Spring Melt Down Part 2

Potholes are inevitable in these parts of the country. Spring is when all the new ones make their debut. Also, these pesky annoyances usually don’t get repaired until summer, so we need to deal with them for the next few months. It may feel like you’re in a boxing match with all the bobbing and weaving you’ll be doing while trying to avoid them. Sadly, that’s all you really can do. Only avoid them where you can, safely. Yes, I know they cause damage to your car but so does an accident with another vehicle. So be very cautious that you are not swerving into oncoming traffic or sideswiping another vehicle.

This time of year you also want to make sure your vehicle is in tip top shape even if it’s a company vehicle. I’d recommend a good check on your entire vehicle. Our winters are just as harsh on our vehicles as they are on us. Check your tires, brakes, wipers and make sure all your fluids are topped up. I’d also suggest having an extra washer fluid in the trunk. With muddy conditions you can go through washer fluid super fast and definitely don’t want to be driving like Ace Ventura just so you can see.

Now, I know once the roads don’t have snow, lots of us get the urge to crack the window, turn the music up and hit that gas pedal. This is such a bad idea for so many reasons.
1- Speeding causes around a quarter of all traffic fatalities and also according to the Canadian Association of Chief of Police, speed is the cause of 19% of serious injuries.
2- It can cost you a ton of cash and demerits.
3- If you’re in a company vehicle, you may lose your job.
So save your Mario Andretti moves for video games.

By this time every year, we are all over winter and look forward to spring. It seriously can’t come quickly enough. While you enjoy the warmer air and that great smell of spring while driving with your windows finally down, just remember all the hazards you could face and be prepared.

Spring Melt Down Part 1

Yay! It’s almost March. That means rain showers, Easter and spring are right around the corner. I know living in these frigid temperatures, covered in snow, it’s hard to image flowers and the Easter bunny but they are on their way… I promise. As magical as spring sounds, a change in the season can come with a lot of hazards especially when it comes to the roads. Most of the time when we think of bad road conditions, we think of winter. However, spring can cause hazards on the roads as well. Things we need to watch out for are pot holes, rain (that can feel like a torrential downpour), black ice, slush, and that  “snow is gone” feeling of wanting to go fast. Here are a few tips to keep you riding smoothly.

Between melting snow and spring downpour, the roads are constantly slushy and wet, making them extremely slippery. So take your time and keep your distance from other vehicles. Even if you are taking all the precautions for slippery roads, don’t forget that huge puddles could have monstrous potholes lurking under them.  Wet roads can also cause hydroplaning. Watch out for slushy ruts too, they can cause steering hazards. So make sure you have good tires and are always paying attention. Even though winter may be coming to an end, it doesn’t mean that black ice is gone too. With all the melting and freezing again, the roads can be covered in it… So beware on those cold days. Come back tomorrow and we’ll dive into the most hated road hazard of all… Potholes!

Rescue Planning

This cartoon is a great reminder why rescue planning is so important. Some of us work at heights every day and can become complacent. We know our harness is on perfectly, we have calculated our free fall distance and minimum clearance, and tied off to a T. However, without doing frequent rescues and retrievals (thank goodness) we can forget some really important factors that could impede all of our hard work at staying safe. So after days, weeks, months and even years of safely working at heights, we may not do a detailed rescue plan, or one at all. Why is this important if we are working safely anyway? Because things happen, humans make mistakes. Having a co-worker dangling in their harness is not the time to make a rescue plan. According to Alberta’s Guide to the OH&S Code: “the suspended worker may lose consciousness in as few as five minutes”.   OSHA notes in their Safety Bulletin on Suspension Trauma: “Research indicates that suspension in a fall arrest device can result in unconsciousness, followed by death, in less than 30 minutes”.  So when someone falls, the rescue needs to start immediately. You cannot waste time figuring out what to do. The hanging worker could lose limbs or even die if they are left up there too long. No worker should be left alone while working at heights. Even if they have a radio or cell. How would they make that call if they are knocked out? Every rescue is different. Every time your job or task changes so does the rescue plan. These are factors you need to consider with every task at heights. A rescue plan isn’t something you do only when you’re working in unfamiliar territory, it’s something you and your partner or crew do every day. Don’t just copy it from the day before, point out new hazards, talk about the risks. Do your best to be safe but always plan for the worst.

Don’t Forget

Hey safety guys and gals, don’t forget we will be doing our live announcement of the winners for those Oilers tickets, gift card to Mercer Tavern and an ABCS swag bag on Monday the 25th. So if you haven’t already entered or you want to tag some more friends, head on over to our “Kind of a Big Deal” post and do so. You have till 12 pm PST on the 24. Tell your friends, tell your family, heck tell the dog (okay maybe not pets🤷) let’s get the word out! Good luck everyone and remember the more people you tag that follows either our Facebook or Instagram page, the more likely you are to win. So spam all your Facebook and Instagram friends!

Laser Safety

Depending on what trade you work and what task you’re working on, lasers can help get the most accurate measurement in half the time. No more dirty caulk covered plum bob, grab a laser, turn it on and presto, you’re good to go. These types of lasers have made our lives so much easier, from measuring to cutting, but they do come with a serious hazard, that no one really talks about. So let’s dive in.

All lasers are an “amplified” light source. This light is so amplified that it can cause permanent vision loss and third degree burns. There are different classes of lasers and you need to know exactly which class you’re working with. Some classes will need extra training. The lowest power lasers are class 1 and 2. These lasers will not harm in normal working conditions. They are not strong enough to burn your skin and your blink reflex will occur before any damage is done to your eye. However, taking a bet on how long you can stare into the laser would definitely not be advised. You will cause damage. The medium powered lasers are class 3R and these ones can cause some serious injuries if focused directly into the eye. Don’t forget that reflections of the laser bouncing into your eye or a co-worker’s eye can still cause damage. The most high powered laser you may come across on site is class 3B and 4. To use these lasers, you will need extra training and a trained laser safety officer to guide the way…..and for good reason! These high powered lasers can cause all sorts of injuries. From permanent vision loss, third-degree burns all the way to actually severing a limb! Yes, you heard that right, some class 4 lasers can cut parts of you clean off.

Always know what class of laser you are working with, the hazards associated with it and have the proper training. Use your JHA’s to identify all the hazards. Post warning signage to alert other workers not to enter when higher powered lasers are in use and of course wear the proper PPE. Lasers can be so helpful, so follow the proper protocol to keep them helpful and not a hazard.

Timing is Everything

When we think of hazard assessment, we think of JHA’s or FLRA’s. We usually do them in the morning for our days work and then feel done with them for the day. However; that’s not the case. We need to be doing them all day with the change of task or conditions. If you see a hazard, add it to your hazard assessment and take action. Keep your coworkers in the loop. Hazards don’t just stop in the morning when you finish your assessment. So keep your head up and communicate with other workers. No one wants to end up like Mr. Yellow hat. 😬

Happy Family Day 👨‍👧‍👦 👨‍👨‍👧 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 👩‍👩‍👦 👩‍👧‍👦

Happy Family day everyone! We hope you get to enjoy this day with all your loved ones, reminding you of why you work safe every day. Making the decision to take the time and effort to do your tasks safely, doesn’t just make you a great worker, it makes you a great Mom, Dad, son, daughter, brother and sister. Thinking of a life where you couldn’t play catch or dress up with your children, annoy your siblings or make your parents proud is a tough thought and easily avoided by making the right choice to be safe; always. So take this day and enjoy every minute of it! Press the reset button and head back to work tomorrow with a positive outlook on safety and work, not just for you but all your loved ones as well.

Three Points of Contact

We all know that 3 points of contact must be maintained while climbing a ladder. Yet workers commonly break this basic rule. I mean let’s be honest… I’ve done it. I also lost my footing once while using one of my hands to carry a bucket full of tools (I know right? I was a second year, trying to show off). I almost bit the dust and it scared the bejesus out of me. So this is why we have safety talks, so you can learn from my mistakes. So when we say “Always maintain 3 points of contact”, we mean ALWAYS and we mean feet and hands. If you have a hair touching the ladder… that does not count! You should never be carrying anything up a ladder, not only are you more than likely not able to have your 3 points of contact but you could also drop what you are carrying. Use a pulley system to get your tools up high and always maintain 3 points of contact!

Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day to all our hard working trades people. We hope you take a moment today to think about the ones you love and why going home safe to them every night is one of the best gifts to show your love and appreciation. Some chocolates and a card wouldn’t hurt either 😉. And always choo- choo- choose safety 🚂 ♥️♥️ (wow my jokes are painful 😬)

PPE… Again

I feel like we haven’t talked about PPE for like 5 minutes, so maybe we should go over it again. PPE changes with every task you do and with the weather you’re working in. For example, what you might use for PPE in summer, while working on the top of the high line compared to what you may use in the dead of winter, working in a hoarding are very different. Say you’re welding, in a hoarding; since you are closed-in, you should wear a respirator to avoid inhaling fumes.  Whereas, working at the top of the high line, it’s nice and open and you may forego the respirator (I’d still recommend wearing one, but that’s me). The gloves you’d wear in the summer would be very light, just giving you coverage for the heat of welding. In the winter, you’d want something with the same coverage but also extra lining for warmth. In the summer, I prefer to wear ear plugs for ear protection and in the winter I opt for the ear muffs style since it offers some warmth as well as protection. Your boots should also be different. I’d recommend getting a good pair of winter boots and a light, good quality pair for the summer. You can probably make it through winter with your summer boots and just double up on socks but in these Canadian winters I really wouldn’t recommend it. You’d want to invest in a pair of lined coveralls or work pants for the cold, and definitely a light pair for the summer. Summertime, you won’t be wearing a jacket, just long sleeves; whereas in the wintertime, an extra warm jacket. As you can see, the PPE you’d wear could change drastically, and we haven’t even touched on working in wet conditions. You need to know what you’ll need for every day. It’s good to leave some extras at work if you can.  Our weather can go from scorching to freezing in the snap of a finger and vice versa. Know your tasks and what you’ll need. Don’t let a sudden change in the weather or a task change make you vulnerable to an injury just because you weren’t prepared.