Evaluating the implementation and effectiveness of Ontario’s working-at-heights training standard
Reasons for the study
Preventing serious injuries and fatalities arising from falls from heights in construction work is a priority for many jurisdictions, including Ontario. In 2014, Ontario introduced regulations defining a working-at-heights (WAH) training program standard and established a program for accrediting training providers in Ontario. The standard prescribed one-day training with both theoretical and practical components. This study examines the effectiveness of the mandatory training standard and what is being learned from the experience of its implementation.
Objectives of the study
- Analyze administrative data to describe characteristics of WAH learners and trends in the incidence of falls from heights
- Survey construction employers to assess their experience with the training and the impact it had on company practices
- Survey learners in WAH training classes to assess changes in knowledge and self-reported work practices attributable to the training, as well as barriers to transferring learning to the worksite
- Survey training providers about the impact of the WAH training standard
Related scientific publications
- Robson LS, Lee H, Amick B, Landsman V, Smith PM, Mustard C. Preventing fall-from-height injuries in construction: effectiveness of a regulatory training standard. Journal of Safety Research. 2020;74:271-278. doi:10.1016/j.jsr.2020.06.007.
- Robson LS, Mustard C. Evaluation of the implementation and effectiveness of the Ontario working-at-heights training standard: executive summary. Institute for Work & Health; 2019.
- Robson LS, Mustard C. Evaluation of the implementation and effectiveness of the Ontario working-at-heights training standard: final report. Institute for Work & Health; 2019.
Related interviews and articles
- Standardized working at heights training improves safety, study. Workers Health & Safety Centre. January 26, 2023. Available from: https://www.whsc.on.ca/What-s-new/News-Archive/Standardized-working-at-heights-training-improves-safety-study
- Ontario ministry could recommend changes to working-at-heights training. Canadian Occupational Safety . February 3, 2022. Available from: https://www.thesafetymag.com/ca/topics/safety-and-ppe/ontario-ministry-could-recommend-changes-to-working-at-heights-training/324259
- Inquest witness pressed on Working at Heights training outcomes. Daily Commercial News. February 3, 2022. Available from: https://canada.constructconnect.com/dcn/news/ohs/2022/02/inquest-witness-pressed-on-working-at-heights-training-outcomes
- Ontario’s working-at-heights training led to safer practices, reduced injury claims rates. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 96, Spring 2019.
- Regulated working at heights training works and needed: studies. Workers Health & Safety Centre. April 9, 2019. Available from: https://www.whsc.on.ca/What-s-new/News-Archive/Regulated-working-at-heights-training-works-i-and-i-needed-studies
- WAH training standards show 'significant' results: IWH. Daily Commercial News: ConstructConnect (Markham, ON). March 12, 2019. Available from: https://canada.constructconnect.com/dcn/news/labour/2019/03/wah-training-standards-show-significant-results-iwh
- Ontario plans to review Working at Heights training. Equipment Journal: Pace Publishing (Mississauga, ON). December 7, 2017. Available from: https://www.equipmentjournal.com/construction-news/ontario-plans-reevaluate-working-heights-training/
Related research summaries
- Evaluating the effectiveness of mandatory working-at-heights training standards. Research Highlights: Institute for Work & Health, September 2020.
IWH Speaker Series presentations
- Preventing falls from heights in construction: a long-term evaluation of Ontario's working-at-heights training standard. IWH Speaker Series. December 13, 2022.
- Evaluating the implementation and effectiveness of Ontario’s working-at-heights training standards. IWH Speaker Series. February 26, 2019.
Collaborators and partners
Infrastructure Health & Safety Association
Ontario Ministry of Labour