According to a study by the Institute for Work and Health, Ontario’s working-at-heights training program is successful at preventing worker injuries, resulting in savings of up to $36 million in health, lost productivity and other costs for the business.
Over 550,000 Ontario workers, with the vast majority in the construction sector, have completed working-at-heights training since the program launched on April 1, 2015. According to the study, the training program prevented 220 workplace falls from heights across all sectors in 2017, with 111 of those potential falls in the construction sector.
“Our mandatory training program is saving lives in Ontario,” said Laurie Scott, Minister of Labour, in a press release. “Our government’s goal is to improve health and safety and prevent injuries and deaths of workers when working at heights.”
Falls from heights are a leading cause of work injuries and deaths at construction projects in the province. Working-at-heights training program standards are mandatory for workers who use travel restraint, fall restricting, fall arrest, safety nets, work belts and other fall protection systems in the construction sector. Up to 20 per cent of those attending the training program work in other sectors.
“Working-at-heights training is improving the falls prevention knowledge of workers and their supervisors,” said Scott. “We are enabling people to work safer on the job and helping businesses to reduce their costs.”
According to the province, businesses are benefitting from an almost 20 per cent reduction in lost-time injury (LTI) claims to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). The reduction has the largest impact among the smallest employers and among six groups of employers with the highest rates of LTI claims.