FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about some of the courses and general information.
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Is the Sidewinder Lift Truck easy to operate?
Yes! It has a highly intuitive control system that can be learned in just minutes. There are two joysticks conveniently located for the right and left hands of the operator. The traction joystick controls all rotating, forward, backward, and sideways motions of the SIDEWINDER. The driver merely pushes the joystick in the direction he wants the vehicle to travel, and the further he pushes, the faster it will go (within selected mode limits). The second joystick handles all of the hydraulic movements, lift, tilt, and auxiliary functions.
What is the advantage of controlling the movements of the Sindewinder Lift Truck with joysticks?
The operator sits in a comfortable position with his arms on rests at his side, not hunched forward grasping a steering wheel. The joysticks require low effort compared to conventional lever controls, and cause minimal operator fatigue. With no brake, clutch, or accelerator pedals to work, the operator is free to move his legs and feet into a variety of comfortable positions. Because all of the control functions, including emergency brake and horn, are incorporated into the joysticks, the operator never has to remove his hands from the joysticks to perform different functions. The chance of damage or accident due to grabbing the wrong lever is eliminated.
What is a counterbalance forklift truck?
A counterbalance forklift truck operates a counterbalance weight design with a weight at the rear of the truck, off-setting the load to be lifted at the front. These trucks are used in many storage, warehouse and distribution systems where they carry out loading, stacking and horizontal transport functions. Ideal for use where stock is transported on pallets as the forks extend from the front of the counterbalance trucks, meaning the truck can be driven up to the exact location of the load. This makes their operation straightforward and less challenging.
Use of a skid steer loader
Skid steer loaders are versatile machines for loading debris, moving dirt or rock, or smoothing the ground. Learning to operate them takes practice, and a large area of firm level ground.
Skid loaders turn suddenly, and their wheels or tracks will rut and dig up the ground while operating, so do not practice where you will damage a lawn or landscaping.
Wear hearing protection. These machines can be LOUD.
Pay attention to your surroundings, not just what you are moving with the machine.
Have someone to watch for you while you practice, spotting obstacles and looking for hazards.
What can be done to help prevent manual handling injuries?
If manual lifting is the only option then there are a number of things that can be done to reduce the risk, including:
Making the load smaller or lighter and easier to lift.
Breaking up large consignments into more manageable loads.
Modifying the workstation to reduce carrying distances, twisting movements, or the lifting of things from floor level or from above shoulder height.
Improving the environment – e g better lighting, flooring or air temperature can sometimes make manual handling easier and safer.
Ensuring the person doing the lifting has been trained to lift as safely as possible.
Do I have to tie my ladder?
Ladders have to be prevented from slipping during use. The options for securing a ladder are as follows:
Tie the ladder to a suitable point making sure both stiles are tied.
Where this is not practicable, use a ladder stability device.
If this is not possible then securely wedge the ladder e.g. against a wall.
If none of the above are possible then foot the ladder. Footing is the last resort and should be avoided where possible by the use of other methods.
HSE’s ladder guidance says I should maintain 3 points of contact when climbing a ladder and wherever possible at the work position. What are the 3 points of contact?
The 3 points of contact are a hand and two feet. However – other than for a brief period (for example, holding a nail while starting to knock it in, starting a screw etc) – where you cannot maintain a handhold when on a leaning ladder, you will need to take other measures to prevent a fall or reduce the consequences if one happened. Use of a fall prevention system can be considered but is outside the scope of the ladder guidance. If, when on a stepladder, two hands need to be free for a brief period of light work (e.g. to change a light bulb), keep 2 feet on the same step and the body supported by the stepladder to maintain 3 points of contact.
How often should a scaffold be inspected?
A scaffold used for construction should be inspected before it is used for the first time and then every 7 days, until it is removed. It should also be inspected each time it is exposed to conditions likely to cause deterioration e.g. following adverse weather conditions or following substantial alteration.
Must I use scafftags?
No, it is not a legal requirement to use scafftags, but using a visible tag system to supplement inspection records is one way of recording that the scaffold has been checked before use.
How often should a harness be inspected?
Three levels of inspection are recommended:
Pre – use check – this is carried out by the user at the beginning of each shift to check there are no visible or surface defects. Any defects should be brought to the attention of your employer.
Detailed inspection – a formally recorded inspection should be undertaken at least every 6 months. However, for frequently used equipment it is suggested that this is increased to at least every three months, particularly when the equipment is used in arduous environments (e.g. demolition, steel erection, scaffolding, steel masts/towers with edges.
Interim inspection – These are also in-depth, recorded inspections and may be appropriate in addition to pre-use checks and detailed inspections. Interim inspections may be needed between detailed inspections because the employer’s risk assessment has identified a risk that could result in significant deterioration, affecting the safety of the lanyard before the next detailed inspection is due. The need for and frequency of interim inspections will depend on use. Examples of situations where they may be appropriate include risks from arduous working environments involving paints, chemicals or grit blasting operations or risks from acidic or alkaline environments if the type of fabric the lanyard is made from cannot be determined (some fabrics offer low resistance to acids or alkalis).
Steps for Working at heights.
 Assessing work at height – Assess the risks, take precautions, and issue clear method statements for everyone who will work at height.
 Roof work – Plan safe access, and prevent falls from edges and openings.
 Fragile surfaces – The hierarchy of controls for working on or near fragile surfaces is avoid, control, communicate, co-operate.
 Ladders – When it’s appropriate to use ladders – and the three key safety issues – position, condition and safe use.
 Tower scaffolds – Select the right tower for the job; erect, use, move and dismantle the tower safely; ensure that it is stable; inspect it regularly; prevent falls.
Basic fire fighting: What you need to know.
Each year there a number of serious fires on construction sites and buildings undergoing refurbishment.
In most cases, conducting a risk assessment will be a relatively straightforward and simple task that may be carried out by the responsible person, or a person they nominate, such as a consultant.
There are five steps in carrying out a fire risk assessment:
1. Identify hazards: consider how a fire could start and what could burn;
2. People at risk: employees, contractors, visitors and anyone who is vulnerable, e.g. disabled;
3. Evaluation and action: consider the hazards and people identified in 1 and 2 and act to remove and reduce risk to protect people and premises;
4. Record, plan and train: keep a record of the risks and action taken. Make a clear plan for fire safety and ensure that people understand what they need to do in the event of a fire; and
5. Review: your assessment regularly and check it takes account of any changes on site.
Means of escape
Key aspects to providing safe means of escape on construction sites include:
• Routes: your risk assessment should determine the escape routes required, which must be kept available and unobstructed;
• Alternatives:well-separated alternative ways to ground level should be provided where possible;
• Protection: routes can be protected by installing permanent fire separation and fire doors as soon as possible;
• Assembly: make sure escape routes give access to a safe place where people can assemble and be accounted for. On a small site the pavement outside may be adequate; and
• Signs: will be needed if people are not familiar with the escape routes. Lighting should be provided for enclosed escape routes and emergency lighting may be required.
Means of giving warning
Set up a system to alert people on site. This may be temporary or permanent mains operated fire alarm (tested regularly), a klaxon, an air horn or a whistle, depending on the size and complexity of the site.
The warning needs to be distinctive, audible above other noise and recognisable by everyone.
Means of fighting fire
Fire extinguishers should be located at identified fire points around the site. The extinguishers should be appropriate to the nature of the potential fire:
• Wood, paper and cloth – water extinguisher;
• Flammable liquids – dry powder or foam extinguisher;
• Electrical – carbon dioxide (C02) extinguisher.
What is a Confined Space?
Legal definitions have various wordings, but essentially a confined space is:
1. a fully or partially enclosed space with restricted access; and
2. not designed or constructed for human occupation; and
3. hazardous because of the lack of adequate and safe air inside; or
4. hazardous because of the work that will be done inside
Do I need a Confined Space Awareness Course?
If you have a confined space on-site, all workers should be trained in the hazards of confined spaces.
General training (such as this course) will cover the legislation, recognizing a confined space, recognizing the hazards and how they are assessed and the contents of an Entry Plan.
Additionally, all confined space training should include some hands-on training with the safety equipment including the personal protective equipment and safety harnesses. Workers with emergency rescue responsibilities will need training related to the rescue.
How often do I need a Confined Space Awareness Course?
General training must be given before anyone works with a confined space. The training must be reviewed if there are any changes in the circumstances that may affect the safety of a worker or when provincial regulations require it.
Consult with your industry’s provincial safety association or Worker’s Compensation Board for details on when re-certification is required.
How long does first aid certification last?
Certification is valid for 3 years.
Investigation into workplace incidents
An incident is defined as “an accident or other occurrence which resulted in or had the potential for causing an injury or occupational disease.” The company should investigate certain workplace accidents and other incidents to:
Determine the causes and underlying factors.
Provide recommendations to industry to aid in the prevention of future injury and disease.
Gather information to help monitor and analyze industry trends on workplace fatalities, serious injuries, and diseases.
Identify associated compliance issues and help ensure compliance with law, regulation, and policy.
Refer cases for prosecution or administrative penalties, when necessary.
Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment
A core challenge faced by emergency managers is how to prevent, prepare, mitigate, respond and recover from a myriad of hazards. Several questions arise when faced with this challenge:
What hazards exist in my area?
How frequently do they occur?
How severe can their impact be on the community, infrastructure, property, and the environment?
Which hazards pose the greatest threat to the community?
A Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) assists emergency managers in answering these questions. It is a systematic risk assessment tool that can be used to assess the risks of various hazards.
It helps emergency management professionals prepare for the worst and/or most likely risks.
Allows for the creation of exercises, training programs, and plans based on the most likely scenarios.
Saves time and resources by isolating hazards that cannot occur in the designated area.
There are three reasons why a HIRA is useful to the emergency management profession:
A workplace emergency is an unforeseen situation that threatens your employees, customers, or the public; disrupts or shuts down your operations; or causes physical or environmental damage.Floods.
Toxic gas releases.
Workplace violence resulting in bodily harm and trauma.
Emergencies may be natural or manmade and include the following:
What is an emergency action plan?
An emergency action plan covers designated actions employers and employees must take to ensure employee safety from fire and other emergencies. Not all employers are required to establish an emergency action plan. Even if you are not specifically required to do so, compiling an emergency action plan is a good way to protect yourself, your employees, and your business during an emergency. Putting together a comprehensive emergency action plan that deals with all types of issues specific to your worksite is not difficult.
You may find it beneficial to include your management team and employees in the process. Explain your goal of protecting lives and property in the event of an emergency, and ask for their help in establishing and implementing your emergency action plan. Their commitment and support are critical to the plan’s success.
When developing your emergency action plan, it’s a good idea to look at a wide variety of potential emergencies that could occur in your workplace. It should be tailored to your worksite and include information about all potential sources of emergencies. Developing an emergency action plan means you should do a hazard assessment to determine what, if any, physical or chemical hazards in your workplaces could cause an emergency. If you have more than one worksite, each site should have an emergency action plan.
At a minimum, your emergency action plan must include the following:
A preferred method for reporting fires and other emergencies.
An evacuation policy and procedure.
Emergency escape procedures and route assignments, such as floor plans, workplace maps, and safe or refuge areas.
What should your emergency action plan include?
Names, titles, departments, and telephone numbers of individuals both within and outside your company to contact for additional information or explanation of duties and responsibilities under the emergency plan.
Procedures for employees who remain to perform or shut down critical plant operations, operate fire extinguishers, or perform other essential services that cannot be shut down for every emergency alarm before evacuating.
Rescue and medical duties for any workers designated to perform them.
You also may want to consider designating an assembly location and procedures to account for all employees after an evacuation.
Stacking and storage.How to secure storage
Storage of materials must not create any hazards. Materials that have been improperly stacked or secured can create falling object hazards.
Whether moving materials manually or mechanically, employees must be aware of the potential hazards associated with the task at hand and know how to control their work environment to minimize the danger of being struck or crushed by falling material.
All materials stacked in tiers must be limited in height so they are secure against sliding or collapse. At least eighteen inches of clearance must also be maintained between the top of stacked materials and overhead sprinklers.
Safety key points
Never use a machine unless you are trained and know how to use it safely.
Make use of relevant training courses such as those run by training providers, agricultural colleges and manufacturers/dealers.
Never use a machine unless it is properly maintained.
Keep away from moving machinery – remember that some machine components will continue to rotate or move even after the engine has stopped.
Wear footwear with a good grip – safety boots are best.
Wear clothes that will not snag on machinery – preferably overalls.
Keep long hair tied back.
Remove any jewellery that might snag – don’t forget watches and rings.
Find and read the operator’s manual – keep it handy.