Is Working at Heights Training Effective?
At Heartzap Safety, we strive to help Canadians have safe responses and make safe decisions. One of the ways we do this is by providing CPO-approved Working at Heights training. This Training came into effect in 2015 following a number of high-profile deaths caused by working at heights accidents.
Any construction workers who will be working on any form of elevated platform are required to take Working at Heights training. The goal of the training is to create “competent workers.” A competent worker is defined as “A worker who is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to perform the work; is familiar with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the regulations that apply to their work; and has knowledge of all the actual and potential health or safety dangers in their work.”
The following principles are taught in Working at Heights training:
- Identification, elimination, and control of hazards
- Warning methods and physical barriers
- Ladder safety
- Personal Fall Protection Equipment
- Barriers and Other Fixed Equipment
- Anchor Points
- Work Positioning Systems, Work Access & Platforms
- Rescue Planning
Now, the question is, does this training work? Does it create competent workers? Have accidents been reduced?
This was the topic of a report created by the Institute for Work and Health. The report was published in February 2019 and is titled, “Evaluation of the Implementation and Effectiveness of the Ontario Working at Heights Training Standard.” You can read the executive summary of the report here.
The report evaluated to what extent the Working at Heights training regulation has been implemented in Ontario, and whether it has made an impact in Ontario Construction.
Their research found that the training had a widespread, positive impact on Working at Heights expertise amongst construction workers. According to 2017 data, it has also had an impact on limiting accidents. So, let’s take a deep dive into these findings.
Improvements in Worker Knowledge
The IWH Report found that the most substantial impact generated by the new legislation mandating Working at Heights training was an improvement in worker knowledge surrounding safety at heights.
According to the report, 52% of study participants reported they learned “a lot” in Working at Heights training. Most of them also felt greater confidence in their working habits following Working at Heights training.
The majority of those who had mentioned that the training had made them safer indicated that a change in practice had occurred, the most notable of which was an increased inspection of the worksite and the equipment.
When it came to industries that saw the greatest increase in worker knowledge, it was noted that the gain in knowledge was greater for those working in low-rise residential sectors (as compared to non-residential), and for those who had been working in the construction industry for less than twenty years.
The IWH report also noted a number of improvements in employer behaviour following the Working at Heights training. 40% of companies that participated in the report indicated they had purchased new equipment, and 27% indicated that supervisors were taking greater initiative to prevent falls since doing the training. When it came to subcontractor work, 42.3% of employers interviewed reported they believed Working at Heights training had led to safer contractor work.
Did Working at Heights Reduce Accident Rates?
Based on their research and statistical implications, the IWH theorized that the Working at Heights program resulted in 220 fewer accident claims than would be expected in 2017. They also noted that because 2017 was the only year they had attempted to study these findings, an evaluation of workers’ accident claims in the years since would most likely clarify the effectiveness of the training.
So…. It Works?
In short, yes! Working at Heights training does create competent workers who contribute to a safe construction site. This is why it is so critical to make sure you get your workers trained. It’s not just about the law, Working at Heights training goes a long way to protect your workers from lost time accidents, and it has the ability to save lives.
Luckily, we provide Working at Heights training at Heartzap Safety Training & Equipment. Visit www.heartzap.ca or call 1-866-764-8488 for more information!