Workers Health & Safety Centre

Working at heights training critical to preventing deadly falls

Falls from heights are a leading cause of serious injury and traumatic death in Ontario workplaces
Failing to ensure adequate fall protection is in place continues to result in worker deaths, critical injuries, and employer convictions beyond just the construction sector.

According to a September 27, 2023, Government of Ontario court bulletin, an Elmira, Ontario company was convicted and fined $112,500 for failing to ensure a guardrail system or protective covering was in place to protect against the hazard of falling as required by section 13(1) of Ontario Regulation 851/90 (Industrial Establishments), in violation of section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

A worker employed by an industrial cleaning service, contracted by this pet food production company was assigned to clean an area between the first and second floor of the facility in Elmira. The worker entered the six-foot-high space through a hatch from the second floor that was equipped with a guardrail and gate. The area to be cleaned was near to another hatch on the floor of this space. This hatch, however, had no guardrail or protective covering. While working, the individual fell through the hatch 18 feet to the ground suffering critical injuries.

WHSC Working at Heights training. Gain compliance and critical competence!

Working at heights training…the law and logic

Employers must comply with a range of fall protection obligations. Regulations in Ontario also require employers to ensure workers who work on construction projects complete a working at heights (WAH) training program approved by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development’s (MLITSD) Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) before they work at heights. And for continued compliance, employers must ensure workers they employ complete an approved WAH refresher program every three years.

It is important to keep in mind too construction projects include more than those on major construction sites. This law also governs projects in manufacturing facilities, schools, shopping malls, offices, film sets and residential homes.

Further still, as outlined in the case cited above, workers in many sectors outside of construction can face fall hazards when not adequately protected. For instance, the MLITSD tells us approximately one-third of all worker deaths from falls from heights happen in workplaces covered by Ontario Industrial Regulations. They too can benefit from WAH training, gaining competence to act on their right and duty to participate including helping to identify fall hazards and recommending measures to ensure their own safety and employer compliance with fall protection obligations.

WHSC can help now!

As Ontario’s only government-designated occupational health and safety training centre, Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) is a leading provider of WAH training and WAH refresher training. Our programs are CPO-approved, affordably priced, and delivered by experienced instructors who ensure critical learning is achieved, including:
  • the hazards of WAH, legal rights and duties of all workplace parties, along with relevant regulations governing fall hazards and fall protection equipment,
  • the safe use, inspection, limitations and storage for travel restraint, fall restricting and fall arrest systems,
  • the key components of a fall rescue plan and emergency procedures, and
  • hands-on experience on fall prevention equipment and systems.


Don’t see a date that works for you, wish to discuss onsite WAH training or just a have a question, connect with a training services representative in your area.

Want to know more about WAH?
WHSC working at heights resources
Elmira company fined total of $112,500 after worker critically injured
Standardized working at heights training improves safety, study

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