Ontario plans to review Working at Heights training

ontario labour law

The Ontario government plans to spend $595,000 to assess the effectiveness of the Working at Heights (WAH) training standards.

In Ontario, falls from heights are one of the leading causes of workplace deaths for construction workers. Employers must ensure their staff meet the training standards when employees work at heights on construction projects. The training program must be approved by the Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) and delivered by a CPO approved training provider before employees may legally work at heights.

The government will assess the effectiveness of WAH training and implement improvements where necessary.

“Falls continue to be a leading cause of critical injuries and fatalities of construction workers in Ontario. By ensuring that these training standards are effective, we will reduce fatal incidents at work by making sure workers receive high-quality, consistent training for this high-hazard activity,” said Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn.

“When we nurture a culture of safety, we foster healthy workplaces. We must all work together to improve health and safety by preventing injuries and deaths of construction workers.”

When the review is complete, the Ministry of Labour will review the results to determine whether any changes to improve the effectiveness of the WAH training initiative are needed.

Since 2003, Ontario’s rate of workplace injuries dropped by more than 50 per cent, making the province’s workplaces the safest in Canada and among the safest in the world. However, between Jan. 1, and Oct. 31, 40 workers in Ontario died on the job, with 11 of those fatalities due to falls.

“Working at heights is one of the most dangerous types of work in the construction sector,” said Dr. Cameron Mustard, president and senior scientist, Institute for Work and Health. “By working with stakeholders to evaluate the WAH standards, we will help ensure construction workers are protected on the job and will return home safely at the end of each workday.”