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Ontario announces new working at heights standards

By COS staff

Ontario is improving safety for construction workers by making new training for those who work at heights mandatory as of April 1, 2015.

The new Working at Heights Training Program Standard will ensure everyone using fall protection systems is consistently trained and better protected on the job. This standard applies to all construction projects in Ontario regulated by the Regulations for Construction Projects.

“Falls are the number one cause of critical injuries and fatalities of workers at construction projects in Ontario," said Kevin Flynn, minister of labour. "We need to fix that, and the new mandatory working-at-heights standards are one step we’re taking to ensure workers are safe on the job and return home at the end of each work day.”

In 2013, 21 workers died in incidents on construction projects. Almost 50 per cent were as a result of falls.

The training standard includes:

•rights and responsibilities related to working at heights

•hazard identification

•ladder safety

•proper usage of personal protective equipment,

A Working at Heights Training Provider Standard has also been developed to set out requirements for prospective training providers. An application form and guidelines for training providers are posted on the Ministry of Labour website. Applications will be accepted starting Jan. 5, 2015.

Workers trained under the current fall protection training requirements in the Regulations for Construction Projects before April 1, 2015 will have until April 1, 2017, to also be trained under the new requirements.

“Working at heights is one of the most dangerous types of work at construction projects. By making these standards mandatory, we are ensuring those workers receive consistent, high-quality training," said George Gritziotis, chief prevention officer. "Our shared goal is to improve health and safety and prevent injuries and deaths of construction workers.”

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