Responding to the December 24, 2009 fall-related incident where four construction workers were killed and another seriously injured, a recent government-commissioned report has called for mandatory fall protection training.
Anticipating this recommendation the Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) is ready with a new four-hour Fall Protection program for all workers in the construction sector who are required to work at heights and may have to use fall protection systems. Program participants will come away with a full understanding of:
· duties of the workplace parties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
· the procedure for refusing unsafe work;
· workplace conditions for which guardrails or fall protection is legally required;
· types of fall protection;
· specific components of fall arrest and travel restraint systems and applicable Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards;
· legal requirements for guardrails and bumplines, including design requirements;
· the safe use of ladders, fall restraint and arrest systems; and
· inspection, maintenance, and storage considerations for ladders, fall restraint and arrest systems.
Instructors use a variety of techniques to ensure participants engage in the training and learn what they need to know about the precautions that may save their lives. The training includes active lectures on legal requirements; a brainstorming exercise that identifies fall hazards; group discussions on factors contributing to falls; and a buzz group questionnaire that ensures learning objectives have been met.
Upon completion of the program, participants will also take away with them a handy pocket-sized booklet, designed for easy reference on the job site.
The new Fall Protection program is offered in addition to another existing WHSC program entitled, Work at Heights. This generic, three-hour program is intended for workers, their supervisors, members of joint health and safety committees and health and safety representatives employed in workplaces where work at heights has been identified as a potential hazard.
The report recommendation for mandatory fall protection training was one of 46 recommendations made by the government-appointed Expert Advisory Panel reviewing Ontario’s occupational health and safety prevention and enforcement system. The Minister of Labour released the report December 16, 2010.