Ontario evaluating working at heights training program
11 construction workers have died this year from falls on the job
Ontario's Ministry of Labour is reviewing effectiveness of work at heights training for the construction industry. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Ontario is evaluating the effectiveness of the mandatory working at heights training standards to help prevent fall accidents and fatalities at construction sites. Falls from heights are the number 1 cause of traumatic fatalities of construction workers in Ontario. Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, 40 workers died in incidents on the job. Eleven of those fatalities were due to falls.
“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.
In Ontario, employers must ensure that certain workers complete a working at heights training program that has been approved by the chief prevention officer and delivered by an approved training provider before they can work at heights.
The training standards allow for “high quality and consistent training” for learners, and include a practical component on the appropriate use of fall protective equipment, the MOL said. In order to continue ensuring the safety of workers, the government needs to assess the effectiveness of the training and make improvements to the standards where necessary.
After the review is complete, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) will review the results of the evaluation to determine whether any changes to improve the effectiveness of the WAH training initiative are needed.
Ontario is investing $595,000 to assess the effectiveness of the working at heights training standards.
Ontario proposing to triple maximum OHSA fine to $1.5 million
Fine against supervisors, directors could be quadrupled to $100,000
Dec 6, 2017
The Ontario government has introduced legislation to triple the maximum fine under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) against corporations to $1.5 million per charge, and quadruple the maximum fine against individual persons — such as workers, supervisors or directors — to $100,000 per charge.
The proposed amendments are, one might say, buried in Schedule 30 to Bill 177 that would implement certain “budget measures." Perhaps for that reason, they have received very little attention. The bill is called, Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017.
The bill received second reading on Nov. 30 and has now been referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.
The bill would also change the limitation period for laying charges under the OHSA, which is currently one year.
The new limitation period would be the later of one year or “the day upon which an inspector becomes aware of the alleged offence.”
That seems to mean that for accidents that employers are not required to report to the Ministry of Labour, the limitation period would continue running until the MOL finds out about the accident, which could be years later when an inspector drops in for an inspection of the workplace.
Occupational Exposure Limit (OELs) Updates
Effective January 1, 2018, Regulation 833 and O. Reg. 490/09 are amended by (O. Reg. 287/17) and (O. Reg. 288/17) to reflect the adoption of new or revised occupational exposure limits (OELs) or listings for 21 chemical substances based on recommendations by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). These changes were included in the Ministry’s 2016 consultation “Proposed Changes Affecting the Control of Hazardous Substances under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.” An overview of these changes is given below:
- Addition of specific listings for 4 substances in regulation: Cyanogen bromide, Ethyl isocyanate, Peracetic acid and Phenyl isocyanate.
- Revisions to exposure limits or listings for 17 substances currently regulated: Acetone, Atrazine, Barium sulfate, 1-Bromopropane, Ethylidene norbornene, Lithium hydride, Methomyl, Methyl formate, Methyl isocyanate, Naphthalene, Nickel carbonyl, Oxalic Acid, Pentachlorophenol, Pentane, and Trichloroacetic acid, 1,2,3 – Trichloropropane, and Triethylamine.
In addition to the changes noted above, effective January 1, 2018, the Ministry has moved forward with the adoption of proposals that were the subject of earlier consultations. These changes include the adoption of a more protective OEL for the substance beryllium, the adoption of the ACGIH method for addressing exposures to the aliphatic hydrocarbon gases (C1 – C4), and changing the minimum oxygen content in section 138(1) of Regulation 851 – Industrial Establishments from 18% to 19.5% as set out in (O. Reg. 289/17).