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What You Need to Know About the Working at Heights Training Requirements for Construction

What does the regulation require ?

On April 1, 2015 the working at heights training requirements - affecting employers and workers in the construction industry – that are set out in O. Reg. 297/13 (Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training) came into full force. The phasing in period was set to end on April 1, 2017.

The Chief Prevention Officer has since extended this deadline until October 1, 2017 to allow workers and employers six additional months to complete an approved working at heights program. In order to qualify for the extension workers must:

  1. Have completed fall protection training that met the requirements of subsection 26.2(1) of O. Reg. 213/91(Construction Projects) before April 1, 2015
  2. Be enrolled in a CPO-approved working at heights training program that is scheduled to be completed prior to October 1, 2017

After October 1, 2017 ALL workers must have completed CPO-approved working at heights training.

Why did the requirements change?

Falls from heights due to unsafe work practices are the number-one cause of critical worker injuries and fatalities on Ontario construction sites.

How does this affect me?

If you are a provider of construction services, on a construction project, then this legislative change applies to you. Your employees’ current fall arrest training must comply with the reguation by October 1, 2017.

For clarification on whether this change applies to you please contact us for assistance or go to the Ministry of Labour website.

What are my responsibilities under the OH&S Act?

Your responsibilities will vary depending on if you are an employer, supervisor, or employee. The following highlight the key responsibilities:

Employer responsibilities under the OH&S Act include:

  • The installation of guardrails, or where that is not reasonably possible, protecting workers with a travel restraint system, a fall restricting system, a fall arrest system or a safety net.

  • A current written procedure is developed and applicable to the site for rescuing a worker, before any use of a fall arrest system or a safety net.

  • Ensuring workers are wearing adequate personal protective equipment and gear, and that they wear and use this equipment correctly.

  • Ensuring that training of workers who may use a fall protection system in its use is current and meets the legal requirements.

Supervisor responsibilities under the OH&S Act include:

  • Ensuring that workers work in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by the OH&S Act and its regulations.

  • Ensuring that workers use the fall protection equipment and protective devices that the worker’s employer requires to be used.

  • Advising workers of the existence of any potential or actual danger to the health and safety of the worker of which the supervisor is aware, including any potential fall hazards.

Worker responsibilities under the OH&S Act include:

  • Using and  wearing the protective equipment, devices or clothing that their employer requires them to use or wear.

  • Reporting hazards or any contraventions of the OH&S Act or its regulations to the supervisor or employer.

  • Working and using equipment in a safe manner.