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NORCAT offers working at heights training

Six-and-a half hour course is offered five days per week Miners working from heights face danger every time they put on a fall arrest harness. One mistake could cost them their lives.
NORCAT Working at Heights trainer Stan McDonald delivers instruction to workers.

Six-and-a half hour course is offered five days per week

Miners working from heights face danger every time they put on a fall arrest harness. One mistake could cost them their lives. Training workers to face the danger with the right knowledge and experience is the first and most important step toward safely working at heights.

That step starts at NORCAT, where companies can send workers for a one-day, comprehensive working at heights course.

NORCAT left no stone unturned in its pursuit to deliver an unrivalled course.

There is a dedicated training room, complete with multiple harnesses, ladders and all equipment required to give workers the full experience. All the trainers have at least 30 years experience in the industry and come
with mining backgrounds.

NORCAT also partnered with Sudbury-based Highwork Limited and 3M Canada to help with the development of the course content.

It all adds up to a complete training package.

“We partnered with some of the smartest minds in the business to make our program the absolute best offered,” said NORCAT director of training and development Jason Bubba. “It boils down to ensuring every worker has the knowledge and can go home safe and sound to their families.”

In 2010, the Dean Commission report identified a variety of areas needing to be addressed for health and safety in Ontario. One recommendation was for the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL)to appoint a chief prevention officer. With that, numerous interested groups were brought together from industry to create a standard for training workers to safely work from heights. These standards came out in 2014 and came into effect in April 2015.

NORCAT went through the process with the MOL to become a certified training program provider. It involved NORCAT developing a complete curriculum. Once it met all the standards, the MOL went to NORCAT and observed the program being delivered. The MOL completed an audit of the process and certified NORCAT as a certified training provider. The working at heights course is based on construction regulations.

It is a six-and-a-half hour course and runs five days a week, from Monday to Friday. There is a maximum of 12 people per session and costs $189.

NORCAT prefers trainees to register at least the day before. Workers go in and do a morning of theory work followed by practical training. Trainees learn how to don a harness and wear it properly. They also do exercises to demonstrate skills required to do the work safely. At the end of the course, workers must pass a skills test. Once they pass, they are NORCAT certified and registered with the MOL.

“It is a straight-forward process,” Bubba said. “We are seeing mining companies sending employees to us to take the new program. We go above and beyond the standards to cover mining aspects as well. It means we can maintain our high level of quality training for our customers. We strive to make our programs better each year. We have the dedicated training room with equipment provided to us by 3M. Highwork helped with building the room. The practical training workers receive with us is second to none.

“We also have a handbook workers bring home with them. It can fit in their pocket or lunch pail. It’s an excellent resource. If a worker forgets something, he can look it up in the handbook.”

Down the road, Bubba fully expects the MOL will come out with a training program that is mining specific.

“Without a standard, training programs will differ and not everyone will receive the highest level of training,” he said. “It’s important to have standards. We would like to see standards for more programs in the future, such as working in confined spaces.”