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Climbing a ladder image

Safety: Climbing ladders safely

Not maintaining three points of contact when climbing ladders can lead to injuries. Three points of contact is defined as always having one foot and two hands, or one hand and two feet in contact with the ladder at all times.

While maintaining three points of contact is important, maintaining three points of control is critical. Three points of control involves a worker using three of their four limbs for reliable, stable support while climbing a ladder.

Climbing a ladder with a tool in your hands can maintain contact with the ladder but not a firm grip (control) on the ladder rung. Communicate and practice three-point control. It provides for a greater level of safety when climbing ladders.

Other ladder-related best practices include:

  • Inspecting the ladder prior to climbing.
  • Facing the ladder at all times.
  • Hoisting tools rather than carrying them.
  • Keeping the belt buckle between the rails of the ladder.

Safety first in everything you do – on and off the farm.

REMEMBER TO ALWAYS:
Get proper rest. Look after yourself. Slow down. Never take shortcuts.

Work safe. Farm safe. Home safe.™

Exposed electrical box

Safety: Common electrical hazards

Take a moment today to think about electrical hazards and how you can make your operation safe for you, your family, workers and visitors.

There are several things you can do at home, in the barn, and workshops to help eliminate the chances of shocks, electrocution and fires.

Missing covers

Missing covers on junction boxes, switches and outlets expose energized circuits, creating arc flash, shock, and electrocution hazards. In addition, missing covers provide a path of entry into the interior of the enclosure, allowing dust, dirt, and debris to accumulate. Missing covers could allow metallic objects to fall into the circuits that could arc or lodge in a way that presents a hazard when the enclosure is opened.

Broken/unsupported light fixtures

Light fixtures should be permanently mounted to the base and show no signs of damage. Light fixtures that are hanging unsupported by wiring, puts undue stress on the electrical connections. These two conditions present the potential for an electrical short, which can produce sparks that can ignite combustibles leading to a fire.

Circuit breakers

All electrical breaker panels should be equipped with an appropriate cover and remain closed. Missing covers expose the circuits to dust and physical damage. If an arc or short circuit would occur, the cover will contain the sparks from igniting surrounding combustibles.

There should not be any missing breakers or other openings between breakers. These openings allow for the potential for electrocution, physical damage, and dust and dirt to accumulate in the circuits. Spare clips should be installed in any openings in the breaker panel.

Breakers must never be taped or physically secured in the “ON” position. If the breaker is not allowed to trip, or cannot be manually tripped, the wiring could overheat, increasing the chances of a fire.

The electrical panel should be indexed, identifying each individual circuit breaker.

Housekeeping

Electrical equipment can and does fail, often catastrophically, with arcing that produces large amounts of heat. Any combustible material in the vicinity of the arc flash can be ignited.

Access to electrical rooms should be limited to authorized maintenance or operations personnel that understand the importance of maintaining a clean, well-ventilated electrical area.

Electrical equipment areas should be kept dry and equipment needs to be protected from moisture. When evidence of moisture contamination is noted, equipment should be examined for damage and necessary repairs made. The source of the moisture needs to be identified and eliminated.

Electrical equipment areas should be clean and protected from dust and dirt. Placing storage items too close to electrical panels or near electrical equipment will restrict air circulation and impede proper cooling. Excessive heat buildup will result in premature failure and shortened service life.

Work safe. Farm safe. Home safe.

™ is a trademark of Thompsons Limited.

Winter walking photo

Safety: Slips, trips and falls – winter safety tips

Let’s look at walking outside when it’s cold and snowy or icy.

Here are some winter safety tips to help prevent slips and falls:

  • Plan ahead and give yourself sufficient time.
  • When walking on steps, always use the hand railings and plant your feet firmly on each step.
  • Bending your knees a little and taking slower and shorter steps increases traction and can greatly reduce your chances of falling.
  • Streets and sidewalks that have been cleared of snow and ice should still be approached with caution. Look out for “black ice.” Dew, fog or water vapour can freeze on cold surfaces and form an extra-thin, nearly invisible layer of ice that can look like a wet spot on the pavement.
  • Carrying heavy items can challenge your sense of balance. Try not to carry too much–you need to leave your hands and arms free to better balance yourself.
  • Be prepared to fall and try to avoid using your arms to break your fall. If you fall backwards, make a conscious effort to tuck your chin so your head doesn’t strike the ground with a full force.
  • When entering a building, remove as much snow and water from your boots as you can. Take notice that floors and stairs may be wet and slippery–walk carefully.
  • Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles–use the vehicle for support.

Work safe. Farm safe. Home safe.™

™ is a registered trademark of Thompsons Limited.

Safety: The dangers of carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, odorless, and tasteless gas. CO results from the incomplete burning of natural gas and any other material containing carbon such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, coal, wood, etc. Examples of carbon monoxide sources include portable generators, concrete cutting saws, space heaters, welding, and gasoline powered equipment. Smoldering grain can also produce carbon monoxide.

Health effects

Carbon monoxide is hazardous to persons inside of confined spaces or poorly ventilated areas. When carbon monoxide is inhaled, it displaces oxygen in the blood depriving the heart, brain, and other vital organs of the oxygen the body needs. Large amounts of carbon monoxide can kill a person in minutes without warning, causing them to lose consciousness and suffocate. Read more

working in winter conditions photo

Safety: Preparing for winter work

Working outside in the winter can be a dirty job, but many of us have to do it.

Are you ready for winter work?

Here are some reminders about dressing for the weather and staying strong, healthy and safe: 

  • Two big concerns of working or simply spending time outdoors in cold weather are frostbite and hypothermia. Hypothermia is a potentially fatal condition caused by loss of body temperature, even in winter conditions people might not consider particularly nasty. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, confusion, light-headedness and profuse sweating.
  • Wear the right gloves for the work you are doing. Gloves should have enough insulation to keep you warm and prevent frostbite, but be thin enough so you can feel what you are doing if you are manipulating controls or tools. Gloves which are too thick can also make your hands and wrists work too hard trying to hold on to objects, causing repetitive strain injury.
  • Dress in layers of light-weight clothing which keep you warmer than a single layer of heavy clothes. Remove layers as necessary to prevent overheating and perspiring which can lead to chills or hypothermia later. Protect your ears from frostbite as well by wearing a hat that will cover your ears, or use ear muffs.
  • Keep your safety eyewear from fogging up in the cold. Investigate anti-fog coatings and wipes to see if these products are appropriate for your eyewear.
  • Your shoes or boots should have adequate tread to prevent slips and falls on wet or icy surfaces. Slow down when walking across slippery surfaces and be especially careful on ladders, platforms and stairways.
  • Get plenty of rest. Working in the cold and even traveling to and from work in the winter takes lots of energy. Cold weather can strain your heart, even if you aren’t overexerting yourself, so be sure to pace yourself when lifting heavy objects or shovelling snow.

Work safe. Farm safe. Home safe.™

Safety photo driving in fog

Safety: Driving tips for late fall and early winter

The late fall or early winter season brings an increase in seasonal dangers that you should be aware of. Road and driving conditions change with the onset of time changes and late fall and early winter weather changes. Read more

Safety: Hazards of fall driving

Weather conditions can be unpredictable in the fall. A bright, beautiful afternoon can turn rainy and cold in minutes. With the days getting shorter, you could find yourself commuting to and from work in darkness.

Common fall driving hazards

Back to school traffic

Fall means back to school traffic for kids, which means more cars and buses on the roads. Drivers need to watch out for increased pedestrian traffic in the morning and afternoon as children walk to and from school and their neighborhood bus stops.

Rain

Rain can be particularly dangerous, as water pools on top of dust and oil that hasn’t had a chance to wash away and makes the pavement extremely slippery.

Fog

Cold fall mornings often lead to fog, which can greatly limit your driving visibility and perception of distance. Fog tends to occur in low places or areas surrounded by hills, water, mountains, and trees. One common mistake drivers make during foggy conditions is putting on their high beams instead of staying with their low beams. When driving through fog, slow down and stay well behind the vehicle in front of you so you’ll have adequate time to stop if required.

Frost

During the fall, temperatures tend to drop dramatically during the night, which can lead to morning frost and icy spots on the road. This is especially common on bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas of the road.

Sun glare

Fall is a bad time for sun glare on the roads. Sun glare can impact your sight for seconds after exposure, making it hard to see pedestrians, oncoming traffic, or the vehicle in front of you.

Deer crossing sign

Safety: Avoiding deer collisions

The fall season brings an increase in deer activity because it’s their time for mating and migrating. Avoid deer collisions by watching for darting deer, especially when driving early in the morning or at night. According to the insurance institute, 1.6 million deer-vehicle collisions occur each year, resulting in 200 fatalities, tens of thousands of injuries and over $3.6 billion in vehicle damage. Read more

Safety PPE gear

Safety: Power tool safety

A power tool is a tool that is actuated by an additional power source and mechanism other than the solely manual labor used with hand tools.

The most common types of power tools use electric motors, pneumatics, or hydraulics.

To prevent injuries, incidents, and damage to power tools, always take the following precautions:

  • Never carry a power tool by the cord.
  • Never disconnect a power tool by yanking the cord to remove the plug from the receptacle.
  • Keep tool cords away from sources of excessive heat and sharp edges.
  • Disconnect tools when not using them, prior to servicing and cleaning, and when changing accessories such as blades and bits.
  • Keep people not involved in the work at a safe distance.
  • Secure work with clamps or a vise. This allows you to operate the tool with two hands.
  • Do not hold fingers on the power button while carrying a tool that is plugged in.
  • Follow the instructions provided in the user manual.
  • Keep good footing, and maintain good balance.
  • Wear proper apparel for the required task. Avoid wearing loose clothing or jewelry that can become caught in moving parts.
  • Wear proper personal protective equipment such as gloves, face, and eye protection.

Always inspect power tools prior to use. If a tool is not in safe operating condition, remove the tool from service, and affix a “Do Not Use” tag.

Work safe. Farm safe. Home safe.™

Safety tie down on pickup truck

Safe loading of pickup trucks

Make sure you have the right equipment

Most pickup trucks will have tie down points already installed. For more added security, it is often a good idea to purchase some additional equipment. For loose items, you may want to add a toolbox or Tonneau cover

You will also want to make sure that you have some good quality ratchet straps, bungee cords or tarps depending on what you are carrying.

Know how much load your truck can carry

Especially if you are transporting heavy items, you need to know your vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating as well as your load capacity. You should be able to find this information on a label inside your driver’s door or in your owner’s manual. Under no circumstances should you exceed this limit because doing so could damage your vehicle.

Put heavier items toward the front

When loading your pickup truck, always try to put heavier items toward the cab to prevent your vehicle from becoming back-weighted and affecting your power steering. You should also try to distribute the weight fairly evenly from side to side.

Secure items on at least two sides

Once you’ve following all of the tips listed above, it is important that your items are tied down on at least two sides. This will help keep items from moving around and potentially coming loose. Items that bounce around inside your truck can cause damage or become damaged themselves, and if they end up falling out of your truck, they may cause a serious accident.

Flag long loads

If you are transporting longer items that extend beyond the length of your truck bed, you are required by law to attach a red flag or cloth to the end of the load. If you do not have something at home that you can attach to the load, you may purchase a tailgate flag at your local home improvement centre.

When loading loose items such as firewood, scrap metal or any other item into the back of a pickup truck, use caution. Throwing items with great force can cause ricochet (bounce back) that could injury you or damage the vehicle. A Thompson employee suffered a facial laceration from steel that bounced back.