Ontario is about to better structure fall protection training for construction employees. From now on, trainers will be accredited by the Ministry of Labour, and all construction employees will have to pass tests. Is this an example to follow for all the other provinces?
A thought-provoking accident
In August 2013, a construction worker fell 55 floors from a building, causing great turmoil in the middle of downtown Toronto. The Ontario government considered what could be done to prevent this kind of incident. Bruce Davis, Expert Advisor, Fall Protection at SPI, says that the solution was to go back to basics and “control the fall protection training content. Often, people offering this training have not had the necessary skill sets.”
New fall protection training requirements
On April 1st, 2015, The Ministry of Labour has changed the training requirement.There is a two-year transition period for workers who, prior this date, met the fall protection training requirements set out in subsection 26.2(1) of the Construction Projects Regulation.
It means that all workers have until April 1st, 2017 to complete a working at heights training program that has been approved by the Chief Prevention Officer and delivered by an approved training provider before they can work at heights.
All construction projects using travel restraint systems, fall restricting systems, fall arrest systems, safety nets, and work or safety belts will require the training.
2 courses and 2 tests
Course content was overhauled and are now offered in two distinct parts.
First, workers will have to follow a 3-hour theoretical module, including the revision of the necessary precautions to adopt when working at heights, the rights and responsibilities of all key players and an overview of the equipment. The training is available in a classroom or through distance learning. A test will be conducted to verify the acquisition of knowledge and the passing mark is 75%.
Then, the second part consists of a practical module of 3 hours and a half where the same elements from the preceding module will be presented in a more practical manner. Another test is necessary with the same passing mark of 75%.
The course is valid for a 3-year period. Therefore, the workers will need to update their knowledge periodically.
For more information about this new regulation, please consult the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation.