Fall for Safety: Tips for Autumn Yard Maintenance

Fall for Safety: Tips for Autumn Yard Maintenance

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

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

Leaf Removal

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

Safety Tips for Raking

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

Leaf Blowing Safety

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

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

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

Gutter Cleaning

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

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

Ladder Safety Quick Tips

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

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

Trimming Branches

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

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

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

Set-up

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

Operation

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

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

Learn to Rig it Right in Hamilton, ON: Meet Trainer Steve Hache

hercuels slr rigging trainer steve hache

Meet your Hercules SLR Trainer, Steve Hache CD

Get ready for our first-ever two-day training course, ‘Fundamentals of Rigging’ at Hercules SLR in Hamilton, Ontario.

Time to meet the teacher—Steve Hache, CD is one of our experience Training Specialists and will lead the Fundamentals of Rigging course. We sit down with Steve to talk more about his role and why he decided to enter training as a career path.

Tell us about your educational background:

Steve: It was a dream of mine to pursue a career in the Canadian Armed Forces so, I joined the Royal Canadian Navy (RNC) when I was 19 years-old. I spent 21 years of dedicated service in the RCN, trained and became qualified in a number of technical aspects that range from complex seamanship evolutions, boarding operations, crane operations, forklift operation, small arms, to rigging and hoisting.

After this, I worked in the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC—One of the most recognized colleges in the East Coast) faculty and was introduced to the adult education field. I had an interest in safety, so I earned my diploma in Adult Education-Teaching, Learning and went on to complete the Construction Safety Supervisor certification through the Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association.

steve hache, hercules slr trainer
Steve Hache, CD.

In my professional career, I continue to learn—Some of the most memorable experiences were training in the United Arab Emirates in course design at HBI Learning Centers in Sydney, Australia and Adult Education & Assessment at the Global Maritime & Transportation School in New York, USA.  

What made you decide to go into this industry?

I was most accustomed to the safety, rigging & hoisting industries, since there were constant opportunities to operate cranes, forklifts or perform rigging & hoisting operations in the RCN.

Nearly everyday, we removed or replaced machinery from engineering spaces, load or unload missiles, torpedoes, stores and operate cranes—Rigging and hoisting was routine.

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

Steve: When I retired from the RCN, I accepted a job at an American security company in the United Arab Emirates. There, I was exposed to a new, exciting culture and got to train their Coast Guard in seamanship, basic boat operations, tactical boat operations and maritime law enforcement.

This was an extremely challenging and rewarding experience!

After a couple of years in the UAE, I came home—This was when I joined the faculty as NSCC. I took a temporary position at NSSC as faculty of the Marine-Industrial Rigging program. There, I turned a part-time program into a full-time program. The faculty and staff of NSCC were first-rate! I learned a great deal from each person.

When the temporary position ended, I worked as a training manager and Fall Protection Trainer where I learned & honed my training skills even more. Then came Hercules SLR—The rest is history!

What made you want to transition into training?

Steve: It wasn’t difficult for me to speak to large groups of people, since I’ve been doing it since I entered the workforce—In the military, I had to brief, command on and supervise complex seaman evolutions along with rigging & boat operations.

However, teaching and training didn’t always come naturally. My first role as a trainer in the RCN where I was posted to the Bedford Rifle Range as a small arms instructor. I was nervous at first, but I grew to love it—Who knew I enjoyed speaking in front of people?!

Since, my career has always involved speaking tolarge groups of people, which is a must-have skill for a trainer.

Why did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?LEEA Header

Steve: That’s easy – I have always appreciated the staff at Hercules SLR. When I was faculty at NSCC, they consistently treated myself and any student that I sent their way with the utmost respect and care. The program work terms that the students completed were extremely beneficial to them and also ended up with employment for a number of them. We developed and maintained a positive working relationship. 

Is there anything you hope to accomplish during your career in the industry? 

Steve: I hope to take more LEEA (Lifting Equipment Engineering Association) courses to further my knowledge —It’s important to never stop learning. However, my main focus is to continue to contribute to today’s safety culture.


FIND MORE INFORMATION ON THE ‘FUNDAMENTALS OF RIGGING’ COURSE AT HERCULES SLR IN HAMILTON, ONTARIO

LEARN TO RIG IT RIGHT


TRAIN WITH THE BEST AT HERCULES SLR. CONTACT SHERRY BOHM TO LEARN MORE OR SIGN UP FOR THE FUNDAMENTALS OF RIGGING COURSE IN HAMILTON, ONTARIO

SBOHM@HERCULESSLR.COM  1 (905) 538-3217


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

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

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

NEW! Train with the Best in Hamilton, Ontario

rigging course, fundamentals of rigging in hamilton ontario

NEW! Train with the Best in Hamilton, Ontario

Learn the skills to life safely, securely & efficiently at the Rigging Fundamentals course at Hercules SLR in Brampton, Ontario on July 15 and 16 from 8:30am to 4:30pm. 

Join our all-day, LEEA-accredited course with lifting & rigging expert Trainer Steve Hache and learn the fundamental skills of rigging to perform work in the marine, entertainment, construction, oil or transportation industry. 

Rigging is an excellent career or skill if you’re interested in mechanics & how things work, working in a variety of different locations on different machinery and keeping others safe & secure. 

At the Hercules SLR ‘Fundamentals of Rigging’ Training Course, you’ll learn:  

  • Regulations and standards relevant in Canada & North America 
  • Risk assessment & management 
  • How to create and execute a rigging plan 
  • How to calculate load weight 
  • What is the rigging triangle
  • How to find the centre of gravity and calculate sling angles 
  • Pre-use inspection
  • How to communicate on a rigging site (I.E. radio, hand signals, etc.) 
  • Learn about and how to use rigging equipment like slings, hitches, hardware and hooks

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU EXPECT AT THE FUNDAMENTALS OF RIGGING COURSE?

fundamentals of rigging in hamilton, ontario
Couse outline—Click here. 

GET TO KNOW YOUR HERUCLES SLR TRAINER:

MEET STEVE HACHE, CD


TRAIN WITH THE BEST!

FOR MORE INFORMATION, OR TO SIGN-UP FOR THE FUNDAMENTALS OF RIGGING COURSE CALL OR EMAIL SHERRY BOHM, CSR: 

SBOHM@HERCULESSLR.COM  1 (905) 538-3217


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

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

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

Hercules Training Academy: Employees Learn the Industry

hercules training academy outdoor rigging

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

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

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

hercules-training-academy-securing-lifting-rigging

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

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

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


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

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

 

Hercules Training Academy – Raising the Bar in Training

Hard hats

Did you know that our new Training Academy is just a few weeks away from opening its doors?

Construction is underway! Brand new classrooms and specialized training equipment will enable us to provide an even higher quality of service than ever before when it comes to safety training.

Hercules SLR offers 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.

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, get in touch with us today. One of our training representatives would be happy to help you get started.

Be sure to check back for additional news updates on the progress of the Academy and to find out what we have in store for the launch day.

It’s time to TRAIN with the BEST!! To learn more about our courses available contact us at training@herculeslsr.com or click here to view our course overviews.

 

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 SLR, Hercules Machining & Millwright Services, Spartan Industrial Marine, Stellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

 

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