Ontario Ministry Introduces Working at Heights Training Standard

The agency's new standard will initially be voluntary and apply to construction activity only, but it is expected to become mandatory by summer 2014 and will later be expanded to all sectors.

The Ontario Ministry of Labor recently issued a working at heights training standard. Initially voluntary and applying to construction activity only, it is expected to become mandatory by summer 2014 and will later be expanded to all sectors, according to the agency.

Training programs that are designed to meet the new standard will improve end users' knowledge about fall hazards and safety practices, including proper inspection of equipment for damage; procedures for setting up, moving, or removing protective equipment such as guardrails; and demonstrations and hands-on training on fall arrest equipment and other devices to keep workers safe.

The standard addresses an expert advisory panel's recommendation to develop mandatory fall protection training for workers working at heights and was developed with input from employers, organized labor, health and safety experts, and others.

Key highlights of the standard include:

  • Module 1: Basic Theory – foundational knowledge for workers
  • Module 2: Practical Equipment – applied knowledge and hands-on demonstration of Personal Protective Equipment
  • Delivery Requirements – modes of delivery, including maximum class size
  • Timing – baseline duration of the training for both modules (3 and 3.5 hours, respectively)
  • List of required equipment to be used during Module 2: Practical Equipment
  • Evaluation methods of learners
  • Valid for a period of three years after successful completion of the training

According to the ministry, criteria for delivering working at heights training programs will be contained in a separate training provider standard that will include instructor and evaluator qualifications, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements. "It is anticipated that providers of working at heights training programs will eventually need to meet both Program and Provider standards," it stated.

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