TORONTO — The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MOLTSD) is giving workers in the construction sector an extra year to renew their mandatory working-at-heights (WAH) training due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The WAH training of more than 120,000 Ontario workers is set to expire over the next six months.
“With the current need to practice physical distancing, it is important to reduce in-person classes to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Janet Deline, a spokesperson for the MOLTSD in an email the Daily Commercial News. “Many training providers have already either cancelled classes or shut down due to COVID-19.”
“This change ensures affected construction workers have additional time to complete refresher training at a time when it may be challenging to find courses. It also ensures constructors and employers are able to engage workers who otherwise could not work without renewing their working-at-heights training.”
The change pertains particularly to workers who successfully completed their WAH training between February 28, 2017 and August 31, 2017, which would have expired this year but will now be extended to 2021.
“The extension enables affected workers to be eligible to work on construction projects, where they are active,” said Deline. “It also ensures construction industry activities will be able to move ahead without interruption, when possible.”
Ontario has amended the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in order to enable the extension.
“The health and well-being of every Ontario resident is the ministry’s number one priority,” Deline noted.
Almost every construction worker on a project requires WAH training. The training provides information to workers and supervisors that allows them to identify a fall hazard and work together to put controls in place to protect workers.
“While all sectors may require workers to work at heights, only workers in the construction sector have a mandatory requirement to take, and successfully complete, the training,” Deline explained.
For more information visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/training-working-heights