Ontario introduces new safety training standard for working at heights

Ontario is implementing a new workplace training standard to prevent falls and improve safety for workers who work at heights.
"By standardizing working at heights training, we're ensuring that Ontario workers who are at risk of falling while working at heights are trained in a consistent manner to effectively use equipment that protects them from injury," said George Gritziotis, chief prevention officer for Ontario.

The standard will initially be voluntary and will apply to workplaces in the construction sector, as well as to construction activity in other workplaces.

The standard is expected to become mandatory by the summer of 2014 and will later be expanded to all sectors.

Training programs designed to meet this new standard will improve knowledge about fall hazards and safety practices, including:
• proper inspection of equipment for damage
• procedures for setting up, relocating or removing protective equipment, such as guardrails
• demonstrations and hands-on training on fall-arrest equipment and other devices to keep workers safe
• information on workplace protections and worker's rights.

The new standard builds on existing protections in place for those working at heights, establishing a consistent and high quality level of training for workers across the province. It was developed with input from across various sectors that included business, organized labour, health and safety organizations, and other experts.

"At the end of the day, this training standard is about making sure our workers are protected and our businesses are more productive," said Yasir Naqvi, Minister of Labour. "Protecting those working at heights is the next step in helping develop a workplace culture where safety is the centre of the workplace, and ensures workers and employers have the tools and knowledge to stay safe and go home to their families at the end of their shift."?