TORONTO — The Ontario provincial government has announced it is evaluating the effectiveness of its mandatory Working at Heights (WAH) training standards aimed at preventing fall incidents at construction sites.
The mandatory WAH training program standard came into effect on April 1, 2015. A media statement released Dec. 4 indicated, “In order to continue ensuring the safety of workers, the government needs to assess the effectiveness of the training and make improvements to the standards where necessary.”
After the review is complete, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) will analyze the results of the evaluation to determine whether any changes to improve the effectiveness of the WAH training initiative are needed, the statement indicated.
“Falls continue to be a leading cause of critical injuries and fatalities of construction workers in Ontario,” commented Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn in the statement. “By ensuring that these training standards are effective, we will reduce fatal incidents at work by making sure workers receive high-quality, consistent training for this high-hazard activity. When we nurture a culture of safety, we foster healthy workplaces. We must all work together to improve health and safety by preventing injuries and deaths of construction workers.”
“Working at heights is one of the most dangerous types of work in the construction sector. By working with stakeholders to evaluate the WAH standards, we will help ensure construction workers are protected on the job and will return home safely at the end of each workday,” said Dr. Cameron Mustard, president and senior scientist, Institute for Work and Health.
The current standard calls for employers to ensure that certain workers complete a WAH training program that has been approved by the Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) and delivered by a CPO-approved training provider before they can work at heights.
Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, 2017, 40 workers died in incidents on the job. Eleven of those fatalities were due to falls, the statement said.
The province is spending $595,000 to assess the effectiveness of its WAH training standards.