministry for rules and regulations related to storage and material handling, warehouses and other engineered equipment. The Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety recommends following the Canadian Standard Association (CSA) for Steel Storage and Steel Racking units, A344.1 and A344.2.

Forklift Safety at Hercules SLRracking-accident-warehouse-safety-forklift

At Hercules SLR, we provide hands-on training with a focus on safety—we provide lasting knowledge you and your employees can practically apply. Find more information on our Forklift (Narrow Aisle or Counterbalance) Safety Training course here.

Find more information on Hercules SLR inspection services here, so your forklifts remain in top condition. Learn more about the benefits of our asset management tool CertTracker® for your forklifts and other heavy machinery and equipment.


References:

  • http://www.wsps.ca/Information-Resources/Articles/9-steps-to-take-after-a-racking-incident.aspx
  • https://www.safeopedia.com/2/1210/prevention-and-control-of-hazards/injury-prevention/10-critical-steps-you-must-take-when-investigating-and-reporting-accidents
  • https://www.hni.com/blog/bid/92062/workplace-incident-report-7-immediate-steps-to-take-after-an-injury
  • http://www.iamaw.ca/new-csa-standard-for-steel-storage-rack-safety/

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.

NEWS: planning is essential in confined spaces

confined space training by hercules slr

Confined spaces—we’ve discussed the dangers of working in confined spaces, confined space training and the importance of choosing the right fall protection equipment on our blog before.

On Tuesday, November 20, in Uruguay, two shoreshide dock workers died and two were hospitalized after being exposed to a fumigant. Currently, the Uruguayan Navy is unsure which chemical caused the fatalities and injuries—however, it’s believed to be caused by the treatment phosphine, a fumigation gas used to control pests in agricultural and wood product cargoes. Phosphine is denser than air and can settle into low-lying pockets, reports the Maritime Executive.

Investigators say two dock workers from an independent company entered a freighter from Panama when they lost consciousness and collapsed—a crewmember say the dock workers struggle and entered the space wearing a face mask, but removed it while trying to rescue the workers. He also collapsed and is in the hospital in an induced coma. A third member of the company is also in hospital with injuries, reports the Maritime Executive.

According to the president of the Uruguayan Transport Union, Cesar Bernal, dock workers were not aware half of the ship’s cargo was treated with a fumigant. They followed their normal procedure for entering the space in the freighter, and were affected immediately by the fumes.

The industrial trades will benefit from improved communication regarding hazardous fumes, and more effective training regarding fall arrest and confined space entry and exit training. Something like an SRL (self-retracting lifeline) may help in a situation like this, where a worker can easily lift himself from a dangerous space. The National Institute for Occupational Health & Safety reports that 60% of confined space fatalities in coastal accidents are rescuers.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety (CCOHS) recommends that employers develop a confined space hazard assessment and control program—especially since most workers in the industrial trades will work in a confined space at least once during their career. This program should be specific to the work being done, and employers may need to implement more than one program.

confined-space-training
A technician working offshore.

CCOHS recommends your plan include the following:

  • Description of roles and responsibilities of each person or party (e.g., employer, supervisor, workers, attendants, and emergency response team);
  • Advice on how to identify confined spaces;
  • Identification and assessment of all potential hazards that may exist at the beginning of the work as well as those that may develop because of the work activities;
  • A plan to eliminate or control all identified hazards;
  • Written work procedures;
  • Confined Space training program for all the workers that will enter confined spaces;
  • An entry permit system for each entry into a confined space;
  • Development of an emergency plan complete with training and equipment in case an unforeseen situation occurs;
  • An emergency response system;
  • Reporting and investigating incidents related to work in confined spaces;
  • Record and documentation control;
  • Program review whenever there is a change in circumstances or at least annually, to identify program weaknesses and make any necessary changes to the program.

Confined Space Training

Unfortunately, many injuries and fatalities are easy to prevent if the proper safety measures and plans are put into place. Give you and your employees the knowledge and skills they need to be safe in confined spaces. Browse information on our Confined Space Entry & Attendant, and more safety courses here.

 

References here: 
- https://maritime-executive.com/article/two-uruguayan-dockers-dead-in-confined-space-accident
- https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/hsprograms/confinedspace_program.html

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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.

Hercules Training Academy: Securing, Lifting & Rigging

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Hercules Training Academy: First Course Complete

The Hercules Training Academy is open for training—last week Hercules was thrilled to have eight employees hailing from across Canada participate in our first ever training program. Employees from CSR, sales and management gathered at Hercules’ new, purpose-built specialized Training Academy in Dartmouth, NS to learn the ins and outs (quite literally)—of securing, lifting and rigging in our first specialized training course.

Training Academy Facilities

What makes Hercules’ Training Academy ‘specialized’? Our equipment, for one. Our new custom crane is built into the warehouse floor and can lift up to 10 tonnes—pieces of concrete were actually torn up in order to fix the crane to the floor. This gives our employees experience working with larger, more realistic loads that one may commonly see on a job site.

hercules-training-academy-classroom--sling-chain

In addition to the large crane, we have two smaller, portable cranes—these can be used for activities outdoors or on the warehouse floor, and allow trainee’s to practice securing, lifting and rigging in various settings.

In addition to the rigging equipment available at the Training Academy, there are two new classroom spaces. Trainees spend a time in the classroom learning various details, features and differences between equipment like hoists, buckles and slings. Then, they take their knowledge to a practical setting.

This combination of practical and classroom experience is invaluable for our clients and customers.

“I’ve learned so much on the course that will help my understand my customers’ needs much better. I know what’s a workable solution, and how to interpret the needs of the clients’ project,” says Keyne, a CSR from Hamilton, Ontario.

One activity included Hercules’ employees hoisting and lifting objects up and through holes outdoors, which mimicked the challenges of rigging objects into the top of a larger structure, like a boat. Another required employees to secure, lift and rig irregular shaped objects into a shipping container. This showed our employees some of the challenges workers face onsite—things like balancing a large objects’ centre of gravity, evenly distributing a heavy load and properly securing misshapen objects.

Dwayne Fader, Business Development Manager (and former rigging technician!) at Hercules explained some of the common misconceptions and complications workers face with rigging a heavy load. “There is so much more math involved than you think—I’ve never used it more than when I worked in rigging. You have to make sure things are even, balanced and fit correctly—all more challenging than it seems.”

Commitment to Learning

Hercules truly believes that experience is the best teacher, which is why we developed the Training Academy. When we teach our employees how to work with the products we sell, and get a ‘taste’ of what the job is actually like, they gain a whole new insight towards issues our customers and clients face daily—and are able to offer practical solutions and advice. Simply put—our employees don’t just ‘talk the talk’, but can ‘walk the walk’, too.

TJ, a Sales Manager from  Langley, BC says “The Training Academy session was fantastic. I’ve learned more useful skills than I expected, and it’s been fun! The hands-on activities really helped me understand what I was learning. It made me realize what’s great in theory, and then what you actually need to do to make that theory workable.”

Hercules’ employees gained a lot from their time at the Training Academy, and many are excited to do again.

“If there’s a Rigging 2—I want to be on it! I learned stuff I never knew I needed to know, and it’s been FUN.”  says Quincy, an Inspector from Hamilton, Ontario. “Who ever thought I’d use ‘work’ and ‘fun’ in the same sentence? But I have—and it was!”

Hercules offers practical, hands-on learning programs designed to exceed minimum safety requirements. These courses can be customized to fit the specific needs of your workplace, and can be provide training on-site or at a Hercules facility.

We’ve always been committed to providing specialized training—see the table below to discover our available training courses. 

Current Courses Offered:
Power Operated Work PlatformsChain Saw Safety

Confined Space Entrant & Attendant (CSEA)

Fall Protection

Fundamentals of Rigging with Practical

Forklift Safety (Narrow Aisle or Counterbalance)

Lock Out Tag Out

Red Cross Emergency First AidRed Cross Standard First Aid

Fall Rescue Systems

WHMIS 2015 with GHS

Fundamentals of Overhead Cranes

Fundamentals of Rigging

Offshore Rigger Banksman

Overhead Crane Operator

There really is no substitute for experience. All in all, Hercules’ employees had a similar takeaway. Marc, a Manager from Quebec, explains “This week has been amazing. I learned so much about the industry, and now I can understand the jobs as our clients do. I’ve actually already taken some material home for Rigging 2, and I’ve completed the math exercise! It’s great.”

More questions about training at Hercules? E-mail us at training@herculesslr.com.

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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.

 

Hercules Training Academy: Employees Learn the Industry

hercules training academy outdoor rigging

Hercules Training Academy was thrilled to host our employees from across Canada at the new Hercules’ Training Academy at Wire Rope Industries (Atlantic) in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to participate in the first specialized training course for securing, lifting and rigging.

Eight employees from the Hercules’ company ranging from our customer service team to our sales team strapped on their steel-toe boots and safety glasses for one week, to gain first-hand securing, lifting and rigging experience. This aims to provide Hercules’ employees with a better understanding of the complications involving securing, lifting and rigging and first-hand experience with the products we sell, talk and write about everyday.

How did they practice securing, lifting and rigging in a smaller space? The Hercules Training Academy has two new classroom spaces, outdoor space and a warehouse complete with two cranes—one smaller crane, and a larger custom crane built into the floor, capable of lifting nearly 10-tonnes. This combination of classroom and practical experience gives Hercules’ employees a thorough awareness of the realities of securing, lifting and rigging.

hercules-training-academy-securing-lifting-rigging

Practical training included an outdoor setup which mimicked the challenges of lifting and securing on top of a larger structure—like a boat, for example. The metal frame held large tarps with various shaped cut-outs, where the trainees were tasked with fitting objects up and through the openings. This helps the trainees understand the difficulties workers’ faces when trying to lift and hoist objects through tight or irregular-shaped openings.

Indoors at Hercules’ Training Academy, practical training included a securing and lifting activity which required Hercules’ employees to secure, lift and hoist irregular-shaped objects into a mock shipping container. This shows employees the complexities of arranging these large and heavy objects, the issues workers face on job sites and how the products and services Hercules’ SLR provides contribute to the entire securing, lifting and rigging process.

Interested in training from Hercules? Head to our Safety and Training page to discover our offerings.


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.

 

Get to Know Your Training Specialist – Kevin Giles CRSP

Training -Kevin-Giles

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

Tell us about your educational background?

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

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

Training Kevin Giles 2

 

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

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

What made you decide to go into this industry?

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

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

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

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

What made you want to transition into training?

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

Why did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?

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

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

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

Where have you enjoyed traveling to most for training?

Training Kevin-Giles-3

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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