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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Safety Tips | The Importance of Forklift Training

Safety Tips | The Importance of Forklift Training

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.

Forklift driving takes a lot more than just lifting and moving materials – Forklift operators should have an understanding of safety & proper use, to keep materials, themselves, and others safe.

The most common causes of fatal forklift accidents include:

  • The forklift tipping over and crushing the operator: 42%
  • Crush injury between the forklift and a surface besides the ground: 25%
  • Crush injury between 2 forklifts: 11%
  • Being struck or run over by a forklift: 10%
  • Struck by falling material being carried by a forklift: 8%
  • Falling from a forklift platform: 4%

Industry statistics in the United States cite a 90% probability of a forklift being involved in a serious injury or fatality accident over its useful lifetime. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration estimates that forklifts account for 61,800 minor injuries, 34,900 serious injuries, and 85 forklift-related deaths every year. While these are United States statistics, industries here in Canada use forklifts in comparable numbers to the USA, so we can assume it’s just as much of a risk factor here.

What factors of your work environment contribute to forklift incidents?

The CCOHS sites the following 6 factors as the largest causes for forklift incidents within the workplace.

  • Production factors such as speed or stress.
  • Lack of proper tools, attachments and accessories.
  • Improper assignment of forklifts and operators.
  • Poor maintenance of forklifts.
  • Age of forklifts.
  • Lack of training or improper training of workers who have to operate forklift trucks. 

Training Requirements

Before any employee takes control of a forklift, ensure they’re trained in accordance with CCOHS requirements. If you are an employer or manager with employees who operate material handling equipment, you must under the law provide adequate training and a safe environment for your forklift drivers. 

  • 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.

If your employees are in need of forklift training, the Hercules Training Academy has you covered! You come to us, we come to you, or we can connect online.

Hercules Training Academy: Forklift Safety (Narrow or Counterbalance)

Our forklift training course provides students with the fundamental knowledge and practical skills of operating lift trucks (narrow aisle or counterbalance). Our training experts will meet and exceed your local regulations and industry standards.

The program is a 1-day course that uses a combination of theory and practical training. Students are evaluated by means of a written test and a practical evaluation on the equipment. Upon successful completion of the program, a certificate will be issued.

Content Covered
  • Hazard assessments
  • Regulations
  • Pre-use inspections
  • Equipment stability
  • Operating principles
  • Refueling
  • Battery care

Forklift Driving | Safety Tips

Meet Professor Leo, he is Hercules SLR’s very own ‘top tips’ guy. Today Leo has 8 tips to make sure you stay safe when operating a forklift! Once you have a proper training course under your belt to act as your foundation, these are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you’re staying safe – Feel free to download and share!

 


Forklift Training in Ontario 20% OFF FOR THE MONTH OF JULY 

Hey Ontario, are you in need of Forklift Training? The Hercules Training Academy experts are here for you! Give us a call at 905-460-6809 or email contact@herculesslr.com and we can schedule training based on your availability. We are also happy to travel to you and train on-site while taking measures to stay safe and follow COVID-19 guidelines.

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

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.

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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.

Self-Retracting Lifelines | Inspection Checklist

Self-Retracting Lifelines | Inspection Checklist

Not keeping up with inspections and maintenance can cause equipment failure, unscheduled outages, increase business cost and most importantly, can have a major effect on your workplace safety.

Self-retracting lifelines (SRL) must be inspected before each use, annually inspected by a competent person and recertified every five years.

When it comes to fall protection, you must be sure your equipment is up to the job. The reality is, when working at heights, workers are depending on equipment like SRLs to ensure they can return home to their family. You never know when an accident may take place, and when it does, you want to be connected to an SRL that is up on its inspection and ready to do its job!

Who should inspect SRLs?

Daily inspections should be performed by trained employees before beginning the workday. It can be helpful to do inspections alongside other co-workers, so that way if something of concern is found, you have the opportunity for a second set of eyes to look at it. However, if anything does look concerning, always turn to certification experts. The checklist and tips to follow in this blog will cover how to best perform these daily inspections.

Mandatory annual inspections are only to be performed by a trained and competent or designated person. Hercules SLR has qualified technicians to inspect and repair your securing, lifting and rigging equipment on-site or in one of our full service, rigging shops. Our experienced and LEEA certified team will ensure that your equipment complies with provincial regulations. Once inspections, repairs, and testing is complete, we will supply full certification on your equipment to show that it complies with provincial and national safety regulations.

If you’re having trouble keeping track of your equipment inspections, try our web-based certification tracking system Hercules CertTracker ®, which helps maintain your inspection records, provide notice of inspection due dates and schedule service times to ensure your worksite equipment remains certified. Contact us to learn more!

SRL Inspection Checklist

Before you begin, it’s important to always inspect and operate the SRL in a mounted position – do not pull the cable out of the housing or let it retract while the unit is lying flat. As you go through these steps, the SRL fails anything mentioned, it must be removed from service immediately.

  • Visually Inspect the external housing or cover for any cracks or damage. The housing is not removable and will require special tools open – DO NOT open the unit unless you have been authorized and trained.
  • Ensure you can read the label including the date of manufacture, serial number, manufacture information, and warnings. If you can not read this information, you must remove it from service.
  • FOR WIRE ROPE SRLs – Using a glove to protect your hand, slowly pull the cable from the housing looking for cuts, frayed areas, worn or broken strands, rust, pitting corrosion or deterioration. Also look for any misshapenness in the rope including things like crushed, jammed, or flattened stands, kinks, bulges in the cable, gaps between the strands, or heat damage.
  • FOR WEB SRLs – Slowly pull the webbing from the housing look for holes, tares, abrasions, discoloration, or fraying of the webbing. Make sure you look at both sides and pull on the webbing to visually confirm there are no holes or tears.
  • FOR WEB SRLsBend the webbing to make an inverted “u” shape so you can get a better view of the surface. Look for any shiny spots, loose stitching or broken fibers.
  • FOR WEB SRLsRub the surface of the sling using a bare hand feeling for any hardened spots as this could be a sign of heat damage.
  • Ensure there is a wear pad in place.
  • Check the carabiner ensuring there are no cracks, bends in the metal, discoloration, and make sure the lock is functioning properly. You can test this by opening and closing the carabiner to make sure it locks into place on its own and doesn’t get caught.
  • Perform a retraction and tension test by pulling out 50% of the lifeline, and then allow it to slowly retract retaining a light tension on the cord (do not let it go). Check to make sure the lifeline can retract smoothly. Then repeat this, pulling out the full lifeline. It is important to maintain a light tension on the lifeline at all times during this test as a bird’s nest could be formed within the housing if it retracts too fast.
  • Test the brakes by grasping the lifeline and apply a sharp and steady pull downwards until the breaks engage, and then keep tension on the lifeline until the breaks are fully engaged. There should be no slipping felt during this process. Again, allow it to retract keeping light tension. The brakes should release and allow the lifeline to retract smoothly back into the housing. Repeat this several times at different length points.

Download a printable version of this inspection checklist by clicking below:

Web – SLR Inspection Checklist Downloadable PDF 
Wire – SLR Inspection Checklist Downloadable PDF

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.

We inspect, repair, and certify:

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

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

Cost of A Fall | How it Can Effect Your Business

Cost of A Fall | How This Hazard Can Effect Your Business

Every worker has the right to return home safe each and every day. The most recent report conducted by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), showed that 251,508 Canadian’s accepted claims for lost time due to work-related injury or disease in just one year. 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?

So how do these falls happen?

The majority (around 67%) are the result of slips and trips while the remaining are falls from a height. Same level falls can be caused by slippery and uneven surfaces, debris and tripping hazards, dark and obstructed pathways, and unsuitable footwear. Falling from heights can be caused by working where there is a chance of falling more than 3 meters (10 feet).

What the Law Says

If you’re working at a height exceeding 3 meters (10 feet) occupational health and safety (OHSA) 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.

OHSA also requires that employers take every reasonable precaution to protect workers, provide information and instruction, and ensure that workers properly use or wear the required equipment. Employers, supervisors, and workers can be prosecuted for not complying with the law.

**Refer to industry-specific regulations for details on legislative compliance. Your health and safety association can provide this information to you.

How can this Hazard can Affect Your Business?

The Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) of Ontario published a study on this and found the following:

  • Each year there are about 17,000 lost-time injuries due to falls in the workplace
  • One in five lost-time injuries result from falls
  • Every year about 20 people die in Ontario because of workplace falls
  • 80 workers are injured every day because of a fall – that’s one every 20 minutes

These numbers are for Ontario alone, and display just how important it is to prevent slips, trips and falls in the workplace. Like we always say, every worker has the right to return home safe each and every day, and fall prevention and protection is a large part of that.

But let’s take a moment to step away and look at this through a monetary lense. Keeping your employees safe should be enough of a reason to prioritize fall prevention and protection – But the reality of the situation is, a fall can also cost your business a fair amount…

  • An average WSIB claim is $11,771; factor in other costs like lost productivity and staff replacement, and the cost can be as much as four times more – approximately $59,000 per injury
  • with a profit margin of 5%, sales/services required to cover the total cost of one injury equals about $1.2 million

What You Can Do

Preventing Falls due to Slips and Trips

The most basic way to prevent slips and trips is to maintain proper housekeeping measures, such as:

  •  Cleaning spills immediately if possible, and marking them as ‘wet areas’ if not
  •  Ensuring debris is mopped or swept from floors
  •  Removing obstacles from walkways
  •  Securing mats, rugs or carpets to the floor to ensure they lay flat
  •  Covering and securing cables that cross walkways
  •  Replacing used light bulbs and faulty switches to ensure all work areas are well lit

While following these suggestions will reduce your risk for slips and trips, it’s impossible to completely eliminate all risk.

As an employee, it is important to recognize the risk and prepare yourself as much as possible. There are lots of easy ways to reduce your chance of falling, which include:

  • Wearing the proper footwear—Consider slip-resistant shoes with flat heels, especially when working in an oily or wet environment
  • Keep your hands to your sides, not in your pockets, for balance
  • Walk slowly on slippery surfaces—Slide your feet to avoid sharp turns
  • Always focus on where you are going, what you are doing, and what lies ahead
  • Don’t carry loads you can’t see over
  • Watch out for floors that are uneven, have holes, etc.

Preventing Falls from a Height

Just because falls from a height happen less often doesn’t mean you should be discounting them as a serious risk. These falls are the incidents that commonly lead to grave injuries or even death.

The best way to prevent falls from a height is having a fall protection plan. Fall protection plans outline policies and procedures involved in assembling, maintaining, inspecting, using and dismantling any equipment you may be using to work at a height. Fall protection plans need to be customized for each work-site, as requirements and equipment will vary based on many different factors.

A site-specific fall protection plan will incorporate many things, including:

  • Site location – address, description, work areas, tasks, etc.
  • Site-specific fall hazards (e.g. maximum working heights or proximity to power lines)
  • Type of fall protection to be used, including all anchor points and clearance requirements
  • Equipment inspections
  • Any other work requirements (e.g. presence of first aid or rescue personnel, barricades, etc.)
  • Rescue procedures
  • Worker sign off

Like we mentioned above, 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. Hercules SLR offers a wide range of fall protection equipment and our experts would be happy to set you up with the right equipment based on your needs – All it takes is a quick phone call or email!

Ensure that required personal protective equipment, and other equipment, is in good repair and used properly.

But it’s not good enough just to throw on the required minimum fall protection equipment and call it a day – It’s important the equipment be in proper condition, and that it’s being used properly. These are aspects of your safety measures that Hercules SLR can aid with greatly. Our LEEA certified inspection technicians can inspect and certify your fall protection equipment and you can get trained on the proper way to used fall protection at the Hercules Training Academy!


Click this image to view the full Fall Protection course overview.

The Hercules Training Academy is open with 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. 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.

In our Fall Protection course, you will learn: regulations, hazard assessments, pre-use inspections, calculating fall distance, donning a harness, selecting fall protection equipment, fall protection plans and procedures, selecting anchor points, ladders, elevated work platforms, suspension trauma

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


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.

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.

Safety Tips | Working on a Roof

Safety Tips | Working on a Roof

Did you know that rooftop falls are responsible for a third of fatal construction falls? Rooftop falls can be a “perfect storm” when it comes to falling hazards, because oftentimes they are from a height high enough to cause serious injury, but low enough that you have little time to react or re-position yourself.

Rooftop falls happen too often, and when they do, they are incredibly dangerous. But the good news is, rooftop falls are easily avoided with proper understanding of hazards and how to combat them.

4 Most Common Rooftop Hazards

Canada’s Occupational Health & Safety Magazine defines the following as the most common hazards you will face when working on a rooftop.

1. Unsecured Access Points

Did you know that many rooftop accidents and injuries don’t occur on the rooftop at all, but happen while accessing it? Proper training on ladder and climbing safety is an extremely important part of rooftop safety. Accidents can happen on the way up and on the way down, so always make sure you’re properly secured and taking the right steps, even when the day is over and you’re excited to get down and head home. And remember, ALWAYS ensure your equipment used to access the roof is properly stabilized and the roof itself is inspected and safe.

2. Roof Construction and Equipment

The roof itself and how it is built can also present a hazard. Things like pipes and vents installed on the roof can be tripping hazards or may stang your gear or tools. Roofs may also have variable heights, soft spots, cracks or loose material that can cause you to lose your footing. Because of this, it’s extremely important to always be aware of your surroundings when working on a roof. A helpful tip is to always make sure your footing is firm before actually shifting your weight – Take the time you need to slowly and safely travel while on a rooftop.

3. Obstructed Views and Poor Edge Awareness

When working on a rooftop, always keep the edge location in the back of your mind. Try to avoid the edge being out of your line of vision as much as possible, and when working in areas that block your view of the edge, be aware and proceed with extra caution. If you’re working in a darker environment, proper lighting must be used to provide a brightly lit workspace. Far too often workers approach the edge without realizing or assume the edge is much farther away than it actually is – Even if you think you have more then enough space, it can creep up on you faster then you think!

4. Structural failure

As we mentioned in #1, it’s important that rooftops be inspected before workers access it, but unfortunately, this doesn’t always eliminate all of the risk. Damage to a roof may not always be obvious, and sometimes you’re the guy being called in to fix the damage, so you can’t avoid it. The best way to keep yourself safe in these situations is to test the strength of the roof before you progress. All rooftop workers should receive training on what to do if they feel the roof begins to fail beneath them. If you question the strength or structural integrity of the roof at all, do not proceed.

But That’s Not All…

By keeping these hazards in mind and doing everything you can to combat them, many rooftop injuries can be avoided. But of course, preventing fall hazards is only one aspect of protecting yourself and your employees. Proper fall protection gear is the other very large aspect of rooftop safety. Fall protection is necessary because no matter how careful you are, accidents can ALWAYS happen, and when they do, your fall protection gear will reduce the amount of damage that will occur, should a fall happen.

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 are required. That’s where things like roofers kits and other fall protection equipment come into play. Roofers kits are a great tool for general fall protection while working on a roof, because it provides you with everything you need to safely secure yourself. But, Hercules SLR offers a wide range of fall protection equipment and our experts would be happy to set you up with the right equipment based on your needs – All it takes is a quick phone call or email!

And remember, it’s not good enough just to throw on the required minimum fall protection equipment and call it a day – It’s important the equipment be used properly.

Check out this video for a quick reminder on how to secure yourself to a roof:


No amount of safety tips will ever replace proper training! The Hercules Training Academy offers a Fall Protection course that provides students with the fundamental knowledge of working at heights safely. This program meets and exceeds the local regulations, industry standards, and the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Get in contact now to bring your safety to the next level while working on a roof (or at any height!)

CONTENT 
  • Regulations
  • Hazard assessments
  • Pre-use inspections
  • Calculating fall distance
  • Donning a harness
  • Selecting fall protection equipment
  • Fall protection plans and procedures
  • Selecting anchor points
  • Ladders
  • Elevated Work Platforms
  • Suspension trauma
FORMAT 

The program is a combination of theory and demonstration. Students are evaluated by means of a written test. Upon successful completion of the program, a certificate will be issued.

CERTIFICATION VALIDITY 

3 Years

DURATION

1 Day

LOCATION

Training is delivered at the Hercules Training Academy or can also be delivered on-site.

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.

We are Open | Hercules Training Academy

Hercules Training Academy remains open during these unprecedented times.

As always, your safety is our priority.

We are adhering to the emergency measures put in place by our provincial governments and health advisories to keep you safe in class as well as on the job— through our wide array of safety training programs.

We are committed to serving our communities in this time by providing training that allows essential workers to stay safe and certified on the job. We are also excited to give people the opportunity to seek training that may help them secure employment now and in the future, and support employers and employees that want to use this time to bring their safety and training to the next level.

The Precautions We Are Taking 

  • Classes are limited to 4 students per class (to stay under provincial guidelines of 5, including the instructor)
  • A medical questionnaire must be completed before attending
  • Spacious classrooms ensure that no student is within 6 ft of one another
  • All touchpoints are sanitized multiple times a day including before students arrive, at lunch, and at the end of the day.
  • Dedicated washroom facilities for attendees that are sanitized and not used by staff
  • Providing gloves and (upon request) sanitized PPE for practical course segments
  • Very limited staff on-site that remain in their own offices

Instructor-Led Online and Blended Learning 

We are excited to be offering remote online learning courses via Zoom (a free video-conferencing application). Our talented Instructors will lead these courses and will be able to be seen and spoken to throughout the course.

We will be offering the following courses completely online:

Blended Learning

A small segment of our course offerings require both theory and practical portions to meet certification requirements. For these courses, we will teach the theory portion online via zoom, and the practical portion using our equipment on-site at the Training Academy, by appointment. These will be completed with a maximum of 2 students per group to allow for physical distancing and all equipment used will be cleaned between sessions.

We will be offering the following courses through blended learning:

The Ready to Work Bundle – Starting May 4th

We are also offering a new bundle package called the “Ready to Work Bundle” that has every course you need to beef up your resume. When you sign up for the full bundle you will receive a 20% discount on the total cost of the individual courses.  Looking to jump-start your career once we’re on the other side of these crazy times? This is the opportunity for you! 

The Ready to Work Bundle will take place over the course of a week covering the following. These courses will also be offered individually if you are interested in a select few, but the discount will only apply when signing up for the full bundle. 

Total bundle cost: $744 (20% discount applied for $186 in savings)
All prices listed below are for the individual courses.
  • Day 1: WHMIS with GHS and Lock-out tag-out ($40 and $150)
  • Day 2: Fundamentals of rigging ($215)
  • Day 3: Theory portion Forklift safety and Elevated work platform ($175 each)
  • Day 4: Fall Protection ($175)
  • Day 5: Practical sessions for forklift and EWP

NEW Advanced Rigger Technician 4-Day Program 

This program will cover more information and material than any of our other programs. This will be a very interactive course that provides hands-on practical experience. Students will learn to asses loads, how to chose the appropriate rigging equipment & techniques for the job, and then put that knowledge to use by actually moving loads with the use of a crane. This will allow for a much deeper understanding of load centers and how to calculate the centers of a load with a complex shape. Learn more about the course by clicking here!

*Note all participants must have successfully completed a minimum of a 1-day rigging program within the past 24 months


Keep an eye on our social media channels for more exciting news coming soon!

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To learn more about our courses please visit us online 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.

Safety Tips | Working on Scaffolds

Safety Tips | Working on Scaffolds

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. 18% of those time-loss injuries, or about 42,000 workers a year, are injured due to fall incidents alone!

According to Canada’s Occupational Health & Safety magazine, the majority of fall incidents are caused by:

  • Working in areas with poor lighting, slippery walking surfaces, and messy housekeeping practices
  • Missing guardians
  • Missing or misusing fall-protection equipment
  • Failing to understand job procedures
  • Neglecting worker training
  • Taking shortcuts while workers rush to meet deadlines
  • Using equipment like a ladder or scaffold that is in poor condition

In today’s blog, we’re going to be focusing on part of that last bullet, narrowing in on what practices you can take to ensure you’re safe while working on scaffolds. While it is only one piece of the complex puzzle that is fall protection & safety, when you’re dealing with the leading cause of workplace injury – It’s worth breaking down each element!

The Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA) looked into the issue of scaffold safety and found 9 main problem areas which include:

  1. Erecting and dismantling
  2. Improper loading or overloading
  3. platforms not fully planked or “decked”
  4. Platforms without guardrails
  5. Failure to install all required components such as base plats, connections, and braces
  6. Climbing up and down
  7. Moving rolling scaffolds in the vicinity of overhead wires
  8. Planks sliding off or breaking
  9. Moving rolling scaffolds with workers on the platform

Now that we know where the issues lie, let’s take a closer look…

Erecting and Dismantling

This is a big one because the key element to scaffold safety boils down to, (surprise, surprise) the scaffold – and whether it’s been constructed properly. The IHSA found that 15% – 20% of scaffold-related injuries involve erecting and dismantling. This can be avoided by having the proper training! Scaffolds should always be built by a competent person who has undergone training by a certified professional. Erecting scaffolding isn’t as simple as it may look, but you can learn how to do it the right way by taking a simple Scaffolding Training Course.

The IHSA found that injuries to workers erecting scaffolds are most often caused by two elements:

  1. Failure to provide an adequate working platform for a worker to use when installing the next lift of scaffold. Working instead from one or two planks is not recommended.
  2. Failure to use components such as tie-ins, which should be installed as the assembly progresses. If you don’t do this, it makes the scaffold less stable and even though it may not cause it to completely fall over, it can cause it to sway or move enough to knock someone off the platform.

These are things that would be included in training programs and need to be kept in mind by workers who build scaffolds.

Following the scaffolding being build by a trained professional, it should ALWAYS be inspected thoroughly before allowing any workers to get on the structure. The CCOHS recommends looking for the following elements when inspecting a scaffolding.

  • The base is sound, level and adjusted
  • Legs are plumb and all braces are in place
  • Locking devices and ties are secured
  • Cross members are level
  • Planks are the proper grade of lumber and have no weak areas, deterioration or cracks
  • Planks, decks, and guardrails are installed and secure
  • I have logged any inspections or repairs

Improper Loading or Overloading

Riggers know the importance of never exceeding the Working Load Limit (WLL) and scaffolds are no different! Overloading can cause excessive deflection in planks and can lead to deterioration and breaking. Keeping track of the weight of materials being brought up the scaffold is key to ensure you do not overload. Also, note that if materials are left overhanging the edges of the scaffold platform it can cause the scaffold to become imbalanced leading to overturning.

Platforms not Fully Planked or “Decked”

Platforms that are not fully planked or decked can cause injury during both erections/dismantling and general use. You can avoid these safety hazards by following the following tips, as suggested by the CCOHS.

  • Use wooden and metal decks according to job requirements, standards, occupational health and safety regulations, and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Only secure planks at the ends to prevent lengthwise movement. Wiring down planks can also prevent movement, provided wire does not create a tripping hazard. Where planks overlap, rest the cleated end on the support. Do not secure elsewhere on the plank to prevent splitting.
  • Make sure that adjoining planks are of uniform thickness for an even platform.
  • Lay planks side by side across the full width of the scaffold.
  • Check hooks and hardware of prefabricated platform units regularly for looseness, distortion, and cracks. Damage can occur if the platforms are dropped or thrown.
  • Do not jump on the planks to test their strength. Jumping can cause undetectable damage.

Platforms Without Guardrails

Over one-third of the falls from scaffolds are from platforms less than 3 meters (10 feet) in height. Health in Safety laws generally do not require fall protection to be in place until the height exceeds this height (but it’s never a bad idea to use fall protection anyways!), so it’s important that guardrails are a measure in place for not only high platforms but lower ones as well. Falls from even just 10 feet can still cause injury, and I think everyone can agree they’d like to avoid them. Typically, guardrails are recommended during normal use for all
scaffold platforms over 1.5 meters (5 feet) high.

Guardrails for all working platforms should consist of a top rail, a midrail, and a toeboard!

Failure to Instal All Required Components

Have you ever completed an Ikea project just to realize there’s a bolt or screw still sitting in the bag and decided it’s probably fine without it? While you can probably get away with this when we’re talking about a cheap bookshelf, you cannot get away with this on a scaffold. This is a typical hazard seen when workers cut corners, especially on scaffolds that are only a few frames in height. But no matter the height, failing to install components like base plates, braces, adequate tie-ins or proper securing devices can lead to a serious safety hazard. You’ll regret being in a rush when the project has to go on hold as workers spend time off due to injury, or worse – Use the knowledge you take in during training and ensure you’re performing all the proper steps.

Climbing Up and Down

This is another big one, with 15% of scaffold-related injuries occurring when workers are climbing up and down the scaffold. Climbing up and down scaffold frames is, unfortunately, a common practice, but is not an acceptable practice. Ladders should always be used to climb up and down scaffolds unless the structure has been specially designed to be climbed. A staircase should be built if the scaffold is going to be used for an extended period of time.

Bonus Tip: Ensure you’re using proper climbing techniques when using the ladder to climb up and down the scaffold, including the three-point contact rule.

Electrical Contact with Overhead Wires

While it is not common for scaffolds to come in contact with electrical wires, when it does happen, it unfortunately, has been linked to fatality. Often times these hazards occur when moving scaffolds, so when moving them in outdoor open areas, ensure that no overhead wires are in the immediate vicinity. If there are overhead wires that may come in contact with the scaffold while moving it, it should be partially dismantled to ensure it has a safe clearance.

The required minimum safe distance from overhead wires as determined by the ISHA are the following, but may differ in your jurisdiction:

  • 750 to 150,000 volts = 3 metres (10 feet)
  • 150,001 to 250,000 volts = 4.5 metres (15 feet)
  • over 250,000 volts = 6 metres (20 feet)

Planks Sliding Off or Breaking

Many scaffold injuries involved problems with the planks – usually caused by the planks being uncleated or unsecured any sliding around or completely off. Scaffold planks are also known to break if they are in poor condition or overloaded, which can also present a serious safety hazard. Therefore, it is very important that you use the proper grade of lumber. The excessive overhang can also cause a plank to tip up if a worker were to stand on the overhanging portion.

It’s also important that planks are regularly inspected for large knots, wormholes, steeply sloping grain at the edges, spike knots, and splits. Splits wider than 10 mm (3/8 in), lengthwise closer than 75 mm (3 in.) to the edge of the plank, or lengthwise longer than ½ the length of the plank is not acceptable. Discard immediately any planks showing these or other defects. Also ensure ice, snow, oil, and grease are cleaned off planks – Platform decks should be slip-resistant and should not accumulate water.

Moving Rolling Scaffolds with Workers on the Platform

Moving a rolling scaffold with workers on the platform can be very dangerous. If it is impractical for workers to climb down before moving a scaffold, and it’s taller then 3 meters (10 feet), all workers must be tied off with a full-body harness and lanyard with lifelines attached to a suitable anchor point other then the scaffold. However, in some jurisdictions moving a scaffold with workers on the platform at all is prohibited if the platform exceeds a certain height, so ensure to check for these and other related regulations.


Click on the image above to view the full course details.

As mentioned above, all of these tips are meant to be things to keep in mind for workers who have already completed a scaffold safety course. If you’re still in need of proper scaffolding safety training, reach out to The Hercules Training Academy!

The Hercules SLR Scaffolding Safety Course is designed to assist the participant in reaching the objective of obtaining a thorough knowledge of the hazards associated with the erection and dismantling of scaffolds. The program is a combination of theory and practical training. Students are evaluated by means of a written and
practical evaluation. Upon successful completion of the program, a certificate will be issued which is valid for 3 years as per Provincial Legislation Requirments.

Content includes:

  • Regulations and Standards specific to System Scaffolding
  • Components of System Scaffolding
  • Parts Inspection
  • Erection/Dismantling Planning
  • Guys, Ties, and Braces
  • Fall Protection
  • General Scaffold Safety
  • Access and Platforms
  • Erection and Dismantling procedures

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.