No April Fool’s joke here: the new Working at Heights standard took effect in Ontario on April 1st.
If you or your crews are going to be working at heights (10 feet or higher) in Ontario, you need to know about the new Ministry of Labour (MOL) standard. It took effect yesterday (April 1, 2015).
The need for this new Standard was again hammered home with two unnecessary deaths by two construction workers in Toronto last week. The MOL I’m sure have already set the wheels in motion to investigate this serious incident. They will undoubtedly find fault and they will prosecute all those found guilty in a court of law for non-compliance under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The devastation, the pain and the hardship caused to these two victims and their families can never be measured. Yet there will be no fanfare, no draped coffins, no motorcade, no mass of people lining the highways and byways for these two fallen heroes on their way to their final resting place.
So the new Working at Heights Standard is not a pointless regulation. Law requires everyone on your job site to be adequately trained, and to be able to PROVE to MOL inspectors that they’ve been adequately trained. If there is an accident on your site and there are serious injuries or deaths, you will have to prove your due diligence in court: that you did indeed make sure your workers were adequately trained. That means you have to keep training records as part of a safety manual (Policy & Procedures). This may be your only recourse from fines and prosecution.
What is adequate training? It covers items like: Awareness of slip trips and falls, guardrail requirements, the three rights under law everyone has and needs to know, including how do they exercise them. It identify roles and responsibilities of employer, constructor, supplier, supervisor and workers, sub trades and everyone involved. It tells everyone who is responsible for safety and that everyone must report defects and fall hazards to employers, constructors, supervisor, general contractor or anyone who hires someone to carry out work for them. Meaning you.
In simple terms, EVERYONE on a construction site, including home renovations needs Fall Training (adequate training) and anyone working above 10 feet (from a work surface) needs the New Standard.
Example is ladder use: When using ANY type of ladder, everyone needs Fall Training, whether its stepping on to the first rung (step) up to a height of 10 feet (from a work surface) Going higher than 10 feet, everyone requires this new Standard certificate course, as it shows lifelines, rope grabs and harnesses are required at all times. All ladders MUST be tied down top and bottom, regardless of how high someone climbs.
If you currently carry a Fall Training card there is a transition rule and I suggest for your own protection, you contact us about this grayish area.
This article can be viewed also at Canadian Contractor.ca