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Working at Heights: Staying Safe in Ontario's Construction Industry

Working at heights is an integral part of the construction industry, and it is essential that workers are aware of the hazards and are trained to work safely at heights. In Ontario, the Ministry of Labour has set regulations that require construction workers, who work at heights, to complete a CPO-approved Working at Heights safety training program to ensure their health and safety and prevent accidents in the workplace.

Hazards of Working at Heights

Working at heights is one of the most hazardous activities in the construction industry. Falls from heights can result in serious injuries or fatalities, making it essential for workers to identify its hazards. Some of those hazards include:

  • Unprotected edges and openings

  • Unstable work surfaces

  • Slippery or uneven surfaces

  • Inclement weather conditions

  • Inadequate fall protection equipment

  • Electrical hazards

Training Requirements

To ensure that workers are aware of the hazards associated with working at heights and have the necessary knowledge and skills to work safely, the Ontario Ministry of Labour has set specific training requirements for those workers. Here are some of the essential training requirements:

  • Workers who work at heights must complete an 8-hour CPO-approved training program.

  • This training program includes both a theory and a practical component that involves hands-on training using the equipment that the workers use when they work at heights.

  • Workers who have completed the course must take refresher training every three years to maintain their certification.

Methods of Fall Protection

The Ministry of Labour in Ontario requires that workers who work at heights use a fall protection system to prevent falls from heights. Here are the different methods of fall protection that workers may use:

  • Guardrails

  • Travel restraint systems

  • Fall restricting systems

  • Fall arresting systems

  • Safety nets

  • Work positioning systems

Fall Protection Systems

All fall protection systems are designed to prevent or arrest a fall and reduce the risk of injury. Workers must use the system that is appropriate for the task they are performing and the height they are working at. The essential components of a fall protection systems are as follows:

  • Anchor point: A secure point to which the fall protection system is attached.

  • Full-body harness: A safety harness worn by the worker that distributes the forces of a fall across the entire body.

  • Lanyard: A rope or strap that connects the worker's harness to the anchor point.

  • Shock absorber: A device that reduces the impact of a fall on the worker's body.

Rescue Plan and Competent Persons

Whenever using fall arrest or safety nets, workers must have a rescue plan in place in case of a fall. A competent person must develop and implement the rescue plan, which includes:

  • Assessing the risks associated with different types of falls.

  • Identifying the appropriate rescue equipment and personnel.

  • Establishing communication protocols.

  • Developing emergency response procedures.

Other Useful Information

Below are some other useful tips for workers who work at heights:

  • Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as a hard hat and safety glasses.

  • Use appropriate tools and equipment for the job.

  • Always follow proper procedures for climbing and descending ladders and other access equipment.

  • Keep the work area clear of debris and hazards.

  • Be aware of weather conditions and how they may affect your work.

In conclusion, working at heights is an essential part of the construction industry in Ontario. Workers must be aware of the hazards associated with working at heights and have the necessary knowledge and skills to work safely. By completing a CPO-approved Working at Heights training program, workers can prevent accidents and injuries and ensure their safety when working at heights.

Click here to learn more about FSN Safety Training's Working at Heights program.

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