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Hydro Ottawa 2010 Tool and Equipment Inspection Week


May 19, 2010
By Anthony Capkun

Hands-on approach reinforces importance of health and safety in the workplace

Policies and procedures may help sustain a safe workplace but, for Hydro Ottawa, a practical approach―including equipment inspection and emergency rescue techniques―reinforces the importance of health and safety for its outside employees. This year, more than 200 field-based employees participated in Hydro Ottawa’s annual Tool and Equipment Inspection Week, an event unique to Hydro Ottawa.

Industry experts were invited to perform comprehensive inspections and
tests of tools, personal protective and critical safety equipment
belonging to outdoor workers. The latter half of the day was spent
practising rescue techniques, such as pole rescue, bucket evacuation and
underground cable chamber rescue. Health and wellness experts were also
on site to answer questions.

“Prevention is key when it comes to reducing the chances of work
-related injury,” says Dave Stephens, safety and trades training
supervisor. “This week is intended to remind our employees their safety
comes first.”

Among the tools inspected and tested were grounds. Inspectors checked
for rips and tears, and verified the current matched safety standards.
Fall-arrest equipment was also inspected for tears along straps and
belts, and checked for bent or broken hooks.

First Aid kit inspectors looked for out-of-date products and
non-essential items. Some of the most common risks found include traces
of blood, broken objects and rust. Contents were also inspected for
mould, which can be caused by humidity.

Amp guns, gas battery hydraulic-powered tools, worker protection tags
and dielectric sticks were also inspected and tested. In addition,
compliance kits were verified to ensure the regulation manuals and
reference guides were accurate and complete.

Employees then practised their emergency skills during bucket
truck rescue and evacuation exercises, which challenged their rappelling
skills. Pole climbing and pole-top rescue skills were also tested.
Underground cable jointers also practised their rescue techniques in
underground chambers. All of the completed inspections and exercises
were based on the guiding legislative requirements, in accordance with
Hydro Ottawa’s procedures and industry best practices.

New to the event this year was a “Wellness at Work” campaign,
promoting physical and mental wellness as key to maintaining a safe and
healthy workplace. Vendors including orthotic, chiropractic, nutrition
and fitness experts were onsite with the Canadian Mental Health
Association and employee assistance program reps, as well as nurses who
provide health checks for employees.

Hydro Ottawa staff have come to look forward to this annual event. It
allows them to keep their tools and skills up to date, contributing to
peace of mind that a solid foundation is in place for their daily
assignments. The company, meantime, benefits through the efficiency of a
consolidated day-long event that ensures compliance with industry
regulations and reassures that best practices are being followed for
keeping employees safe.
Tool and Equipment Inspection Week was held over four days at five Hydro
Ottawa-owned work centres across the city. The annual event is planned
and managed by Hydro Ottawa’s Human Resources department.

Contributed by Hydro Ottawa

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