New Working at Heights Refresher Training

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Courses scheduled for workers and supervisors across province 

Working at Heights Safety Training - download information sheet

Student tries on fall protection harness with help of instruction

April 1, 2018, marked the inaugural training anniversary for Ontario’s mandatory Working at Heights Safety Training, which includes a requirement for half-day refresher training within every three years of the original date of training.

In the past few months, there has been a spike in workplace fatalities involving falls from heights, according to a statement released April 4 by Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer encouraging employers to "provide proper training. Workers should also be aware of their right to refuse unsafe work, use their equipment properly, and to report any hazards they see.”

“The Ministry of Labour lays out exactly what needs to be covered for the refresher, which is basically all the practical information that was presented in the original training,” says Jerry Traer, Program-Training Specialist at Workplace Safety North (WSN), who recently completed a pilot refresher training session.

“The practical information includes work on elevated work platforms, suspended access platforms, as well as personal protective equipment, such as travel restraint, fall restricting, and fall arrest systems and how they all work; so that also means physical inspection of harnesses, donning harnesses, learning how to tie off using ropes and rope grabs, and transferring from one line to another using double lanyards. It’s a good refresher on all the practical aspects of how to work safely at heights,” says Traer.

Two broken legs, head injury result from falls from heights

Traer likes to give real-life examples of how quickly a fall can happen and the consequences; he finds it especially helpful for younger workers who tend to think they’re invincible. 

“My cousin actually fell off a roof and broke both his legs. And for the next four or five months, somebody else had to do everything for him: take him to the washroom, shower, all of that stuff had to be done by somebody else. A lot of people don’t realize the burden placed on family members if you do fall. This is helpful for workers to understand.

“There was someone in our course the other day, a worker at a meat company, and they had this huge chicken coop about eight or nine storeys high; he said he slipped on something and fell – about 20 or 30 feet – and banged his head. For the next year and a half, he was off work, doing rehab and learning how to walk and talk again. So when he talked about working safely at heights, people listened.”

Working at Heights Refresher Safety Training course description

Workers who have completed an approved Working at Heights Safety Training course, and whose work is covered by the Regulations for Construction Projects, are required to take the half-day Working at Heights Refresher Safety Training course within three years of completing the training, in order to keep their certification in good standing.

For workers covered by all other regulations, including the Regulations for Mines and Mining Plants and Regulations for Industrial Establishments, training frequency is determined by the employer, but Workplace Safety North recommends refresher training at least every three years.

The refresher course focuses on the practical aspects of using fall protection systems and other equipment used for working at heights, and is intended for workers, supervisors, joint health and safety committee members, health and safety representatives or anyone else who works at heights, works with, or supervises people who work at heights.

Topics covered

  • Warning methods, such as signage, bump lines and barriers, used to identify fall hazards to workers to prevent falls from heights
  • Different types of work positioning systems that may be available to safely perform a variety of tasks at heights, including scaffolds and powered elevating work platforms
  • Different types of personal fall protection systems, including their limitations, appropriate uses, components, and set-up
  • Hands-on experience setting up, wearing and using personal fall protection equipment.


Successful completion of Working at Heights Safety Training 

For more information, contact


Working at Heights Refresher Frequently Asked Questions – MOL

It’s here! April 1 deadline for Ontario’s new mandatory working at heights safety training