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 *CONTEST* 

The Hercules Training Academy is launching a NEW Advanced Rigger Technician Program and is celebrating by offering FREE registration to 4 lucky winners – an $1800 value. Head on over to our Facebook page to check out the contest and get your chance to win!

The program will run on the week of May 11th and is scheduled for 4 days.

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.

 

Friday the 13th | 13 Ways to work SAFER

Friday the 13th | 13 Ways to work SAFER

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

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

1. Place Importance In Your Workplace Safety

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

2. Report Unsafe Conditions

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

3. Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

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

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

4. Keep Emergency Exits Clear

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

5. Keep up With Maintenance and Inspections

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

Hercules SLR inspects, repairs, and certifies:

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

6. Lockout / Tagout

As much as we’d like to wish it didn’t, equipment breaks—When it does, it’s important to know what to do, especially if that piece of equipment conducts hazardous energy. That’s where the lockout/tagout system comes into play!

What are the Basic Steps of the Lockout/Tagout system?

This is a process that involves more than simply putting a lock and tag on a switch. Communication, coordination and proper training are key in successfully following the step-by-step process. You should always consult your organization’s lockout program document and follow the detailed instructions provided.
An abbreviated overview of the steps of a lockout/tagout program include:

  1. Prepare for shutdown – The authorized person will identify any sources of energy connected to the equipment, and choose the proper method of control.
  2. Notify all affected employees – The authorized person will notify all affected personnel of what is going to be lock/tagged out, why it will be locked/tagged out, how long they should expect the equipment to be unavailable, who is responsible for the lockout/tagout and who to contact for more information.
  3. Equipment Shutdown – Following the manufacturer’s instructions or in-house work instructions the equipment is shut down ensuring all controls are in the off position and all moving parts have come to a complete stop.
  4. Isolation of System from Hazardous Energy – In most cases, there will be exact written instructions guiding you as so how to cut off different forms of energy found within your workplace. General CCOHS procedures can be found here.
  5. Removal of residual or stored energy – Following manufacturer instructions ensure any stored energy within the system has dissipated.
  6. Lockout/Tagout – Once you’re sure all energy sources are blocked, the system is locked and tagged to ensure it stays in an off and safe position. Each lock should only have one key, and each person working on the system should have their OWN lock.
  7. Verify Isolation – Verify that the system is properly locked out before any work is completed.
  8. Perform Maintenance or Service Activity – Complete the job required while the system is locked and off.
  9. Remove Lockout/Tagout Devices – Inspect the work area to ensure all tools have been removed, confirm that all employees are safely away from the area, verify that controls are in a neutral position, remove devices, re-energize the machine and notify affected employees that servicing is completed.

Following the correct steps in locking and tagging out equipment is the best way to ensure that nobody is harmed while performing maintenance as well as no piece of equipment is used while broken-down.

7. Keep Correct Posture

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

8. Take Your Breaks

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

9. Proper PPE

Personal protective equipment is the last line of defense for workers against hazards. The PPE you use will depend on your work environment, work conditions and the job being performed. It’s important to remember that there are many different variations of PPE and some may be made of materials suitable for one purpose, but not another.

Personal protective equipment does not guarantee permanent or total protection for the wearer, and should be used coupled with other measures to reduce hazards in the workplace. As well, simply having access to some general PPE isn’t enough—to ensure your PPE is providing you with the highest level of protection you must:

  • Carefully select the correct type of PPE based on the type of hazard and degree of protection required
  • Train users to ensure the proper use and fit of the PPE
  • Store and maintain the PPE correctly according to manufacturer guidelines
  • Maintain high-quality PPE by performing regular inspections and discarding/replacing any defective pieces.

10. No Procedure Shortcuts

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

11. Practice Ladder Safety

Before using a ladder you should always take a moment to inspect both the ladder and the area in which you are using it. Before each use, make sure your ladder is in good working condition and doesn’t need any repairs. Good things to look out for are:

  • Missing, loose or damaged steps or rungs (you should not be able to move or shift these by hand)
  • Loose nails, screw, bolts or nuts
  • Rot, decay or warped rails in wooden ladders
  • Cracks and exposed material in fiberglass ladders
  • Rough or splintered surfaces
  • Corrosion, rust, oxidization or excessive wear
  • Twisted or distorted rails
  • Loose or bent hinges or pail shelf
  • Wobble of any kind

If any of these things are present in your ladder, it should not be used and should only be repaired by a trained professional—Don’t try to make temporary makeshift repairs or attempt to straighten bent or bowed ladders on your own.

12. Fall Protection

The most recent report conducted by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), showed that 251,508 Canadian’s accepted claims for lost time due to work-related injury or disease in just one year. Did you know that approximately 18% of those time-loss injuries, or about 42,000 workers a year, are injured due to fall incidents alone? You can prevent falls and incidents like these by wearing proper fall protection equipment, and wearing it right.

If you’re working at a height exceeding 3 meters (10 feet) occupational health and safety laws generally require fall protection measures to be in place. You can check with your jurisdiction as requirements do vary, but in most cases fall protection measures such as fixed barriers, surface opening protections, control zones, fall or travel restraint systems, fall containment systems or fall arrest systems are required. You can learn more about some of these systems by reading our fall protection glossary.

13. Workplace Housekeeping

Workplace housekeeping isn’t just about dusting some selves, it’s an important part of your health and safety measures! Poor housekeeping can be the cause of workplace incidents such as:

  • Trips and slips because of loose objects or wet spots on floors, stairs, and platforms
  • Being hit by falling objects
  • Hitting against projecting, poorly stacked items
  • Cutting or puncturing of the skin on projecting nails, wire or steel strapping

Effective housekeeping programs require ongoing management and attention. It focuses on more than just keeping the workplace neat and tidy, but also deals with the layout of the workplace, aisle marking, storage facilities, and maintenance. A big part of proper workplace housekeeping is ensuring that everything that comes into the workplace has a plan as to where it will be, how it will be handled, and how it will leave the space – including disposal procedures. Often times, injuries result from materials being stored improperly, but that can easily be avoided by having a storage plan and procedure in place.


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

Brand new classrooms and specialized training equipment enable us to provide an even higher quality of service than ever before when it comes to safety training. Whether you’re looking for initial or refresher training, we provide practical, hands-on courses designed to exceed the minimum safety requirements.

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

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

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

Safety Tips | Working in Cold Weather

Safety Tips | Working in Cold Weather

If you have a job in Canada that involves being outside at all, you’ve probably experienced working through the cold weather. If we didn’t work when there’s snow on the ground, when would we ever work – right?! Working in cold conditions isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be dangerous. Yes, even for us Canadians, no amount of adjusting to the cold will make you immune to the possibility of frostbite, numbness, dehydration or hypothermia. If you’re working outside in the cold, it’s important to be aware of the dangers and be prepared to stay safe.

A cold environment presents challenges to workers in three ways:

Air temperature – Air temperature is measured by an ordinary thermometer in degrees Celsius (°C) or degrees Fahrenheit (°F).

Air movement (wind speed) – There are many different types of anemometers that can be used to measure wind speed or air movement. These are calibrated in either meters per second (m/s), kilometers per hour (km/h) or miles per hour (mph). The general rule of thumb is that you’ll find air movement measured in m/s and wind speed in km/h or mph depending on the region. You can estimate wind speed using the following guidelines if accurate information is not available to you:

  • 8 km/h (5 mph): light flags will move
  • 16 km/h (10 mph): light flags will be fully extended
  • 24 km/h (15 mph): raises a newspaper sheet
  • 32 km/h (20 mph): causes blowing and drifting snow

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) also provides recommendations to protect workers from hypothermia and frostbite. Included in these recommendations is the following wind chill temperature index:

Source: Adapted from Threshold Limit Values (TLV) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEI) booklet: published by ACGIH, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2018, page 222.

Humidity (wetness) – Be aware that water conducts heat away from the body 25 times faster than dry air.

It’s important to take these three factors into consideration in order to work safely in the cold. Understanding how these three things can affect you on the job is the only way to be properly prepared!

What Are The Health Concerns Of Working In Cold Temperatures?

Environment Canada has developed the following chart which describes the health concerns and potential for frostbite when being outside at various temperatures. Click to check out the full document, Wind Chill – The Chilling facts.

How to Mitigate Cold Weather Challenges

Physical Activity

Keeping moving is one of the best ways to keep your body warm. While the production of body heat by physical activity (metabolic rate) is difficult to measure – It’s broken down into kilocalories (kcal) per hour, with one kcal being the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by 1°C. But if you don’t speak science talk – think about how hot you get when you work out or do something physically difficult. This works the same on a smaller scale too, so simply keeping yourself moving can help a lot with body temperate regulation.

Work/rest schedule

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) references the “work warm-up schedule” as developed by the Saskatchewan Occupation Health and Safety Division as a good standard practice – But your region may have similar or different regulation in place. This schedule shows the warm-up breaks required for working in cold conditions including the normal breaks that are always to be provided every two hours. The schedule allows additional breaks for workers as the wind velocity at the work site increases and/or the temperature drops.

Note: The information in the chart applies to moderate to heavy physical work activity in any four-hour period. At the end of the four-hour period, an extended break in a warm location is expected. 

Warm-up breaks are assumed to be provided for ten minutes in a warm environment. This guideline applies to workers wearing dry clothing. This guideline is not intended to replace established cold weather work practices that provide workers with better protection.

Protective clothing 

Clothing – Protective clothing is needed when working in temperatures at or below 4°C. Clothing should be selected to suit the temperature, weather conditions (e.g., wind speed, rain), the level and duration of physical activity, and job type. It’s not always about putting on the warmest things possible because if your type of work causes you to excessively sweat, that garment’s insulation value will decrease dramatically. It’s about finding a balance of warm enough – but not too warm.

10 Tips For Optimum Cold Work Clothing 

  1. Clothing should be worn in multiple layers rather than a single thick garment. The air between layers of clothing will actually provide better insulation than the clothing itself! Having several layers also gives you the option to open or remove a layer before you get too warm and start sweating or to add a layer when you take a break.
  2. Your inner layer should provide insulation and be able to “wick” moisture away from the skin to help keep it dry. Thermal underwear made from polyesters or polypropylene is a great option because polypropylene wicks perspiration away from the skin. It also keeps the second layer away from the skin.
  3. The additional layers of clothing should provide adequate insulation for the weather conditions. It’s best to have an outer jacket that’s able to close or open at the waist, neck and wrists to help control the amount of heat that is trapped in, or let out.
  4. When working in wet conditions, the outer layer of clothing must be waterproof.
  5. If the work area cannot be shielded against wind, an easily removable windbreaker garment should be used.
  6. Under extremely cold conditions, heated protective clothing should be made available to you if the work cannot be done on a warmer day (e.g. emergency services)
  7. Always wear a hat suitable for the conditions that will keep your ears warm. If your personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements include a hard hat, a knit cap or liner can reduce excessive heat loss. Consult with the hard hat supplier or manufacturer for appropriate liners that do not compromise the protection provided by the hard hat.
  8. Keep clothing dry. When entering a heated area to rest, remove as much snow as possible to avoid it melting into your clothes. Also allow perspiration to escape by opening up or removing some layers.
  9. If fine manual dexterity is not required, gloves should be used below 4°C for light work and below -7°C for moderate work. For work below -17°C, mittens should be used. (Learn more about the importance of gloves in all conditions and more helpful tips in our blog, Safety Gloves: An Important Part of Your PPE)
  10. Try to avoid cotton as much as possible as it tends to get damp or wet quickly, and loses its insulating properties. Wool or synthetic fibers, on the other hand, will retain heat when wet.

Footwear

Felt-lined, rubber bottomed, leather-topped boots with removable felt insoles are best suited for heavy work in cold since leather is porous, allowing the boots to “breathe” and let perspiration evaporate. Leather boots can be “waterproofed” with some products that do not block the pores in the leather. However, if work involves standing in water or slush (e.g., fire fighting, farming), then waterproof boots must be worn.

You may prefer to wear one pair of thick, bulky socks or two pairs – one inner sock of silk, nylon, or thin wool and a slightly larger, thick outer sock. Liner socks made from polypropylene will help keep feet dry and warm by wicking sweat away from the skin but if the outer sock becomes wet, its insulation properties will decrease. Always have extra socks available so you can dry your feet and change socks during the day!

Check out CCOH’s Foot Comfort and Safety at Work for more general information on how to select footwear!

Face and Eye Protection

In extremely cold conditions, face protection can be used to protect the face from the cold and wind. In this case, any if your required PPE includes eye protection, the eye protection must be separated from the nose and mouth to prevent exhaled moisture fogging or frosting your eye protection. Choose eye protection that will protect against ultraviolet light from the sun, which reflects off of snow as well as protect against blowing snow or ice crystals and high winds at cold temperatures.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypothermia (dangerously low body temperature)

Education and training is your #1 tool in workplace safety. Hypothermia is a medical emergency and If it’s not treated in the early stage, the condition will become life-threatening – Know the signs and you can save a life!

Early Stage

  • Shivering
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of coordination
  • Confusion and disorientation

Late Stage

  • No shivering
  • Blue skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Slowed pulse and breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Request immediate medical assistance

First Aid Steps for Hypothermia

  • Request emergency medical assistance
  • Move the victim into a warm room or shelter
  • Remove any wet clothing
  • Warm the center of the victim’s body first (the chest, neck, head, and groin) using loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets
  • If the victim is conscious, warm beverages may help increase the body temperature. Do not give alcoholic beverages (if that’s not obvious!)
  • After the victim’s body temperature has increased, keep the victim dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck

As mentioned, the #1 way to ensure you’re safety while at work is being in the know – And that comes with proper training and education! Hercules SLR recognizes that and through the Hercules Training Academy, offers an extensive suite of high-quality safety training and certification courses.

Brand new classrooms and specialized training equipment enable us to provide an even higher quality of service than ever before when it comes to safety training. Whether you’re looking for initial or refresher training, we provide practical, hands-on courses designed to exceed the minimum safety requirements.

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

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

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

Ask The Experts | Sling Identification Tags

One of the first things Inspection Technicians look for when inspecting a rigging and lifting sling is if it has a missing or illegible identification tag. But what do all those markings mean, and why are they important? Hercules SLR rigging experts from Brampton, Ontario are on-hand to explain it all.

Your sling’s identification tag provides you with a wealth of essential information to ensure you are lifting safe including: The manufacture of the sling or where it was most recently repaired, the material of the sling, the working load limit (WLL) of the sling, the serial number, the manufacture’s code or stock number and the type of sling.

This is all information that should be taken into account when creating a lifting plan in order to choose the best type of sling for the job based on the WLL, hitch configuration, and capabilities and different sling angles.

All types of sling will come with an identification tag provided by the manufacturer. Over the lifetime of the sling, it’s important to maintain the tag as best as possible in order to keep it legible. If your tag does become damaged, missing, or illegible the sling should immediately be removed from service.

Keeping up with regular inspections will ensure you are never using a chain sling without a tag in proper condition. If you notice a damaged, missing, or illegible tag before your required inspections -- Simply have the tag replaced. While it is considered a repair, additional proof testing would not be needed at that time (unless otherwise required).

What are the Identification Tag Requirements?

The experts at Hercules SLR in Brampton Ontario are answering some key rigging questions over on the Hercules Group of Company’s social media platforms—And this is one of those questions! In the video below, they (quickly) go over the indication tag requirements for chain slings and show you the difference between a tag in good condition, and one that wouldn’t pass inspection.

Alloy Chain Sling Requirements

Each alloy chain sling must be marked with:
  • The name and trademark of the manufacturer (or name of repair location, if replaced)
  • Number of legs
  • Chain size
  • Grade
  • Length (reach)
  • Rated load for (at least) one hitch type and the angle that it was based upon
  • Individual sling identification (i.e. serial number)
  • Date of Manufacture

To keep up with tips like these, follow The Hercules Group of Companies on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn!

But what about all of the other types of sling? Keeping in mind what a legible tag vs. an illegible tag looks like, continue on to see what the requirements are for a variety of different types of sling. However -- ALWAYS check in with the regulations in your jurisdiction, as there may be specialized requirements in your location.   

Wire Rope Sling Requirments

Each wire rope sling must be marked with:
  • The name and trademark of the manufacturer (or name of repair location, if replaced)
  • Rated load for (at least) one hitch type and the angle that it was based upon
  • Diameter or size
  • Number if legs (if more then one)

Metal Mesh Sling Requirements

Each metal mesh sling must be marked with:
  • The name and trademark of the manufacturer (or name of repair location, if replaced)
  • Rated load for (at least) one hitch type and the angle that it was based upon
  • Individual sling identification (ex: serial number)

Synthetic Rope Sling Requirements

Each synthetic rope sling must be marked with:
  • The name and trademark of the manufacturer (or name of repair location, if replaced)
  • Manufacturer’s code or stock number
  • Rated load for (at least) one hitch type and the angle that it was based upon
  • Type of fiber material
  • Number of legs (if more than one)

Synthetic Web Sling Requirements

Each synthetic web sling must be marked with:
  • The name and trademark of the manufacturer (or name of repair location, if replaced)
  • Manufacturer’s code or stock number
  • Rated load for (at least) one hitch type and the angle that it was based upon
  • Type of fiber material
  • Number of legs (if more than one)

Polyester Roundsling Requirements

Each Polyester roundsling must be marked with:
  • The name and trademark of the manufacturer (or name of repair location, if replaced)
  • Manufacturer’s code or stock number
  • Rated load for (at least) one hitch type and the angle that it was based upon
  • Core material
  • Cover material (if different from core material)
  • Number of legs (if more than one)

High-Performance Roundsling Requirements

Each high-performance roundsling must be marked with:
  • The name and trademark of the manufacturer (or name of repair location, if replaced)
  • Manufacturer’s code or stock number
  • Rated load for (at least) one hitch type and the angle that it was based upon
  • Core yarn including fiber type(s) or blend
  • Cover material (if different from core material)
  • Number of legs (if more than one)

Performing a lifting job safely doesn’t happen due to luck—It happens with the proper knowledge and preparedness! Keeping an eye on your sling’s indication tag to ensure it’s not damaged, missing or illegible is an important part of that preparedness.

But when it comes to ensuring your equipment is operating correctly and safely, leave it to the experts! Keeping up with regular inspections will keep you worry-free when it comes to the safety of your equipment and will have a major effect on unscheduled outages and business costs!

Find all your Securing, Lifting and Rigging solutions under one roof at Hercules SLR. Whether you’re in the market to purchase a sling, needing it inspected or seeking out maintenance Hercules SLR has you covered!

We’ve got you covered for more than just slings! Hercules SLR inspects, repairs and certifies:

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

Our experienced and LEEA certified team will ensure that your equipment complies with ASME and provincial regulations. Once inspections, repairs, and testing is completed, we will supply full certification on your equipment to show that it complies with provincial and national safety regulations.


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

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