Falls are one of the most common causes of injury, and in some unfortunate cases, they result in death in workplaces all over Ontario, as the Ministry of Labour states. As of April 1’st 2015, all employers must make sure workers on construction sites and those doing other activities that involve working at heights while using fall protection equipment, must enrol and complete a certified Working At Heights training workshop. Workers who have completed such a program before April 1’st 2015 are exempted from these new regulations until April 1’st 2017.
These new regulations apply to those who are obligated to use any of the following fall prevention systems on construction projects, since the Working at Heights training specifications are an addition to the current requirements of the Construction Projects Regulation:
- A travel restriction system;
- A fall restriction system;
- Safety nets;
- A safety belt or a work belt;
- A fall arrest system.
According to the Construction Projects Regulation, any worker that uses these types of fall prevention equipment must receive proper instruction from a certified trainer, both written and oral. If a worker uses any fall prevention system not specified under the Construction Projects Regulation, he doesn’t need to complete a Working at Heights Training Program.
The standards for these types of training workshops and training instructors are established by the Chief Prevention Officer (CPO). In order for a training program to be approved by the CPO, it needs to contain all of the information from the Working at Heights Training Standard. Explicitly, any training program will have two main components:
- Module 1: Working at Heights essential theory – it covers the basics of how to safely operate at heights. The minimum duration of this module must be three hours long.
- Module 2: Working at Heights Practical Application – workers are provided with advanced fall protection systems instructions, including hands-on demos of all the necessary procedures required to safely operate them. In this case, it needs to be at least 3.5 hours long.
The Working at Heights training program is valid for three years. Once this period has passed, any worker on a construction project must take a refresher training, using one of the previous fall protection methods. To renew the validity of the working at heights training, this half-day refresher training must also be approved by the Chief Prevention Officer and provided by a certified trainer.
If the worker changes employers, he doesn’t need to retake the training program, as long as his earlier training is still valid. To prove to his new employer that his working at heights training is still valid, he must present them his CPO- issued card, as proof of completion. The CPO- issued card does not need to be carried at work if the employer doesn’t ask it. Alternatively, the new employer can find out about the validity of the worker’s training by contacting the administration team from the Ministry of Labour, but only with the worker’s written consent.