New legislation creates new training opportunity for RCDSB students

Posted on Monday November 23, 2015
Valour School and RCI students pose with instructor Shane Halliday
Valour School and RCI students pose with instructor Shane Halliday

More than 60 RCDSB students are earning their provincial Working at Heights certification, thanks to a new Opeongo High School training lab built  by the RCDSB’s plant department and taught by the board’s Health and Safety officer.

Falls are a leading cause of workplace fatalities.

Recent legislation from the Ministry of Labour’s Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation requiring employers ensure workers on construction projects successfully complete a working at heights training program if they may use specified methods of fall protection. The legislation came into force last April.

Because of this new legislation, the RCDSB is providing training and certification for students enrolled in Specialist High Skills Major programs such as construction as well as students enrolled in co-op programs which might have job placements on construction sites.

RCDSB Health and Safety Officer Shane Halliday identified the need and is now certified to teach a working at heights training program to RCDSB students and staff. Halliday and his team converted a classroom at Opeongo High School in to a working at heights lab where students can earn their certification.

“It’s a full day, eight-hour course,” Halliday said. “There is a practical component where students must get 100 per cent before they are able to move on to the theoretical component where they must earn at least a 75 per cent to receive certification.”

To prepare for his role as a teacher, Halliday took the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association’s Working at Heights training program, which was approved by the Prevention Office of the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

Now Halliday has offered training for more than 60 RCDSB students who may find themselves working at construction sites during the school year. RCDSB co-op teachers are also receiving Working at Heights training so they can properly assess sites when making student workplace visits.

This isn’t the only safety related training co-op teachers are receiving this month. Halliday has some additional training planned for Nov. 19 when the Workplace Safety and Prevention Service will visit the RCDSB and present to the educators.

“We are going to certify all of the co-op teachers to teach the young workers program so we are sending a consistent message to all of our students,” Halliday said.