The Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association was in Estevan last week, to present a brief seminar on safety at the job site.
There was a station set up to test eyewear, where nails were fired into lenses at point-blank range, as well as a fall-protection system and a melon drop. SCSA’s Gary Schreiner went through the eye-safety demonstration for the small crowd of local employees just outside the Souris Valley Aquatic and Leisure Centre.
He said the SCSA goes to job sites to talk to employers and employees, and that’s how they decide what they talk about during these seminars. Last week’s had a particular focus on eye safety.
“We are industry driven,” said Schreiner. “What the industry is looking for, what they’re asking for. This is what we hear, so we derive something to help fix that.”
Attending the seminar were some City of Estevan employees, as well as personnel from electrical and framing companies and general construction.
“The eye demo, we’ve heard a lot of complaints about how ‘I get my guys to wear their safety glasses. I’ve got to tell them every day,’” said Schreiner. “So we came up with a demonstration: we shoot a fast-load air nailer onto safety glasses and non-safety glasses. It’s very vivid, the demonstration. Just regular sunglasses, it busts them right apart. The nail actually goes through and they stick into the mannequin head that we’re shooting on.”
With safety glasses, the nail just bounces off. Schreiner noted that they are shooting from about six inches away, and the glasses are offering protection.
“We don’t expect on the job site that you’re going to take a nail toward the face, but we needed to build something that was safe when we were demonstrating and to demonstrate the purpose of the safety glasses.”
For the demonstration, the glasses are placed onto a mannequin head that was encased in a box of bullet-proof glass. The nails are fired from small holes in one side of the box.
The fall-protection system includes a wall-walker system to hang on the top of the wall, as well as railings, and it can be adjusted to various height levels.
“We’ve (also) got a netting system here, not so popular yet in Saskatchewan, but in Ontario they’re also using it for residential houses. You’ve got to picture that 10 or 20 feet off the ground.”
The final demonstration, which can get a little messy, was the melon drop. For this, they placed a watermelon, in place of a human head and dropped hammers, pry bars and even a 12-pound sledgehammer onto the melons both with, and without, a hard hat.
“It’s pretty vivid as well, I mean, the 12-pound sledgehammer blows the watermelon apart without the hard hat on.”
He said they’ve looked into the similarities of a watermelon and a human skull, and said they’ve found that it is a good reference point for a demonstration.