Health & Safety Articles

Clearly Stated Solutions



  • Safety Training and the Supervisor 
  • Ram Blocks vs. Die Blocks  
  • Complacency of Lift Truck Operators 

Safety Training and the Supervisor

A common question posed by shop floor personnel during training sessions is “Why aren’t the supervisors taking this course?”

Management may or may not see this question as appropriate but the workforce has a legitimate concern. Does the supervisor understand the potential hazards associated with his/her area of responsibility?

Untrained supervisors often lack the respect of the workforce and are not taken seriously when it comes to safety matters.

One of the most common areas involves lockout requirements. Many supervisors do not understand how to lockout machines, when to lockout machines, or who must lockout machines. This lack of understanding results in a lack of enforcement. 

If this is the case at your factory, worker safety and a due diligence defense (if a related accident should occur) may be in jeopardy.

Production requirements often prevent supervisors from leaving the shop floor during their regular shifts. If this is the case, consider training supervisors of other shifts or weekends to help ensure a safe workplace.

Ram Blocks vs. Die Blocks

Canadian Standards Association Z-142-02, Code for Power Press Operation: Health Safety, and Guarding Requirements defines a safety blocking device as a prop or support that is placed between the face of the ram and the bolster plate or between the dies to prevent the ram from falling from its own dead weight or dies from closing.

The blocking device positioned between the bolster plate and the face of the ram is called a ram block. The blocking device positioned between the upper and lower die sections is called a die block.

A die block is designed to prevent both the ram and the upper die section form descending. This device gives additional protection to anyone working between the die surfaces.

Many companies are aware of the difference between the blocking devices and supply both types for each press.

Safety Brocking Device

There is a distinct difference in purpose of the two blocking devices.  A ram block is used when working under the ram when a die is not installed in the press.  It must be adjusted to bridge the entire gap between the upper and lower surfaces.  The die block would usually be too short to meet this requirement.  A die block is usually a better choice if working between the upper and lower die surfaces.  If a ram block is used is this situation, the ram should be prevented from descending but the top die section could descend if clamping for the top section failed.

Complacency of Lift Truck Operators
Lift Truck
Many of us drive cars and over time become complacent resulting in undesirable safety habits. Unsafe habits are also evident with many lift truck operators.  During the practical sessions of Lift Truck Operator Re-certification Training, participants often display two particularly bad habits.  They are as follows:

  • Failing to look in the direction of travel when backing out of a trailer or backing away from racking in order to lower the load.  A person behind the vehicle is not visible and may be struck.
  • Raising or lowering the load while moving forward or reverse.  This may result in a flip-over of the vehicle and personal injury to the operator and/or others.

“Supervisors should be aware of the potential for bad operating habits”