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Ontario evaluating effectiveness of Working at Heights training

DCN News Services
Ontario evaluating effectiveness of Working at Heights training
Labour Education Centre instructor Isaam Deeb instructs students taking its Working at Heights course which includes three hours in class and three hours “in the harness.”

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.

Recent Comments (2 comments)

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Wade Image Wade

Instead of spending $600K on assessing the effectiveness, why not ask the people who have taken the training and use it daily what they think.

Tim Dove Image Tim Dove

It appears the CPO (Chief Prevention Office) has been successful, only in creating a new fashion statement by wearing a harness,not being attached to a fall arrest anchors system. A MOL (Ministry of Labour) inspector stopped my project for inspection,he walked right to the roofs edge without harness or tether, violating the regulations and training of the WAH coarse. How can such heavy handed regulations be applied to window cleaning but not construction when working at heights?I would like to remind the ministry that gravity is the same for inspectors,window cleaners ,construction workers, foreigners and roofers. The OGCA (Ontario General Contractors Association) is on the right path,if you want to get the information out make it correct, informative,available and affordable! It appears that the MOL does not understand WAH or suspended equipment operations.The rigging,equipment, knowledge and methods of application are more important than the harness. The Ministry has created a dangerous work place by the shortfall of eligible WAH workers. A novel concept for the CPO is to seek input from experience workers! I have over 20 years of working at heights and my suggestions have been disregarded.

Vince Versace Image Vince Versace

The earlier version of this news item included a stock image which depicted workers not wearing appropriate footwear. That image has been replaced with the current one. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

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