Ontario Construction News staff writer
The provincial government is investing $3 million to provide free online health and safety training for the first time. Virtual courses are aimed at job seekers and workers to get essential qualifications, while practising physical distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“In this new environment, we need to look for new and innovative ways to deliver services, while keeping people safe and healthy,” said Premier Doug Ford. “This virtual approach to safety training will ensure employers and employees have access to the latest information without the need to physically interact with others. In this way, we also reduce the risk of spreading this deadly virus.”
Up to 100,000 job seekers can now take free online workplace health and safety training through Employment Ontario. There are 10 courses on offer, which include topics such as infection control, conducting health and safety incident investigations, ladder safety, slips, trips and falls prevention, and preventing workplace violence and harassment. Job seekers should contact an Employment Ontario service provider in their area to enroll.
“This is the first time this type of online safety training has been made available at no cost to people who have lost their jobs and I am confident it will be an effective way to prepare people to rejoin the workforce safely,” said Minister Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development. “The training is free and accessible from anywhere, so people can learn from their own homes.”
In addition, worker and employer members of Joint Health and Safety Committees can now use video conferencing to take training in real-time with qualified instructors from training providers approved by Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer. The training includes sessions on how to establish a Health and Safety Committee, resolving health and safety issues, workplace inspections, and accident investigations.
Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer is extending the time for completion of refresher training for more than 8,000 certified committee members whose certification would have expired between February 28 and August 31, 2020. They have until November 30, 2020 to renew their training, which will be easier thanks to new online options.
Employment Ontario serves more than one million clients per year and has more than 700 service locations across Ontario.
Over the last three years, an average of 37,000 people per year took Joint Health and Safety Committee certification training.