10 Ways You Can Use a Tarp & Why Everyone Needs One

10 Ways You Can Use a Tarp & Why Everyone Needs One

Tarps, short for tarpaulins, are large sheets of strong, flexible, water-resistant or waterproof material, often cloth such as canvas or polyester coated with polyurethane, or made of plastics such as polyethylene. Inexpensive modern tarps are made from woven polyethylene; this material is so associated with tarpaulins that it has become colloquially known in some quarters as polytarp.

Fun fact: The word tarpaulin originated as a compound of the words tar and palling, referring to a tarred canvas pall used to cover objects on ships.

Tarps come in many different shapes and sizes and are classified based many different factors, such as material type (polyethylene, canvas, vinyl, etc.), thickness, which is generally measured in mils or generalized into categories (such as “regular duty”, “heavy duty”, “super heavy duty”, etc.), and grommet strength (simple vs. reinforced).

Since the mid-19th century, tarps have been put to MANY different uses, MUCH more then the 10 we’re going to touch base on today in this blog. However, here are 10 ways you can use a tarp, and why everyone should have one. After reading this list, you’ll be sure to have one stashed away, just in case!

1. Transportation

Of course, one of the most common and typical uses for a tarp is within the transportation industry. Here at Hercules SLR, we serve this essential industry in many ways including the sale of tarps (contact us if you’d like to learn more!). One of the most common uses of tarps within the transportation industry is flatbed trailer tarps. Flatbed trailer tarps protect cargo from weather damage and general wear-and-tear that highway travel can cause.

Types of Flatbed Tarps
  1. Lumber Tarps – Lumber tarps are used on loads that are tall and box-shaped. They have flaps at each end to cover the ends of lumber. Usually, two lumber tarps are used to cover a flatbed load.
  2. Steel Tarps – Steel tarps on the most commonly used flatbed trailer tarp. They are used to protect shorter and lower-profile loads, and also used in combination with lumber tarps.
  3. Smoke Tarps – Smoke tarps only cover the upper front portion of a flatbed load. This protects loads from getting covered in exhaust fumes and dirt.
  4. Machinery Tarps – Machinery tarps are designed to protect manufacturing or machine equipment from weather and road vibration.
  5. Coil Tarps – Coil tarps are commonly used to protect steel or aluminum coils and cable spools during transport. Their rounded top-half allows for a fitted cover over cylinder-shaped loads. The side flaps are more rectangular shaped and split in each corner to allow the transport chain to pass through.

2. Shelters/Tents

Many people consider tarps to be one of the handiest things to carry in their camping or survival bag. A basic tarp shelter can keep your head dry, it will help you conserve heat and it provides a sense of comfort and safety. Making a tarp shelter is easy and there are dozens of different ways and patterns to construct a suitable shelter with only a single tarp.

You can find many different ways to construct a tarp shelter but the A-Frame shelter is probably the most common. It’s made by stringing a paracord between two trees and draping the tarp over it. This shelter provides good rain and snow runoff and a good wind deflection. The downside of the A-frame shelter is that there is no floor, but you can solve that issue by, you guessed it, another tarp!

3. Water Catcher 

Another way a tarp can be a valuable part of your emergency preparedness kit is that it can be used to collect rainwater. People living off the grid sometimes use tarps to set up very elaborate rainwater collection systems – but even the novice wilderness adventure lover can experience truly living off the resources of the land while camping by collecting rainwater using a tarp. You can do this by securing a tarp to trees, allowing the tarp to dip down in the middle. Rainwater will collect here and can be consumed directly without needing to boil or purify the water. Most rain is perfectly safe to drink and maybe even be cleaner than the public water supply! However,  rainwater is only as clean as its container. So if your tarp is not clean or unable to stay clean during the collection process, you will need to boil and filter to ensure it’s safe to drink.

4. No More Weeds in the Garden

You can also put tarps to use in your yard! If pulling weeds makes you want to pull your hair out, there’s a simple solution – a tarp! Canadian farmer Jean-Martin Fortier recommends in his 2014 book, “The Market Gardener”, preventing weeds by laying black tarps on the piece of ground you’d like to make into your garden bend, before planting. It’s important to use a dark tarp as its dark color absorbs heat and warms the soil. The tarp will smother weeds before planting and also deter future one growing in the bed. Not only will this let you start your garden off with zero weeds, and limit the amount in the future but it will also improve the quality of the soil as well as attract earthworms tunneling up to the surface, and in effect, till it for you!

5. Dragging Heavy Items

As we mentioned above, tarps are used in many different facets of landscaping and gardening, including being used as a way to transport things around your yard! This one may be new to you, but tarps make it super easy to drag otherwise heavy and hard-to-move loads from one part of your yard to the other. Need to move a pile of dirt or leaves? Load it on top of a tarp and simply drag it to your next location. Find out how in the video below!

Pro tip: We would suggest having a specific tarp for these types of jobs or even retiring an old tarp for this use as you do run the risk of snagging the material on rocks or other debris on your yard, making it lose the ability to be used in other ways!

6. Covering Damaged Areas

Another way you may have seen tarps being used before is to temporarily cover areas of damage. One of the most common fixes people turn to a tarp to solve is a broken window. During the course of homeownership, you are bound to face a broken window at some point. Permanently repairing a broken window is not always an immediate option, but a quick fix will help keep weather and insects out until you can manage a more permanent repair or replacement.

7. Keeping things Clean

Tarps don’t just keep water out, they can keep just about anything out – including dirt, pet hair, small debris, and so much more! This makes tarps incredibly useful at keeping things clean. One of the most common ways this is put to use is within the car! Drape a tarp over your back seat and suddenly you have a totally spill-proof, dirt-proof, area to transport some messy things! Load the dog into the back after a day at the beach, or a pile of firewood on the way to the cottage and then simply remove the tarp and you have no mess to clean!

8. Blocking Wind & Creating Privacy 

While a tarp may not always make the most attractive wall, it can make a pretty effective one in the short term or in a pinch. Tie a tarp up to one side of a deck, to some trees around a campsite, or anywhere else where you’d like to block out the wind and create a temporary privacy barrier.

Check out the article which walks you through how to put of a temporary tarp wall anywhere, using a DIY support frame: How to Use a Tarp for a Privacy Screen

9. WATERSLIDE

Tarps aren’t just useful, they can be fun! Check out this video where the “I Like to Make Stuff” YouTube channel made a video where he made a 100ft Slip N Slide using a tarps. While you don’t need to take on a project this large, a little water on a tarp in the backyard can lead to hours of fun.

Pro Tip: Have fun, but be safe! Never run on or around a wet tarp and always survey the area for rocks or other debris before sliding around.

10. Keeping it all DRY

And, of course, you can use a tarp to keep just about anything dry. Lots of people find out the hard way how much damage water can do, and having a tarp around can stop that damage in a moment’s notice. You never know when you’ll need to protect something from water and/or rain – so keep a backup tarp around just in case! Use it as a car or ATV cover, cover a load on the back of your pickup, cover a temporary leak on the roof of the shed, protect your plants from a storm and SO MUCH MORE!


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.

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.

10 Tips for Time on Your Hands at Home

10 Tips for Time on Your Hands at Home

We are all spending more time at home than usual right now during the ongoing health crisis and with time on our hands, we need to think of ways to occupy ourselves. Here are 10 top tips to keep you entertained.

1. A fun, home DIY project

DIY doesn’t have to be a chore— Why not try your hand at making a rope ottoman. An old tire, some manila rope, and a few tools will have you sitting pretty all summer! Check out our blog here for a how to!

2. At-home movie nights

From Netflix to the Play Store, there are so many options to stream movies at home now! Make some popcorn and dim the lights to turn your den, living room or basement into a home movie theatre. Have fun and make each movie night a different theme like “scary movies,” “rom com’s,” “Thrillers” or “animated classics!”

3. Reading challenge

Take a break from the computer, phone or tablet and pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read! Challenge yourself to read something out of your preferred genre, or maybe try to finish a book a week. This is a great way to de-stress and escape from the current, stressful climate.

4. Exercise

Keep your body and immune system strong by doing some home exercise. Your gym may be closed right now, but that doesn’t mean you should slack on your fitness routine! There are thousands of fitness tutorials online ranging from yoga to weight training, that you can follow along with from the comfort of your home.

5. Catch up with loved ones

Physical distancing doesn’t mean we have to stop communicating. Whether it’s through social media, an email or phone call, reach out to friends and family to ask them how they’re doing, have a laugh, or simply catch up.

6. The Friday Food Crawl

With delivery apps a plenty, you don’t have to miss out on your favorite restaurants! Most eateries are offering delivery options now. Look up local restaurants in your neighborhood and make an order! Make it a fun Friday night event with different themes like “Pasta” or “Fish & Chips”

7. Spring cleaning

You know it has to be done, so why not start now? Use this time to clear out your closet, give your kitchen a long-needed deep clean and any other tidying up you’ve been putting off over the last few months. You’ll have a great sense of satisfaction once it’s done and out of the way!

8. Game on!

It’s always a good idea to take a break from the technology once in a while. Board games, card games and puzzles are a great way to have some tech-free fun and bond with family. There are so many different board games on the market and the good thing is, you can order them online.

9. Learn something

Take some time to learn something new while you’re at home! Dust off that camera sitting in your garage, hone your cooking skills, or even take an online class in a subject you’re interested in. Sites like Skillshare, Coursera and even YouTube offer thousands of virtual tutorials and classes to help you learn something new.

10. Pamper yourself—Ladies and Gents

Turn your home into a personal spa paradise! Kick back and do a face mask, manicure, soak your feet, or even get your partner to give you a romantic back massage. Just because your favorite salon or spa is closed, it doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in some relaxing self-care.

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

Professor Leo’s Forklift Safety Tips – Hercules SLR

Forklift 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!

Feel free to download and share!

For more great content, be sure to follow our blog! New stuff added all the time!

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON RIGGING,

CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

A BRIEF HISTORY OF ELEVATOR WIRE ROPE

WIRE ROPE: A MANUFACTURING AND TRANSPORTATION PIONEER

WOMEN IN INDUSTRY – INSPECTION TECHNICIAN HEATHER YOUNG


STAY IN THE LOOP—FOLLOW US

: FACEBOOK  : LINKEDIN : TWITTER         : INSTAGRAM


Is a career in rigging right for you? Hercules SLR will lift you there.

Click here to learn more about career opportunities across Canada with Hercules SLR. 

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

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