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New Working at Heights Regulations - April 1, 2015

Message from the Chief Prevention Officer:

UPDATED ADVISORY ON WORKING AT HEIGHTS

Falls from heights occur in many workplaces, particularly in construction where there are serious hazards created by working at heights.

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

The Ontario government has developed new training standards that will support quality and consistent training on how to work safely at heights. As of April 1, 2015, new regulatory requirements will come into force in Ontario, and will apply to employers of workers on construction projects. Working at heights training from an approved provider will have to be completed by workers who are required by O. Reg. 213/91 (Construction Projects) to use any fall protection methods including a travel restraint system, fall restricting system, fall arrest system, safety net, work belt or safety belt.

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), employers on construction projects must ensure all workers exposed to falls hazards are protected when working at heights. Constructors and employers are responsible for ensuring that every worker on the project works in compliance with the requirements in the OHSA and its regulations, and they must always ensure that the health and safety of workers on the construction project is protected.

Please note that if training that met the requirements of Section 26.2 of O. Reg. 213/91was completed before April 1, 2015, workers who have had that training will have two years (until April 1, 2017) to complete an approved working-at-heights training program that is delivered by an approved training provider.

Employer responsibilities under the OHSA 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.
  • Developing written procedures for rescuing a worker, before any use of a fall arrest system or a safety net.
  • Ensuring workers are provided with adequate personal protective equipment and gear, and that they wear and use this equipment correctly.
  • Training workers who may use a fall protection system in its use.

Supervisor responsibilities under the OHSA include:

  • Ensuring that workers work in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by the OHSA 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 OHSA include:

  • Using or wearing the protective equipment, devices or clothing that their employer requires them to use or wear.
  • Reporting hazards or any contraventions of the OHSA or its regulations to the supervisor or employer.
  • Working and using equipment in a safe manner.I

Information to help protect you when working at heights is available from the Ministry of Labour and its Health and Safety System Partners.

To report unsafe work practices, please contact the Ministry of Labour Health & Safety Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-202-0008.