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December 31, 2013 - Judging by the newsmakers over the past year—from successful plant shutdowns and changes to certified safety standards, to tackling skills shortages and safety breaches—2013 was a good year for improving  safety, maintenance and reliability. A review of a few popular topics.
December 16, 2013 - The days of scraping down windshields may soon be a thing of the past, if it's up to two University of Waterloo graduates. "Frost is a major problem for individuals and businesses daily. Not only is it inconvenient but it has an impact on safety and can even hinder economic activity," said Abhinay Kondamreddy, a nanotechnology engineering graduate who developed Neverfrost along with three classmates. Neverfrost is an environmentally-friendly technology that prevents frost, fog, and ice formation. The innovation is the foundation for a new startup, also called Neverfrost. By spraying Neverfrost on a windshield at night, drivers can avoid scraping and defrosting it on cold winter mornings, and clear the windshield simply by running the wipers. The Neverfrost technology prevents snow from freezing to the glass as well as fog and frost. Neverfrost expects to begin taking pre-orders for the spray with a Kickstarter campaign in March. Future plans for Neverfrost include incorporating it directly into washer fluids. Frost and ice create challenges for aircrafts, air conditioning, commercial refrigerators, power lines, and agriculture - creating future opportunities for the Neverfrost technology. Kondamreddy is one of two entrepreneurs who continue to further their technologies and startups thanks to a $60,000 Scientists and Engineers in Business fellowship. The fellowship is a University of Waterloo program supported by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario for promising entrepreneurs who want to commercialize their innovations and start high-tech businesses. For contractors who drop salt on parking lots and sidewalks, as well as the municipalities or owners who pay for it, there's never been a way to measure how much salt is actually dispensed. Smart Scale, an automated salt logging and tracking system designed specifically for the winter maintenance industry is changing that. Developed by Raqib Omer, a Waterloo Engineering graduate, Smart Scale uses exclusive hardware wirelessly paired with GPS-enabled smart phones to track the location of a maintenance vehicle and amount of salt dispensed, and logs the information on a cloud-based system in real time. Since the cost of salt is based on size of load, property owners can be assured they're getting what they paid for, as well as reducing risks that exist in the industry. "With growing public concern on the environmental effects of salt, rising salt prices, and increasing fear of litigation due to slips and falls, as well as driving conditions, reliable and accurate information on salt application is becoming a necessity for maintenance contractors," said Omer. More than 20 winter maintenance contractors in Canada and the U.S., including Urban Meadows Property Maintenance Group in Ayr, Ontario, currently use Smart Scale. Urban Meadows owner, William Jordan, met Omer in the early testing phase of Smart Scale and the startup phase of Omer's company, Viaesys. As the first contractor to test Smart Scale, he quickly learned there were times his company was using too much salt. "The accuracy rate wasn't there at all," said Jordan. "We're now able to accurately monitor salt usage, prevent excessive material use, keep bullet-proof records of our work and job-cost a lot better. The real time tracking of salt has helped us use up to 30 per cent less salt." Smart Scale is now installed on all four of his company's trucks which service 75 properties in Cambridge and Ayr, including parking lots for grocery stores and post offices. Jordan, who is also chair of the snow and ice committee management sector for the horticultural trade association, Landscape Ontario, says he quickly jumped on board with Omer's research and would like to see Smart Scale change the way salt is applied across Ontario. With no industry standards for salt application currently in place, Smart Scale could make this possible. Neverfrost is part of the University of Waterloo's VeloCity startup incubator program and recently won two $1,000 grants at a VeloCity Fund Finals competition held in July. Neverfrost is set to one of the first companies to operate out of the new VeloCity Foundry - a workspace that will provide hardware-based startups with VeloCity programming, plus free access to machinery, tools, and prototyping equipment; and testing, wet lab and assembly space. Nanotechnology Engineering is a multi-disciplinary engineering field, which draws from and benefits areas such as materials science and engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, and medicine. Waterloo's Nanotechnology Engineering programs are offered collaboratively through the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering, and the Chemistry Department in the Faculty of Science. For more information, visit www.uwaterloo.ca.
December 11, 2013 - On behalf of the manufacturer, Precision Mastech, Canadian Tire is voluntarily recalling all units of the Mastercraft Multimeter Kit (Product #052-0727) as a precautionary measure due to concerns that the unit may not accurately detect voltage levels, posing a potential safety concern.
October 21, 2013 – ERI Safety Videos has released two new safety awareness programs that deal with two important safety awareness topics.
August 30, 2013 – Silani Sweet Cheese Ltd. of Bradford West Gwillimbury, a cheese manufacturer with facilities located near Schomberg, Ont., was fined $60,000 after a worker was injured and lost two fingers while operating a machine.
August 12, 2013 - Nova Scotia has launched a penalty system focused on worker safety as part of its approach to get “tougher on employers who put workers at risk, and promote education and prevention for less serious infractions”.
August 9, 2013 - Ansell’s new HyFlex 11-200 Hi-Viz sleeve claims to combine exceptional comfort with ANSI level 3 cut performance and ANSI level 2 abrasion resistance for greater safety. The product’s visible fluorescent yellow colour also helps keep workers safe in environments with poor light or in applications where individuals work at a distance. The one-size HyFlex 11-200 sleeve provides an adjustable system in the forearm area and space in the upper arm area to help fit all workers. A fixing system prevents roll down by attaching the safety sleeve to the worker’s shirt.
July 25, 2013 - Capital Safety has redesigned its DBI-SALA EZ-Stop lanyard, boasting lighter, stronger and more durable qualities, along with Hi-10 energy management material, Repel webbing, and a soft cover with protected labels. “We consistently heard a request for innovative new lanyards that were not only more durable, but lighter and smaller. The new EZ-Stop is a unique product that meets those needs across industries,” says Jacob Shevik, soft goods product manager at Capital Safety. According to the company, the new Hi-10 shock pack is 66% smaller and 40% lighter than competing products, making it the smallest available shock pack in the world, it claims.
July 12, 2013 - Aurora Pictures has recently released two new safety awareness programs, Ladder Safety and Combustible Dust Awareness. The first is a 17-minute video, which details the hazards of working on a ladder and discusses how to select the right ladder for the job, inspect the ladder before use, how to transport and set up a ladder, and more. Combustible Dust Awareness is an 8-minute video that provides a general awareness of how combustible dust explosions are caused and what users can do to recognize and mitigate the possible hazards before it is too late. It includes a detailed explanation of what combustible dust is and what makes dust such a highly combustible fuel source. Both of these programs are available in DVD and streaming media formats.
July 4, 2013 - Safway Group has announced that Paul Amedee joined Safway’s safety team as vice president of safety, where he will lead the continued improvement and advancement of Safway’s safety systems and reporting tools and coordinate all safety-related administrative procedures. Indirectly, he will also be responsible for overseeing regional and branch safety personnel, as well as employee and customer safety-related training.