WHSC: Prioritize working at heights training for safety & compliance

June 11, 2024
Falls from heights is a leading cause of serious injury and traumatic death on construction projects and in other Ontario workplaces. Too often, the root cause of this suffering can be traced to workplaces failing to meet minimum fall protection requirements. Inspectors from Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development are currently visiting Ontario work sites looking to ensure employers are fully fall protection compliant, including training requirements. Get ahead of such a visit and register for mandatory Working at Heights training from Workers Health & Safety Centre!  
Has your workplace met its training requirements for working at heights along with worker and supervisor awareness? A government inspector may soon be at your door to check.
Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MOLITSD) inspectors continue both proactive and reactive visits to construction work sites falling under Regulation 213/91 (Construction Regulations) looking to ensure employers are complying with working at heights training requirements.
The MOLITSD is also in the midst of a special compliance initiative with inspectors visiting single and multi-family residential construction sites, including re-roofing focusing on all aspects of fall protection. This includes
pre-planning, the condition of the fall protection equipment, emergency response and fall rescue plans, along with functioning of the internal responsibility system (IRS).

Working at heights training 
This targeted initiative is paying particular attention to compliance with working at heights training requirements outlined in Ontario Regulation 297/13 — Occupational Health and Safety Awareness Training. To comply, employers must ensure workers who work on construction projects complete a working at heights (WAH) training program approved by the MOLITSD Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) before working at heights. For continued compliance, employers must also ensure workers they employ complete an approved WAH refresher program every three years.
MOLITSD inspectors are also looking to ensure compliance with general
and site-specific working at heights training meeting requirements in Ontario Regulation 213/91 (section 26.2).

Basic OHS awareness training
These same inspectors are also checking to ensure compliance with basic occupational health and safety awareness training for workers and supervisors required by Ontario Regulation 297/13. More specifically, employers are required to ensure supervisors complete occupational health and safety awareness training and be competent to carry out their significant obligations to protect workers. This training must be completed within one week of performing work as a supervisor. Employers are also required to ensure workers complete an awareness program as soon as practicable.



Joint health and safety committee (JHSC) certification training
The internal responsibility system (IRS), also a focus of this current MOLITSD compliance initiative, is a framework of authority, responsibility, and accountability for health and safety within a workplace. Though employers and supervisors have the most significant legal obligations to protect workers, the MOLITSD (and in fact, Occupational Health and Safety Act) also recognizes
well-trained JHSC members, in particular certified members, play a critical role within the IRS.    
Consequently, inspectors will be ensuring employers are complying with obligations relating to JHSCs, including certification training. At least two members of a JHSC – one worker and one manager – must complete Part I and II of a Certification training program approved by the MOLITSD’s CPO to become certified. Certification Part II must be taken within 12 months of completing Part I. To remain certified, members must successfully complete Certification Refresher training every three years. 

WHSC can help
As Ontario’s only government-designated health and safety training centre, Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) offers programs designed to help employers comply with the training obligations mentioned above. We are also
a leading provider of other mandatory OHS training for the construction sector ranging from rigging and hoisting to many equipment operator programs. To learn more about securing this life-saving training for your workforce reach out to any one of our Training Services Representatives.


Related resources:
MOLITSD health and safety inspection compliance plans 2024–2025 | ontario.ca
WHSC working at heights resources
WHSC supervisor awareness and competency training
WHSC worker awareness training
WHSC JHSC certification
Need more information?
Contact a WHSC training services representative in your area.
Email: contactus@whsc.on.ca
Visit: whsc.on.ca
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