OHS Canada Magazine

Improving Workplace Safety with New Working-at-Heights Training Standard

March 2, 2015
By the Ontario Ministry of Labour

Ontario is improving safety for construction workers by making new training for those who work at heights mandatory as of April 1, 2015.

The new Working at Heights Training Program Standard will ensure everyone using fall-protection systems is consistently trained and better protected on the job. This standard applies to all construction projects in Ontario regulated by the Regulations for Construction Projects.

The training standard includes:

  • Rights and responsibilities related to working at heights;
  • Hazard identification;
  • Ladder safety; and
  • Proper usage of personal protective equipment.

A Working at Heights Training Provider Standard has also been developed to set out requirements for prospective training providers.

The new training requirements are part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

Quick Facts

  • In 2013, 21 workers died in incidents on construction projects. Almost 50 per cent were as a result of falls.
  • Workers trained under the current fall-protection training requirements in the Regulations for Construction Projects before April 1, 2015 will have until April 1, 2017, to also be trained under the new requirements.
  • An application form and guidelines for training providers are posted on the Ministry of Labour website. Applications will be accepted starting January 5, 2015.

“Falls are the number one cause of critical injuries and fatalities of workers at construction projects in Ontario,” says Kevin Flynn, Ontario’s Minister of Labour. “We need to fix that, and the new mandatory working-at-heights standards are one step we’re taking to ensure workers are safe on the job and return home at the end of each work day.”

“Working at heights is one of the most dangerous types of work at construction projects,” says George Gritziotis, the province’s Chief Prevention Officer. “By making these standards mandatory, we are ensuring those workers receive consistent, high-quality training. Our shared goal is to improve health and safety and prevent injuries and deaths of construction workers.”

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