safetymom logo

Phone: 403-214-1558

Fax: 403-253-1806

Email:[email protected]

Certified Health & Safety Consultant Canadian Red Cross Canadian Society of Safety Engineering

Archive for the 'employees' Category

Top Ten Construction Safety Standards To Live By

Safety Standard #1: Adhere to OSHA Rules

A lot accidents can occur at a construction site, which means executing and pressing safety rules should be the most important objective of all construction projects. For employers to accomplish this, they must adhere to the established regulations of the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).

Safety Standard #2: Establish Site Safety Management

The utilization of site management and safe-site management can drastically improve safety awareness among the employees and will aid promoting a work site that is free of hazards and accidents, conducing to a productive and very efficient construction project.

Safety Standard #3: Protective Equipment is A Must

Safety equipment must be issued to employees by the employer to ensure the safety of human life. On the list of safety equipment are, but not limited to:

safety goggles
steel-toe boots
durable gloves
utility belt
proper face masks

Safety Standard #4: Have a Safe Place to Store Things

Break areas and rest areas are essential for the health of workers. Every work site should have a suitable place for workers to store food, beverages, and other items.

Safety Standard #5: Access to Clean Running Water

Per OSHA rules, employers are required to provide their worker with an area that has clean water for washing utensils, hands, and other objects. Moreover, the water must be suitable to drink without causing illness to those with access.

Safety Standard #6: Have a Place to Boil Water

There should be a space for workers to have access to that would allow them to boil water for sterilization purposes or food preparation. This aids in the cleanliness of the facility and promotes excellent sanitary practices.

Safety Standard #7: Must Have a Place to Eat Meals

In addition to having a place to store food and boil water, it is imperative that the employee allocate space for workers to sit and eat their meals. This space has to be out of harm’s way.

Safety Standard #8: Workers Need to Have Access to Restrooms

Employers must provide adequate access to restrooms with working toilets, or Port-A-Potty for waste management purposes. Restrooms must be well ventilated and have a door so workers can have privacy.

Safety Standard #9: Safety Precautions for Workers Above Ground

OSHA has established a set of rules for workers who operate at different heights. By installing equipment support systems, the employer will be providing safety measures to prevent any individual from falling to their death, in addition to lessening the severity of possible injuries.

Safety Standard #10: Guard Rails and Other Measures

Scaffold platform that incorporates a double guard rail must be used to prevent workers from falling from lethal heights. Safety nets in the construction site should be used to reducing the distance and impact of a fall, and drastically reducing injuries, casualties, and liability.

Home improvement and construction has always interested me and has led me to enjoy writing about everything that relates.

History of Well Blow-Outs in Alberta and H2S Alive

The history of well blow-out in Alberta is interesting reading, and is the reason for the current H2S Alive Edition 7 training course, as this was the response by industry to these tragedies.

In the 1920s it was a common practice of oil well drilling to burn unwanted gas in a flare pit. Turner Valley is SW of  Calgary and was nicknamed Hells Half Acre. This deposit contained sour gas, and H2S was emitted after separating the liquid hydrocarbons into the atmosphere through tall smoke stacks. The area smelled like rotten eggs.
This disgusting smell was also toxic, even in trace quantities… but it smelled like money to the oil barons of the time.
Canada,’s first blowout was in Ontario in 1862 and showed that big discoveries of oil and gas often came with terrible accidents and exposures to the public.
The Alberta petroleum industry is marked with blowouts that leaked oil and gas through derricks in the drilling process as far back as 1948.  40 kilometers southwest of downtown Edmonton, a geyser of oil soared, propelling high pressures columns of petroleum crude oil. This tossed pieces of machinery into the air and leaked pollutants into the atmosphere, blanketing farmer’s property.  The well which was owned by Atlantic Oil Company, spilled more than a million barrels of oil.  Workers were hired to snuff out fires under boilers that drove the drilling rigs steam-powered engines.  It took 6 months to plug the well. The blowout vented over 10 billion cubic feet of gas into the atmosphere. The blowout provided a lesson in the importance of emergency planning, when the crude caught fire and sent enormous columns of smoke into Southern Edmonton.
Since this time, blowout preventers and safety equipment are tested rigorously during drilling operations.
The public was very upset with the oil companies who choose production over their safety concerns. This caused corporate shares to plummet and drilling bans. There was a rush to create new safety protocols to match the frenzy of drilling in Alberta.  The petroleum and natural gas conservation board began in late 1938 to minimize excessive flaring.  The name changed over time to ERCB, EUB  and then to the current AER – Alberta Energy Regulators.
Our current stricter sour gas drilling regulations where the result of the infamous Lodgepole incident in 1982 near Drayton valley. This was the location of the worst sour gas blowout in Canada     This blowout killed 3 well control specialists and was burning out of control for two months. A comprehensive survey and review of sour gas drilling procedures was initiated. As a result, a national suite of standards on emergency response created new regulations and improvements.
Atlantic Number 3 produced another blowout in Alberta that cased a 3 day fire and energized the push to regulate drilling procedures. Stricter industry operating guidelines were passed at that time. Since 2000, the Board has closed 1264 facilities that didn’t meet proper regulatory requirements.
When gas or oil, loaded with Hydrogen Sulphide Gas, is onsite while drilling, the regulations are strict.  Companies must stop the drilling process to do safety checks prior to drilling into sour zones that are on top of oil formations which likely contain deadly H2S. A field inspector might conduct a thorough rig inspection and see that a test of the shutdown procedures in case of emergency is undertaken.
Not only do the employees need to be able to handle a blowout properly, they are required to obtain a series of safety tickets, such as H2S Alive. There are numerous penalties for lacking proper credentials, such as shutting down a rig.
Allstar Enviro Safety runs weekly classes on hydrogen sulphide gas safety for workers. This 6 – 8 hour program was designed by ENFORM to create a consistent training format for people in the petroleum and related industries that could be exposed to H2S gas.
 This course is the result of safety standards that were came as the result of H2S Releases in Alberta in its history of drilling incidents. While safety training and emergency response procedures are common practice today, Alberta’s history of worker and public protection was very different decades ago.
Besides public protection and avoidance of pollution, the other benefit of H2S Alive training include proper education for our workers who have the right to avoid the toxic, flammable, explosive and corrosive effects of this dangerous nerve gas!

Fall Protection Classes to Treat Suspension Trauma

As  first aid instructors, we discuss shock with our class as a core component of learning about the symptoms of a casualty. So, it came as a surprise to me that I had never learned about a specialized type of shock entitled Suspension Trauma. this form of shock , also known as Orthostatic Incompetence, develops rapidly when a worker is suspended in a full body harness after taking a fall from a roof.  Prevention of this Trauma is taught in Fall Protections Classes.
The industrial full body harness is designed to make the worker end up in an upright position once the lanyard is deployed. If the worker is suspended upright, the arrest force of an accelerating fall will hopefully travel up the spine in a vertical path, causing less damage to the workers body. Unfortunately, after the worker has become motionless, even if they are breathing, their legs end up dangling, creating a blood circulation issue.
The restricted blood circulation can change from discomfort into injury or death, due to the immobile legs and the restriction of the leg straps.  This leads to pressure on the leg veins, compressing them and slowing down return blood circulation to the heart.  At first, the worker will attempt to shake his legs to increase circulation and attempt to swing over to the side of the building and put his legs up against the wall.
Pushing forcefully with the legs away from a solid wall by positioning ones body in a slightly leg high position or horizontal position might help. Another method is to stand up on a support strap to put ones feet in, such as a suspension trauma strap or step up strap. Unfortunately, the harness design, attachment points used or injuries to the worker from the fall might prevent these actions from being successful.
If he is not successful, and he goes unconscious, he might have about 15 minutes to live. The kidneys, brain and other organs become starved for oxygen, that would normally be carried by blood flow. After about 5 minutes of blood deprivation to these organs, people normally go unconscious and as a result, stop shaking their legs to promote circulation.
This is why it is essential to develop a proper fall protection rescue plan for a worker suffering from suspension trauma. It is essential to carry it out carefully or the rescued worker might die anyway.  Often post rescue deaths are caused by the heart’s inability to tolerate the blood flow to the right side of the heart from the abrupt increase in blood flow once a harness is removed.
There are several methods used to treat the worker who has been lowered to the ground following a fall. Several schools of thought have been developed concerning treatment of the casualty until advanced life support arrives.

Contact  for information about Fall protection end user and OSSA Fall Protection classes to learn more.

How to Seek Employment in Alberta’s Lucrative Petroleum and Construction Job Market

One of the most frequent questions I am asked as a Safety Consultant is:
“How can I get Employment in  Alberta’s lucrative job market” ?
Alberta’s booming economy offers great prospects for career opportunities,
particularly in the Petroleum and Construction trades in the next years.
With the highest economic growth of all the provinces, there are 275,000 direct and
indirect  oil and gas jobs to be filled.
When I talk to employers who book safety courses for their staff and contractors they are looking to hire:
a) Tradespeople, such as Carpenters, Heavy Equipment Operators, Mechanics,
     Truck drivers, Electricians,  Instrumentation technologists,  scaffolders, construction laborers. READ MORE

Confined Space Online

Historically, many workers have crawled into vessels, tanks and sewers to unclog a drain or to troubleshoot a maintenance issue. Subsequently, they died from the hazards in a confined space without analyzing in advance the dangers present. Due to the lack of analysis, journalists tended to call it “death from heart attack or suicide”. In fact, the reason for death was due to a severe atmospheric or physical hazard within a confined space. READ MORE

Electronic Gas Monitors

Many industrial worksites produce atmospheric hazards that could put their employees and the environment at risk. Toxic environments such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide, and corrosive atmospheres like ammonia, chlorine and sulphur dioxide are common atmospheres that need monitoring to ensure that the legal limits are not exceeded. Other dangerous atmospheres in the petroleum, construction and manufacturing industries include oxygen deficiency and flammable or explosive environments.


In the Alberta Labour Code, employers are required to implement a WHMIS program to train employees about chemical hazards. Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System provides the exposure limits that employees must not exceed without engineering , administrative controls or personal protective gear. READ MORE

Aerial Lifts and Scissor Lifts Online

There was a time, not long ago, when any worker could hop in an aerial lift platform and figure out how to drive it on their own. The consequences were significant, as the likelihood of causing accidents to the public and property as well as to the driver were extreme without a proper background in lift platform mechanics.


Fortunately, employers now are more aware of their due diligence to train and frequently review the safe operation of aerial and scissor lifts. Although the classroom is the appropriate place to test a workers actual driving skills, a good means to review materials and obtain theory is with our aerial lift and scissor lift online course. READ MORE

H2S – Safety Training to Protect Workers

 Hydrogen SulfideH2S Alive Training Course Calgary

H2S is one of the leading safety related concerns in the petroleum industry in Alberta.  In addition,  it is prevalent in pulp and paper mills, barges, sewer systems,  land fills, waste water treatment  facilities and pig farms.  As a result of its toxic and flammable characteristics,  emphasis has been placed on safety procedures when working around this naturally occurring gas.  Its main route of  entry is by inhalation which can lead to pulmonary edema, conjunctivitis of the eyes, respiratory problems,  and if  in enough concentration to a worker’s death.

Hydrogen sulfide gas  is colourless in nature and has a repulsive rotten-egg smell at smaller concentrations.  People become exposed to it when they inhale it, which can cause respiratory and cardiac failure.  Due to its corrosive properties, is also damaging to mucous membranes. It can form sulfuric acid on contact with sinus cavities and eyes . causing severe burns to human tissue . H2S is a secondary byproduct of many industrial processes but it is also generated when an organic matter decomposes.  Because it is a little denser than air it is particularly dangerous in confined spaces  or low-lying areas.  Examples of potential areas where it might accumulate are under the sub structure of a drilling rig or in the mud tanks.  In plants, it can depressurize from valves, seals, unions, thief hatches, sample valves, pipes or in high pressure buildings such as compressors, dehydrators, separators or treater units.   In temperatures of 260oC (500F) or even lower, hydrogen sulfide can exhibit explosive reactions.  Its flammable range is approximately 42%, with a lower explosive limit of only 4.3% when mixed with air. Static electricity and flammable vapours can result in ignition, so it is important to use intrinsically safe equipment when working near potential areas for the gas.

It is commonly called sewer gas , stink damp or sour gas or by its other spelling “hydrogen sulphide”.   Burning it can produce an even more explosive, toxic and corrosive gas, sulphur dioxide, which can be seen above flare stacks.   Both gases are serious environmental concerns and are closely monitored by environmental agencies.

It is a Deadly Poisonous

Hydrogen sulfide is extremely poisonous to carbon based life forms. When you breathe it in through your lungs, it enters into your bloodstream. In order for your body to protect itself, it strives to break the gas down very quickly into a non-harmful compound. Poisoning of the blood begins when the rate at which the gas is absorbed becomes higher than the rate at which it is removed from the blood. It is a nerve gas, classified as a chemical axphiant, causing respiratory failure in low does.


Employers Should Always Provide Good Safety Equipment Training To Their Workers

Owning quality safety harnesses and straps are absolutely vital if you are an employer that employs individuals that work at heights high above the ground. In the construction industry alone, the majority of construction workers spend many hours suspended high in the air, performing various tasks that require them to be securely strapped into different safety devices. As an employer, it is absolutely critical that you provide high-quality safety equipment to your employees at all times. It is also critical that each one of your employees knows exactly how the equipment works, because it can mean all the difference in the world.

Safety equipment training for employees should always be a big part of any company. While it is of course great to provide quality safety equipment to all of your workers, it will only be useful if your workers know exactly how to use such equipment in the proper manner. This is why safety equipment training for your employees should be an absolute must for your company. Your employees need to know exactly how each individual safety equipment item works before they try to use it. This is especially the case for workers that spend the majority of their time suspended high in the air. It is absolutely vital that they know how each item of safety equipment works, and that they receive the proper training in order to ensure that they do. Here are some good tips for when it comes to training your workers as it pertains to the proper use of safety equipment:

  • Make sure that each individual employee has been properly trained
  • Ensure that each employee knows exactly how to use every piece of safety equipment you offer
  • Teach employees how to properly inspect equipment to make sure that it will work without fail when they go to use it
  • Make sure that workers never try to misuse any safety equipment item

Other factors to take into account as it pertains to safety equipment training:

There are some other factors that you should always consider when training your employees on how to properly use the safety equipment that you provide to them. The first is to make sure that none of your employees ever tries to alter or change the way that a certain item of safety equipment is used. All safety equipment items are designed and manufactured for a specific purpose, and must always be used to serve that exact purpose. Do not ever try to use a piece of safety equipment in a way that it was not specifically designed and manufactured for.

It is also vital that your workers know that proper emergency procedures should something ever go wrong while using safety equipment. Accidents can happen, even when the best safety equipment items are being properly used, so make sure a part of your safety equipment training program for employees deals with exactly how to respond to any emergencies that may arise. This is something that you will certainly want to do, and also something that should always be a part of any safety equipment training that you directly provide to your workers.

William Neijer is a content creator and writer for Safety Company, a safety and emergency supply company.

A Good Pair Of Safety Goggles Will Protect Your Eyes

If you work at a job where your eyes will be at risk in any way at all, than it is important that you wear a good pair of safety goggles at all times. Safety goggles can help prevent your eyes from the risk of injury or infection. Today, there are many different types of jobs out there where wearing safety goggles is necessary. Perhaps you work in a wood shop, where sawdust and other like particles are constantly floating around in the air. These particles have the ability to cause serious infection, so using a pair of quality safety goggles is a way to avoid this.