Ontario new "working at heights" standard stalled
New changes to safety standards have been stalled, but not for long. Get your safety training now
By Alec Caldwell
The recent election in Ontario seems to have held up the new Occupational Health and Safety Fall Standards from becoming law July 1st. Finally, a break for the Ontario construction industry from the bombardment it’s been getting lately.
This delay gives everyone some time, but when this new standard does arrive, the cost of taking the courses will be more expensive and take more time, so right now is a good time for you to sneak in and take the existing course. CARAHS has been busy running extra Fall courses at its Pickering office on Fridays to help keep up with the extra volume.
Once the new fall standard become law (expected August 1st) it will become a two-module course. Everyone has to take Module One which, under the prescribed Ministry of Labour (MOL) laws, must run at least three hours. Module Two is a practical course for those who use items like ladders or work above eight feet. Module Two cannot run less than 3 1/2 hours and in this course you receive classroom demonstration and hands-on teaching in how to use items such as harnesses, lifelines, rope grabs, safety nets, barriers and ladders. You’ll also learn what not to buy, as all safety equipment must have CSA approval.
The day these two new standard courses become law, its also changes training methods. All trainers from that day forward will be stopped from training, until they are approved and certified again through the MOL. All approved trainers will be listed on the MOL web site.
This is a huge change for everyone and it all started on Christmas Eve 2009, when four workers died after they fell 13 stories when their suspended staging collapsed from under them. Within a 90 day period, the MOL blitzed 2,800 work sites in Ontario and closed down 784. The MOL handed out violation fines for items like missing or incorrect use of guardrails, faulty scaffolding, lack of worker training and/or proof of training, improper ladder use and unsafe work practices on flat roofs, platforms, runways and ramps.
Change comes with pain, but no greater than what these unfortunate guys suffered that fateful Christmas Eve day in 2009. This I re-mention in memory of them.
As I write this article on June 23rd, another construction worker falls to his death from the 26th floor on a Toronto job site. He was in his late 20s, according Toronto Police. The Ministry of Labour has been notified and has dispatched an inspector to the scene. Another family in morning, another son lost.
CARAHS was founded as a non-profit association to advocate and mentor independent self employed renovators and home services (Canadian Association of Renovators and Home Services)
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