Posted: 20 Feb '13

CSA standard for fall protection training

The current situation in Canada for fall protection training can be very confusing and frustrating. Across the nation there is no "one" standard for the basic training course for this courses. I believe it would be possible, and beneficial for CSA to create a standard for this course. The CSA has published the following information about their organization:

CSA Group is a not-for-profit membership-based association serving business, industry, government and consumers in Canada and the global marketplace.

As a solutions-oriented organization, we work in Canada and around the world to develop standards that address real needs, such as enhancing public safety and health. Advancing the quality of life. Helping to preserve the environment. Facilitating trade.

We help people understand standards through education and information products and services.

We need the national standards setting body for our country to set a standard for fall protection training. Detailed below are my thoughts on this matter.

CSA has the Z 259 series for fall protection equipment. This includes the entire list of fall protection equipment you would find on any jobsite all across the country. Self Retracting Devices, Full Body Harnesses, Vertical Life Lines, Horizontal Life Lines, Connectors, Anchoring Devices, etc. Most work sites actually look for the CSA stamp of approval on most types of safety equipment.

Beyond the equipment, job sites are similar across the country, we have tower workers, workers building concrete buildings, workers at refineries (there are 21 spread across Canada), workers who work in manufacturing facilities, workers at food processing facilities, the list goes on, however the basic work and fall protection equipment is similar across the country. The process of building bridges, buildings, dams, electrical transmission towers, wind turbines, etc. is essentially the same in British Columbia as it is in Ontario.

Beyond the worksites and equipment there is the individual workers themselves. They perform a similar type of work, and many of the workers are trades people who travel across the country to perform seasonal jobs. Iron Workers, carpenters, concrete workers, millwrights, electricians, operators, and industrial workers perform a similar type task on the work sites they travel to in Alberta, Ontario or Newfoundland. We can argue that the type of industry changes across the country, Alberta's economy driven by the energy industry, Ontario by manufacturing and Newfoundland's economy driven by mining, fisheries and even oil.

Currently legislation has some differences regarding training, however the provincial Occupational Health and Safety legislators look to CSA already when they reference which equipment they should allow their provinces workers to use.

Employers and workers would also benefit from one standard. Currently, many workers re-take these courses again and again as they travel from job site to job site. There is a cost to the workers who sometimes have to pay out of pocket for this training, and either take a reduced wage for the day, or not get paid at all. If the employer is picking up the tab, it will often cost an employer $180.00 for the course, plus $250 to $500 dollars to pay the worker, making a total of $680.00 per worker. Many employers have 50-500 workers, and an annual turn over rate of 5-30%. Doing the math, that could cost an organization hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. And across the nation, this "double training" costs tens of millions of dollars per year.

The creation of a CSA standard for tower fall protection training will help all of the Canadian workforce and industry. I believe the proper group to accomplish this is our National Standards Setting body. Currently I am leading the push to develop this standard, our first step is to persuade the Canadian Standards Association that writing this standard would provide a great national benefit!

Please contact me if you believe that this would benefit you, I need to collect expressions of interest.
Robin Postnikoff
MI Safety

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