• Green Triangle? Blue Square? Circle with a Piece Missing?! What the F…Footwear?

    We pay a lot of attention to our safety gear selection, but one aspect of personal protective equipment that often gets overlooked is our footwear. Not all safety footwear is created equal – and those little symbols you see on protective footwear actually mean something!

    As a rule of thumb, the green CSA triangle (which indicates toe and sole puncture protection) and the orange omega symbol (indicating electrical shock) are standard in most industrial locations,  but it’s important to know the differences when selecting footwear so you don’t end up with the wrong kind.

    The table below (obtained from CCOHS) reviews the different CSA certified markings, criteria, and applications that you’ll find stamped or patched on protective footwear.

    Check your boots out to see which symbols are on them. The wrong time to figure out that you are wearing the wrong type of protection is when an accident happens!

    MarkingCriteria Intended Application
    Green triangle indicates sole puncture protection with a Grade 1 protective toecap.For heavy industrial work environments, especially that of construction where sharp objects (such as nails) are present.
    Yellow triangle indicates sole puncture protection with a Grade 2 protective toecap.For light industrial work environments requiring puncture protection as well as toe protection.
    Blue rectangle indicates a Grade 1 protective toecap with no puncture-resistant sole.For industrial work environments not requiring puncture protection.
    Grey rectangle indicates a Grade 2 protective toecap with no puncture-resistant sole.For industrial and non-industrial work environments not requiring puncture protection.
    White rectangle with orange Greek letter omega indicates electric-shock protective footwear.For industrial work environments where accidental contact with live electoral conductors can occur. Warning: Electrical shock resistance deteriorates with wear and in a wet environment.
    For industrial work environments where accidental contact with live electoral conductors can occur. Warning: Electrical shock resistance deteriorates with wear and in a wet environment.For industrial work environments where a static discharge can create a hazard for workers or equipment. Warning: This footwear should not be used where contact with live electrical conductors can occur.
    Yellow rectangle indicates sole puncture protection with a Grade 2 protective toecap (super-static dissipative footwear).For industrial work environments where a static discharge can create a hazard for workers or equipment. Warning: This footwear should not be used where contact with live electrical conductors can occur.
    Red rectangle with white C letter indicates electrically conductive footwear.For industrial work environments where low-power electrical changes can create a hazard for workers or equipment. Warning: This footwear should not be used where contact with live electrical conductors can occur.
    Dark grey rectangle with M letter indicates metatarsal protection. Note: Toe protection is required for all metatarsal protective footwear.For industrial work environments where heavy objects can hurt the metatarsal region of the foot.
    White label with green fir tree symbol footwear provides protection when using chainsaws.For forestry workers and others who work with or around hand-held chainsaws and other cutting tools.

    Need some helping deciding what footwear is best for your job? Get in touch with me.

    Eric Huard

    Eric Huard | Market Segment Manager: Personal Safety
    Levitt-Safety Limited Oakville

  • Your Cotton T Shirt is Not Your Friend!

    Dragon Wear POWER DRY® DUAL HAZARD SHIRT - MENSWe all have that old faithful Saturday morning, super-soft, cotton t-shirt that’s been with us for years we just can’t seem to part with. Ever throw it on under your work clothes and realize halfway through the day that it’s become an uncomfortable mess? Why can’t we be friends with our favourite comfy shirt in the workplace?

    The answer is simple: water absorption. Cotton is one of the most absorbent fibers around, meaning it’s going to absorb both your perspiration, and any humidity in the air.

    So in the summer, your cotton t-shirt absorbs water, turning that light, comfortable fabric you loved into a hot, sticky swamp. The water gets trapped and starts to absorb heat, which prevents our bodies from cooling down through the evaporation of sweat. The result? More perspiration and more heat!

    In the winter, water gets trapped and is constantly stealing heat from our body, losing it to the cold air. The result? We add another layer to stay warm…and then another layer…and maybe another. Now you have additional weight added and you’ve sacrificed comfort. You start feeling like you’re the Michelin Man and you can’t move!

    The body needs to dry to effectively regulate its temperature. Simply adding a moisture wicking layer underneath can go a long way to ensuring you’re comfortable. You’ll minimize the need for additional layering in the winter, and avoid becoming a hot, sticky mess in the summer.

    Additionally, if you’re working in an arc flash environment, studies have shown that moisture next to skin can boil in an arc flash, regardless of the calorie protection one is wearing. How can you avoid making a bad day even worse? A moisture wicking shirt with Flame Resistance protection will remove that moisture to eliminate the risk – but it also adds extra calorie protection, keeping you much safer!

    So the next time you go to throw on that old cotton t-shirt under your work gear, think of this – an undershirt with moisture transfer technology is the gold standard in all seasons. Whether you’re in a bucket working on power-line in the middle of winter or on an oilfield in July, comfort means staying dry.

    Want other ways to avoid “embracing the suck” of our unpredictable Canadian weather? Drop me a line.

    Eric Huard

    Eric Huard | Market Segment Manager: Personal Safety
    Levitt-Safety Limited Oakville

  • Selecting the Right Respirator Cartridge or Filter

    Using the right respirator cartridge is just as important as using the right respirator.

    Once you’ve been fit-tested to ensure the proper fit and seal of your respirator, you’ll need to determine what cartridge is the most appropriate and effective for the work you’ll be performing.

    Your employer should have a written respirator program in place that advises you on the procedures to follow for selecting and operating respiratory protective equipment. Without the right program, most people will not receive the best protection from their respirator, even if it’s the correct choice for the job.

    Respirator filters are made of materials designed to trap particulate as you breathe. Cartridges contain materials that absorb gases and vapours. It’s critical that you choose the right filter or cartridge for the chemicals or substances present in your workplace.

    A qualified person needs to establish a change-out schedule for the replacement of respirator filters and cartridges before their useful service life has ended – the warning properties of the contaminant should not be relied on for change-out. If you detect odour or experience any irritation symptoms of the contaminant before the end of the change-out schedule, let your respiratory program administrator know so they can re-evaluate the use of the respirator and its cartridges or filters.

    What do the colours on respirator cartridges mean?














    For more assistance in choosing an appropriate respirator cartridge, please download the guides from our vendor partners below:

    Michael Douglas

    Michael Douglas | Market Segment Manager: Confined Space, Working at Heights & Respiratory Protection
    Levitt-Safety Limited Oakville

  • Working at Heights Training Requirements for Construction Projects Extended

    Since we provide Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) approved Working at Heights (WAH) training, we were made aware of an important update to the Ontario Working at Heights (WAH) training dates. I’ll post the verbiage below, but you see the deadline is being extended to October 1, 2017, BUT please keep in mind there are circumstances conditional to that extension. Please read below:

    DATE: March 29, 2017

    RE: Working at Heights Training Requirements for Construction Projects

    As you know, the working at heights (WAH) training requirements set out in O. Reg. 297/13 came into force on April 1, 2015, requiring that employers must ensure that workers on construction projects successfully complete a working at heights training program approved by the Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) and delivered by a CPO-approved training provider before they can work at heights.

    There was a two-year transition period for workers who, prior to April 1, 2015, met the fall protection training requirements set out in subsection 26.2(1) of O. Reg. 213/91. These workers had until April 1, 2017 to complete an approved working at heights training program.

    After receiving requests from worker representatives in the construction sector, and in dialogue with employers and health and safety organizations, O,Reg. 297/13 has been amended to extend the time for workers to receive the training.

    The deadline is being extended to October 1, 2017, lengthening the transition period by six months in specific circumstances.

    The worker(s) in question must have completed fall protection training that met the requirements of section 26.2(1) of O. Reg. 213/91 (Construction Projects) before April 1, 2015, and the worker must be enrolled in a WAH training program that will be completed before October 1, 2017. The employer must have written proof of enrollment, which must be made available to an inspector upon request.

    The proof of enrollment must include the name of the worker, the name of the approved training provider, the date on which the approved training is scheduled to be complete, and the name of the approved training program. Your clients may request you provide them with this proof of enrollment with these four required items.

    The Ministry will continue to enforce all occupational health and safety training requirements, including those for working at heights.

    The Ministry would like to thank the more than 160 Chief Prevention Office approved working at heights training providers who offer this crucial training. Together, we are continuing to make Ontario one of the safest places to work in the world.

    Please contact me or Levitt-Safety if you are concerned about meeting the new training requirements. Be safe!

    Norbert Nobrega

    Norbert Nobrega | EPCM Sales Specialist
    Levitt-Safety Limited Oakville

  • You Don’t Need to Care About the Globally Harmonized System (GHS)

    GHS Label RollBold statement, right? Do I really mean that you shouldn’t care? Let’s walk through what you have to follow for the Globally Harmonized System, or GHS.

    GHS is a hazard classification system developed by the United Nations, which is not enforceable under Canadian law. What is an enforceable law is the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, which you probably know as WHMIS. Some of GHS was incorporated into WHMIS in 2015, which was then aptly renamed WHMIS 2015. So do you need to read up on GHS? Not really.

    WHMIS 2015 means that you’re going to have to do some training. The good news is that it’s easier than ever to train your workers thanks to the multitude of online courses available. This training introduces the new symbols, labeling, and safety sheets that are going to be used moving forward. Chances are you’re doing that already. Congrats!

    Another provision of WHMIS 2015 mandates that chemical suppliers must switch from the old Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to the new Safety Data Sheets (SDS) format. This essentially reorganizes the information to list the possible health risks at the top of the sheet. As an employer, you have to ensure that you have and make available all SDS sheets for any hazardous product. If you are a manufacturer, then you need to prepare these sheets and ensure you notify your customers of any changes to the way the product is handled or stored, or there if there is a classification change to the product.

    The last change is labelling, and this is where things may get tricky for a typical employer. Hazardous products must be labelled. Most of the time, the label from the manufacturer is going to suffice. This is a supplier label and if the product will always be contained in this container, then you don’t need to do anything. Job’s done! Sweet.

    The second type of label is a workplace label. These need to be prepared under 3 conditions:

    1. You produced a hazardous product at the workplace and will be using it
    2. You are transferring/decanting/pouring a hazardous product into another container
    3. The supplier label is unreadable, lost or damaged

    However there are two situations where a workplace label isn’t necessary.

    1. The hazardous product that was transferred into another container will be used immediately
    2. The hazardous product stays under the control of the person who transferred it

    Part B here comes with a caveat. The worker must use it in the same shift and must be the only one to handle it. But a product identifier (name of the product) must be put on the container.

    TL;DR? Here’s your summary:

    P.S. TL;DR – Too long; didn’t read.

    Eric Huard

    Eric Huard | Market Segment Manager: Personal Safety
    Levitt-Safety Limited Oakville

  • YPO: Adding Value to Industries Around The World (Part 2)

    Ryan Holmes, founder and CEO of the unicorn Hootsuite shared with us the importance of establishing a strong social media presence – involving the CEO and a significant support team. He gave us a personal war story to illustrate the importance of quickly owning your mistakes and moving on.

    Justin Trudeau charmed the mostly international audience with his openness and description of Canada as an inclusive nation.  He reminded us of the importance of family and the need to take time out to spend with loved ones as a way to recharge our batteries.  When asked how long a Prime Minister sleeps, he almost sheepishly answered that he tries to be in bed by 10:00 PM and usually wakes up at 6:30.  The benefits of a good night’s rest to sound decision making was a theme that several speakers reinforced that day.

    Anthony Von Mandl, founder and CEO of the Mark Anthony Group shares his rags to riches story of the growth of Mission Hill Winery and Mike’s Hard Lemonade as they successfully battled the giants of the beverage business.

    Francis Ho, Managing Director of the Samsung Catalyst Fund, gave us insight into the coming convergence of communications technology with software and hardware that will assist with health and wellness.  Levitt-Safety recently launched one such product called Optimity that helps engage workforces to manage breaks in their work, exercise and make healthy choices.

    JD Roth, producer of reality television programs including “The Biggest Loser” brought his passion for weight loss to life with two former contestants sharing the transformational stories.  In both stories that were shared, sexual abuse at a young age led these people to over-eat as a defense mechanism and it wasn’t until they confronted that reality that they were able to make the changes to a healthier lifestyle.  A valuable lesson to us all to look beyond the obvious to get to the root cause of a challenge.

    Maria Shriver discussed her work to promote a cure for Altzheimer’s disease.  I was not aware that this disease disproportionately affects women, who represent two third of all cases.  Annual funding for Alzheimer’s research is currently about 1/7 what is spent on cancer, but there is a sense that after a series of failures a cure may not be too far off the horizon.

    Arianna Huffington brought her unique sense of humour to the group as she reinforced what Justin Trudeau had said earlier about the need for adequate sleep and balance in our lives.

    Gillian Zucker, President of Business Operations for the Los Angeles Clippers shared with us how she has been working to change her organisation’s culture to one of always finding ways to say “yes” – long a Mantra of Fraser Gibson, our VP Operations when he trains our team.

    Mark Fields, president and CEO of the Ford Motor Company shared his thoughts on the future of the automotive industry.  He sees autonomous vehicles being a disruptive force to his business as fewer people will own cars and more will be shared.  This represents both a threat and an opportunity for Ford aqs they explore ways to remain a driving force in the industry.  Ford is finding more opportunities to work collaboratively with cities on mutually beneficial visions for the future – one that might include the banning of private vehicles in city cores and coordinated links between public transportation and autonomous vehicles.

    A panel of Disney executives discussed disruption in the context of the entertainment industry.  Disney believes with the proliferation of choices available to consumers there has been and will be a flight to quality.  This has driven them to purchase leading formerly independent franchises such as Lucas, Pixar and Marvel.  They see continued blurring between movies and television with actors and directors floating between the two mediums as television series budgets have increased dramatically.  They don’t feel that the movie industry will be affected by the same unbundling that happened to the music industry – they felt tht consumers were being forced to over-buy by the music industry (selling whole albums when people only wanted one or two songs) and this is less of a concern for movies where people want to watch the entire film.

    The conference ended with Gene Simmons of KISS sharing his business success story in a typical larger than life fashion before organisers took his microphone away and convinced him to play a few songs for us.  He invited some ladies to join him on stage and our own Heidi Levitt was right in there.

    I return to work re-energized and re-invigorated to continue with our vision of making Canada a safer place to live and work.  I look forward to being inspired again at next year’s conference that will take place in Singapore.

    Bruce Levitt

    Bruce Levitt | President
    Levitt-Safety Limited Oakville