Ask the Experts | What’s a Rigger?

Ask the Experts |What’s a Rigger?

What is a rigger? A rigger is a person responsible for securing a load to lift, pull, hoist, or move in general. They’re responsible for making sure the right equipment and hardware are used for a lift, the right methods are used to lift and the equipment used is operated properly, by a qualified professional.

You might wonder, “Don’t all construction sites move and lift things?” And you’d be correct – functions of rigging are used on construction sites daily. However, a rigger’s responsibilities are a bit more specific. They may be brought onto a construction site to move the construction crew’s large machinery (think a skid steer or forklift) to another part of the site. Other roles a rigger might perform on, or for, are:

  • Signal Person: This person is responsible to signal, with verbal or physical cues to workers’ who operate the lifting equipment, especially cranes.
  • Inspector/Fabricator: This person is involved in fabricating the equipment used to lift, and is also likely to be used on the construction site to repair, inspect or certify rigging equipment and other lifting apparatus’ used on site.
  • Controller: This person may be involved in operating the equipment used to lift, mechanical, or otherwise. They could operate a crane, electric chain hoist, or other moving gear and direct the path of hard-to-move loads.
  • Assess and install: A rigger will determine the best equipment to be used for the load.

Lots of rigging happens in many industries daily, but a rigger may be called in to lift a load that requires specialized equipment to get the job done. Certain lifts, or equipment you need to complete those lifts, may be regulated or require certifications to operate them. In these circumstances, a rigger would be called in to complete the lift or to assess the load and determine which equipment should be applied.

A #HercAtWork Example

For example, one of our riggers’ was called to a site to move an excavator that had broken down. They needed the equipment moved so it could be repaired, and Hercules SLR was brought in to find the best methods and tools to lift and move it.

The project manager wanted to use two synthetic round slings to lift the excavator by its tracks. Before the move, Hercules SLR riggers’ discussed the clients’ needs and expectations. The two riggers’ on the job gave their recommendations and went beyond that by finding the excavator’s manual which detailed its lifting points, and which hardware was best to use. Then, our riggers’ calculated the excavator’s load weight – after collecting and calculating all relevant information, they found that synthetic round slings’ were specifically not recommended to lift this particular excavator.

If the project manager had simply bought the equipment he thought best to lift the excavator, it’s very likely he would have damaged a $100,000+ piece of equipment – yikes.

What Skills a Rigger Needs

Some of the skills a rigger should have, are:

  • Math & Science: Physics and other calculations are an everyday part of securing and rigging a load. Determining an objects’ centre of gravity, for example, is an essential skill.
  • Operating Machinery: Operating machinery is another everyday part of rigging. Much of this machinery is electric, but manual pulley’s and hoists are used, too. If you have an interest in mechanics and problem-solving, rigging could be a great path for you.
  • Adaptability: Depending on the type of rigging done, a riggers’ travels can take you to faraway destinations – some of the places Hercules SLR’s riggers have gone to include Sable Island, Mexico and offshore destinations, which can be particularly isolated.
  • Risk Management, Communication & Planning: Imagine this – you’re working with a construction crew, and you’re responsible to help build a commercial kitchen. You’ve rigged part of a large industrial walk-in refrigerator, but forgot to assess the hazardous risk for chemical refrigerants. The load’s weight hasn’t been distributed evenly and the load sways and crashes against an obstacle, damaging the container and causing it to leak. Many refrigerants contain harmful, environment-damaging chemicals and now, you’re the rigger responsible for damage to the environment, people and the equipment. Situations like this can have harmful financial, legal and fatal consequences for the rigger and everyone else involved. This is why it’s important to understand the machinery, physics and the risks associated with securing and lifting various loads – planning and being able to communicate with all involved on the job site is crucial to manage risk.

Some of the things taught on a rigging course are:

  • Regulations/Standards
  • Rigging Planning
  • Rigging Triangle
  • Load Control
  • Sling angles
  • Rigging Equipment (slings, hitches, hardware, hooks)
  • Pre-use Inspection
  • Communications (radio and hand signals)
  • Practical Application of the equipment and principles

A Riggers Many Job Titles

As we explored in this article, a rigger performs many different duties, functions, and must be responsible for many different aspects of a lift. Industrial trades, like construction, are often associated with rigging, but riggers’ are found across nearly every industry. They might not be called a rigger, either – someone who rigs might also have these job titles:

  • Boat/Ship/Marine Rigger
  • Crane Erector
  • Crane Operator
  • Crane Rigger
  • Entertainment/Stage/Theatrical Rigger
  • Gear Repairer
  • Gripper/Stage Grip
  • Hook Tender
  • Labourer
  • Loft Rigger
  • Machinery Mover
  • Material Handler
  • Offshore Inspection Technician
  • Offshore Rigger
  • Parachute Rigger
  • Rigging Foreman
  • Rig Worker
  • Scaffolder
  • Slinger/Ring
  • Warehouse Associate

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.

What’s a Banksman? An Important Rigging Role

What’s a Banksman? An Important Rigging Role

Have you ever needed to back your vehicle out of a difficult position and had a friend grab a better vantage point to guide you? In these situations, you may be able to hear your guide – but oftentimes rely on them signaling you to move, turn, or stop using hand signals.

Now, imagine that on the scale of operating a crane! A crane operator can’t hear you. So when your team removes an old rooftop unit and positions a new one, the people on the ground and on the rooftop must use established hand signals to communicate safely with the crane operator – that’s the role of the banksman! Of course, that’s boiling it down a bit, but largely the banksman is in charge of crane movements from the point of loading to unloading. A banksman may also control the movements of other equipment such as an excavator, by carefully monitoring the bucket for any obstructions or underground services. They often do this using a system of hand signals along with possibly a radio system.

Why the Worksite Needs a Banksman 

The role of the banksman is one of the most important roles on the worksite. Ask any crane operator and they will tell you that one of the main factors for a successful project is coordination. Working in-sync with your team on the ground is not only crucial for safety but can help your project run smoothly, on schedule and keep the boss happy. With absolute precision and accuracy needed for a job, being able to clearly communicate direction is critical – but this is not always an easy task.

It’s easy to imagine needing to use hand signals when communicating to the crane operator, but they are also needed on the ground. Construction sites can be exceptionally loud and busy, meaning verbal communication is at risk of being drowned out by roaring machinery.

As the eyes and the ears of a dedicated area or crane, a banksman carries many responsibilities.  Before a person can direct the operation of a crane they must first undergo formal training and complete a qualification in crane signaling. In training, a person will not only develop an understanding of standard hand signals, but they will also be required to become familiar with many different types of cranes, how each crane functions and any hand signals specific to particular equipment. The trainee banksman is required to grasp an understanding of the large library of signals without any memory prompts and show competence in recalling these during an examination by a third-party provider.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard method of signaling must be used when operating a crane unless non-standard hand signals are discussed during the pre-job meeting. OSHA enforces standards and training requirements for safe working environments across multiple industries, including construction in the United States.

Train to be a Rigger Slinger Banksman with Hercules Training Academy 

OVERVIEW

This training course provides students with the fundamental knowledge and practical skills of lifting and rigging to enable them to prepare, sling and release loads in an offshore environment. This is a 3-day program that combines theory and practical training. Students are evaluated by means of a written test and practical evaluation. Upon successful completion of the program, a certificate will be issued.

This program meets and exceeds the standards for offshore rigging set by:

CONTENT 
  • Regulations, standards, associations
  • Risk management
  • Rigging plan
  • Calculating load weight
  • Rigging triangle
  • Load control
  • Sling angles and the center of gravity
  • Rigging equipment (slings, hitches, hardware, hooks)
  • Pre-use inspection
  • Duties & responsibilities of the rigger and banksman
  • Communications (radio and hand signals)
  • Personnel transfer
  • Container inspection
  • Practical applications of the equipment and principles

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF

*PPSSTTTT… If you’re from or near Mount Pearl, NL, this course will be offered on Sep 28-30. Contact training@herculesslr.com for more info or to register! 

Keeping the Worksite Safe

The banksman is also responsible for preventing injury and accidents to the best of their ability, this is done by following strict procedure during crane operation, for instance standing in clear view of the crane operator, ensuring the operating area is clear of people or hazardous objects and performing one signal at a time to avoid confusion.

Safety is the number one concern for crane operators, a person performing the hand signals stand at a vantage point which allows them to view the load area from a perspective that is not visible to the crane operator. From this point, the signal person is able to confirm whether a maneuver is safe to perform and halt all activity if they observe a potential risk.

Cranes have incredible capabilities however if operated incorrectly, they can pose a significant danger to construction workers on the site and in some cases the public.  Hand signals have been established as a reliable, low tech and universal way to improve safety during operation and avoid accidents.

The Hand Signals

This age-old technique is used by crane operators across the world, aiding them to accurately receive unmistakable directions without the need for fancy equipment or even words!

Download your Hercules, handy reference sheet illustrating the correct hand signals here

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL LIST OF OSHA STANDARD METHOD HAND SIGNALS.


Safety Tips | The Importance of Forklift Training

Safety Tips | The Importance of Forklift Training

The Forklift is an incredibly useful piece of equipment, used throughout many industries to enhance productivity, speed up processes and protect the health and safety of employees. But they can also be extremely dangerous, with thousands of forklift accidents every year resulting in sometimes serious injuries, and usually caused by improper and unsafe operation or lack of training for the operatives.

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

The most common causes of fatal forklift accidents include:

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

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

What factors of your work environment contribute to forklift incidents?

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

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

Training Requirements

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

  • Employers must have a training program that incorporates general principles of safe operation, the types of vehicle(s) used, any hazards created by using forklifts and powered industrial trucks, and CCOHS general safety requirements.
  • Trained forklift operators must know how to do the job safely, as demonstrated in a workplace evaluation.
  • Employers must provide formal and practical training. This may include using some combination of lecture, video, software training, written material, demonstrations, and practical exercise.
  • Employers must certify that operators have received all necessary training and evaluate each operator at least once every three years.
  • Employers must evaluate the operator’s performance and deem the employee competent to operate a powered industrial truck prior to operating the truck.

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

Hercules Training Academy: Forklift Safety (Narrow or Counterbalance)

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

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

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

Forklift Driving | Safety Tips

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

 


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

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

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

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 | Working on a Roof

Safety Tips | Working on a Roof

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

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

4 Most Common Rooftop Hazards

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

1. Unsecured Access Points

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

2. Roof Construction and Equipment

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

3. Obstructed Views and Poor Edge Awareness

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

4. Structural failure

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

But That’s Not All…

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

If you’re working at a height exceeding 3 meters (10 feet) occupational health and safety laws generally require fall protection measures to be in place. You can check with your jurisdiction as requirements do vary, but in most cases fall protection measures are required. That’s where things like roofers kits and other fall protection equipment come into play. Roofers kits are a great tool for general fall protection while working on a roof, because it provides you with everything you need to safely secure yourself. But, Hercules SLR offers a wide range of fall protection equipment and our experts would be happy to set you up with the right equipment based on your needs – All it takes is a quick phone call or email!

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

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


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

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

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

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

CERTIFICATION VALIDITY 

3 Years

DURATION

1 Day

LOCATION

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

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

We are Open | Hercules Training Academy

Hercules Training Academy remains open during these unprecedented times.

As always, your safety is our priority.

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

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

The Precautions We Are Taking 

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

Instructor-Led Online and Blended Learning 

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

We will be offering the following courses completely online:

Blended Learning

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

We will be offering the following courses through blended learning:

The Ready to Work Bundle – Starting May 4th

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

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

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

NEW Advanced Rigger Technician 4-Day Program 

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

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


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

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To learn more about our courses please visit us online here

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

Safety Tips | Working on Scaffolds

Safety Tips | Working on Scaffolds

The most recent report conducted by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), showed that 251,508 Canadian’s accepted claims for lost time due to work-related injury or disease in just one year. 18% of those time-loss injuries, or about 42,000 workers a year, are injured due to fall incidents alone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Erecting and Dismantling

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

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

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

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

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

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

Improper Loading or Overloading

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

Platforms not Fully Planked or “Decked”

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

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

Platforms Without Guardrails

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

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

Failure to Instal All Required Components

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

Climbing Up and Down

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

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

Electrical Contact with Overhead Wires

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

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

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

Planks Sliding Off or Breaking

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

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

Moving Rolling Scaffolds with Workers on the Platform

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


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

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

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

Content includes:

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

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

 

Winter Forklift Safety Tips

Winter Forklift Safety Tips

Hopefully, your car is fully prepared for winter—What about your forklift?

Winter in Canada can be a beautiful thing, fresh layers of glistening white snow coating trees and a shiny layer of frost on the grass…But as Canadian’s we know it’s not always quite that glamorous. Canadian winters require a lot of planning and preparation – It means it’s time to dig the shovels out from the back of the shed, making sure the winter tires get on the car in time and pull the winter coat from the back of the closet.

As good as Canadians have come to be at preparing for winter, there are some things that still may fall through the cracks. You may not realize the extra safety precautions that need to be taken when operating a forklift in the winter.

Read on to learn how to stay safe while operating a forklift this winter!

Prepare Your Forklift for Winter

Forklift operators should give their forklift a detailed inspection to minimize the chance of experiencing a forklift breakdown and getting stuck in the middle of an aggressive winter storm. Getting a tuneup ahead of winter is always recommended. And of course, as always ensure you are up to date on all of your scheduled service visits and inspections. Things to ensure are in tip-top shape before braving the winter months are:

  • Tires: Check tires for proper air pressure (for pneumatic tires) and to ensure that there is sufficient depth on your treads (needed for both solid and air-filled tires). For forklifts operating in snow or ice specialized forklift chains can be installed to provide extra grip
  • Lights: Winter doesn’t just bring cold weather, it also means darker days – So ensuring your lights are in working order is something you may not think of, but is especially important. Tip – If your forklift uses halogen lighting it may be a good time to consider upgrading to LED, which lasts longer, shines brighter and is not affected by freezing temperatures or the vibrations created by your forklift during operation!
  • Hydraulics: Frigid winter temperatures can cause joints to stiffen up so ensure all of your moving parts are well-lubricated.
  • Cabs: If your forklift has an enclosed cab and windshield (recommended for winter conditions), be sure the heater and windshield wipers are working correctly and that all latches are lubricated.
  • Cooling System: It is important to ensure there is the correct amount of anti-freeze used in the coolant system. Anti-freeze ensures that the engine will not freeze solid and block the coolant system, which can lead to a number of problems including dangerous overheating.

It’s also important to remember to allow your forklift to warm up before using it. Everyone knows you’re supposed to let your car warm up during cold weather, a forklift is no different! Allowing it to warm up lessens the chance of combustion and transmission-related problems occurring.

Ensure Forklift Operators are Appropriately Clothed

Pre-winter planning is not limited to the equipment itself, especially for work that takes place outdoors. It’s important to make sure operators are equipped to do the job under more challenging conditions. Clothing needs to be able to protect operators from snow, ice, wet and slippery conditions, cold or strong winds and limited visibility.

To protect the most vulnerable areas of the body against frostbite (i.e., the ears, nose, fingers, and toes) operators need to wear appropriate protective gear including a warm hat, gloves, face mask, and water-proof boots while operating a forklift (or during most work, for that matter!) Layers are the key here, so pairing these items with wind-proof, water-resistant and high visibility outerwear, is the best way to tackle the cold and wet conditions found throughout the winter months.

Always keep in mind typical year-round PPE such as protective eyewear, hard hats, steel-toe boots or safety gloves and ensure bundling up isn’t inhibiting your ability to wear those things. You may need to purchase specialized PPE meant to keep you safe & warm at the same time like NORTH OF 49° gloves.

north of 49 work gloves ppe hand protection safety

Operator Training and Education

Beyond supplying the proper equipment to your employees, it’s essential to educate your operators with the fundamental knowledge and practical skills of operating a forklift. The Hercules SLR Training Academy can deliver this training (and more!) at The Hercules Training Academy or it can also be delivered on-site. The content covers:

  • Regulations
  • Hazard assessment
  • Pre-use inspections
  • Equipment stability
  • Operating principles
  • Refueling
  • Battery care

When it comes to managing the additional challenges posed by the winter weather, these steps can help navigate you through your shift ensuring you’re keeping the most important elements in mind:

Before Your Shift

  • Conduct a proper pre-operation inspection of the forklift. Record and report any issues.
  • Check the weather outside and make sure to adjust driving habits to current weather conditions.
  • Install and check all winter items – Including weatherized PPE and things like tire chains if needed on your forklift.
  • Avoid cold starts by allowing the forklift to properly warm-up before operating.

During Your Shift

  • Only travel as fast as the weather conditions permit – Slow down if needed and drive carefully.
  • Remove any accumulation of snow on windscreens, lights, etc. to maintain proper visibility.
  • Be sure to stop working if conditions deteriorate such as: slippery driving conditions (don’t let this be you!), limited visibility, etc. – Safety first! 
  • Try to avoid short run times (less than 30 minutes) as forklift engines tend to run a richer fuel mixture during the first 20 minutes of operation. This means it is possible for water vapor to accumulate in the engine oil and exhaust system in the cold, as evaporation isn’t possible. Try to plan your day so you can do multiple forklift tasks at once instead of scattered throughout the day.

After Your Shift

  • Clean the forklift – Remove all snow, dirt, and salt in order to prevent rust and corrosion.
  • Make sure to plug in the forklift’s block and/or battery heater to avoid issues at the start of the next shift.
  • Park the forklift in a warm and dry place in between uses to avoid issues related to ice formation.

Click here to view the Forklift Safety Training course overview.

Through our Hercules Training Academy, we offer 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. training@herculesslr.com.

 


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.

7 Common Misuses Of Fall Protection Equipment

common misuses of fall protection equipment

7 Common Misuses Of Fall Protection Equipment

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? 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.

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 used properly.

In this blog, we will be talking a bit about 7 common misuses of fall protection equipment, to serve as a reminder for things to look out for, but should be used in conjunction with proper training. The Hercules Training Academy offers an extensive suite of high-quality safety training and certification courses, including a course on fall protection!

1. Misuse of Rebar Snap Hooksfall protection repair snap hooks

Rebar hooks (also referred to as pelican hooks, large gates or form hooks) are frequently used pieces of equipment in the fall protection world because their large openings make them quick and easy to use. They also allow for connection to many objects, eliminating the need for additional anchorage connectors. However, not using an additional connector can be very dangerous in the wrong circumstances and rebar hooks are only approved for specific configurations so if you use them outside of those configurations, it can present a safety hazard to workers.

The best way to mitigate the misuse of rebar snap hooks is to ensure that the anchorage connector D-ring is larger than the snap hook to avoid side loading. Since this is difficult to achieve, oftentimes workers choose to use a small anchor strap instead with some workplaces not allowing the use of snap hooks all together!

2. Misuse of Lanyards

A common mistake made with lanyards is users wrapping them back upon themselves. Most fall arrest lanyards are not designed to wrap around a structure and hook onto themselves, but a worker may try to set it up in that way if no other anchorage point is available. This can cause equipment failure due to damaged to the lanyard material or improper gate loading. This problem can be solved with anchorage straps, which are designed to be wrapped back on themselves – providing the proper strength needed to be safe while also remaining accessible.

Furthermore, regardless of if a lanyard is designed for wrapping around beams, piping, ductwork, or around a guardrail, with time, the sawing action could damage it. This problem can be mitigated by using a beam clamp or beam straps as an anchorage connector.

3. Inappropriate Anchorage Connection or Strength

A fall protection system is only as effective as its anchorage. Always ensure the anchorage is strong enough to support the weight of the individual wearing it in the case of a fall. To be sure you can rely on your fall protection equipment, always test the strength of the connection after set up.

To be certain you have the right anchorage strength, only use certified anchorages and make sure there is always someone on the scene with the correct training to properly identify the appropriate anchorage to use for the circumstances of the job. Since the average weight of the individuals using the fall protection system will very, the anchorage system must be designed for the maximum weight of any potential users.

3m dbi-sala fall protection anchorages

4. Anchoring Below The Dorsal D-Ring

Another common misuse of fall protection systems is workers anchoring themselves to a point below their dorsal D-Ring (sometimes even below their feet). This increases the free fall weight and distance, sometimes beyond the equipment’s ability to arrest it. Pushing these limits can cause the lanyard or anchorage to fall, or can exceed the allowable force on the body, which can increase the likelihood of a serious injury.

The goal is always to minimize free-fall distances, so connecting to a point above the dorsal D-ring should be the choice if in any way possible. However, if there is no overhead structure to provide an anchorage point, the worker must use a free-fall lanyard that is approved for the greater free-fall distance and force.

5. Unproperly Adjusted Harnesses

For fall protection equipment to be used correctly and effectively, workers must be wearing their equipment correctly. Most fall protection harnesses are designed with adjustable leg, waist, shoulder, and chest straps, which all must be sized to the user. A fall protection system is no good if you can’t stay in it, which is exactly the risk presented if the harness is not tightened properly to the user’s body. As you can imagine, being ejected from a harness mid-fall can lead to serious injury.

Here’s what to look for to ensure a harness is fitted correctly:

  • The dorsal D-ring sits between the worker’s shoulders blades – If it’s adjusted too high, the metal hardware could cause injury to the user’s head and if it’s adjusted too low, the user can be left hanging in a poor position with an increased risk of suspension trauma.
  • The chest strap should lie across the user’s chest at the base of the sternum – If it’s too high on the user’s chest, it can cause a choking hazard in the case of a fall by putting pressure on the user’s neck.
  • Shoulder straps cannot be pulled off of the user’s shoulders or outward.
  • Sub-pelvic straps are positioned under the buttocks.
  • Leg straps are tightened to a point where four fingers can fit between the strap and the user’s leg, but cannot pull away from the leg.
  • General observation of harness fit – Looking for things like twisted straps or asymmetrical leg straps. 

3m dbi-sala fall protection harness specs and info

6. Using Damaged or Recalled Equipment

Everything from UV exposer, corrosion, wear and tear and everything in between can impact the effectiveness of your fall protection equipment. You can avoid UV and corrosion damage by storing your equipment properly when not in use, but some amount of wear and tear cannot be avoided if you’re actually using your equipment, which is what it’s made for after all! Because of this, all users should be trained on what to look for when inspecting equipment to ensure that it is in proper working order to operate safely.

Steps to ensure your equipment is always in safe working condition:

  1. Have your equipment inspected on at least an annual basis – Another thing Hercules SLR’s experienced and LEEA certified team can take off your hands! 
  2. Register your equipment so you are always notified of product recalls or advisories.
  3. Stay current on advisories and advances in technology.
  4. Store equipment in an environment that is as protected as possible.

7. Confusing Twin-Leg Energy-Absorbing & Self-Retracting Devices

Although these two devices sometimes look and function similar, a common mistake people make is thinking twin-leg energy absorbing & self-retracting lifeline devices are the same or interchangeable. However, since they are designed and tested for specific conditions, it’s important they are used for those appropriate applications.

The self-retracting lifeline (SRL) vs. energy-absorbing lifeline (EAL) is a topic of lively debate among fall protection engineers because both devices have their benefits but the general consensus is that an SRL is preferable in an industrial environment where an overhead horizontal system is (or can be) installed and an EAL is preferable in a construction environment where workers typically do not have access to an overhead anchorage point.

3m dbi-sala fall protecton srl hercules slr


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.