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Made for B.C., this safety program is ready to go country-wide 

By Deb Draper

 

SiteReadyBC is the new online interactive site safety orientation program developed by the BC Construction Safety Alliance (BCCSA) to train inexperienced, transferred and returning workers on how to protect themselves and their employers from injury or fatality on the jobsite.

“We saw an opportunity to develop an online construction orientation specific to B.C.,” said Erin Linde, director, Health and Safety Services, BCCSA. “We also felt it was very important to have a certificate and course that was earned, not simply a video you watch and answer a couple of easy questions at the end. People are used to press and play where they simply click through and print out the certificate with little thought attached. That’s just not good enough anymore, especially when it comes to safety.”

Without wasting any time, Linde put together a stakeholder committee comprised of organizations and companies involved in B.C. construction. “It was important that this be built for industry by industry,” said Linde. “We started from scratch, and altogether it took about nine months to develop the whole program from the initial idea to its launch in July 2020. This was a huge commitment from the industry, meeting weekly for several months, discussing what should be included in the course, how to organize the content and deliver it to have the most effect.

“Successful students will earn two certificates: the SiteReadyBC program as well as WHMIS-2015 at no additional cost. Previously, WHMIS-2015 was available only through separate training and certification, but we felt that offering the WHMIS module was something industry wanted. It hadn’t been done this way before, and I think it is proving to be quite successful.”

Linde says that participants receive training on 20 topics in the form of modules that must each be finished to proceed to the next. There is a quiz at the end of each section rather than one big exam at the end – except for Module 10, which is Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) and requires successful completion of the exam to earn the WHMIS certificate.

SiteReadyBC is available online to employers, safety training partners and individuals who want to upgrade their skills or are preparing to re-enter the construction workforce. At a cost of $65, students can learn at their own pace with most participants completing the programs in six to eight hours, although they can take up to 60 days if needed.

The course is designed for new and young workers entering the construction industry, but from statistics collected on those who have already completed the course, there are many older and experienced students going back for a refresher.

 

20 modules of site safety orientation

The first five modules cover up-to-date, B.C.-specific laws and regulations in the construction industry. Also included are rights and responsibilities of workers and employers, hazard management, workplace conduct and accident reporting.

Part Two looks at emergency preparedness, workplace conditions, personal protective equipment, noise hazards and certification for WHMIS.

Another five modules teach safe manual lifting, care of tools, machinery and equipment including mobile equipment. Electrical safety and working on ladders and scaffolds is included.

Next, students learn safe demolition procedures, working at heights, excavations and trenching. The course finishes with safety around cranes, hoists and rigging, and finally, confined space entry.

 

User friendly and fun for successful learning

The program is rich with interactive features intended to make practical learning more personal and engaging. Linde said, “This could mean flip cards, drag and drop games like ‘Put the PPE on the construction worker.’ We made it as interactive as possible to ensure people are fully engaged in the learning and, in the end, retain more of what each module covers.

“Students have to engage and actually learn something. We want an employer to know the worker earned that certificate. It’s not a difficult course, but it’s also not easy. This is the difference between what we’re offering and the typical programs that are out there.”

In addition, the safety experts at BCCSA are constantly reviewing the course content to ensure information is up-to-date and relevant.

SiteReadyBC is already being cited by some employers and project owners as a prerequisite for working on their projects, and BCCSA reports that many employers are planning to make certification mandatory for all workers entering any project construction site.

“Companies are using the program for new hires; some are having everyone go through it or implementing it in their safety training programs,” said Linde. “We’ve taken six to eight hours of instruction time that the employer otherwise would have had to get done. Through SiteReadyBC they are assured that their workers know what they need to know and that their only responsibility as an employer is a site-specific orientation.”

 

Benefits for the entire Canadian construction industry

When designing the SiteReadyBC course, the infrastructure was developed to use discrete modules that can be adjusted to suit the needs of any jurisdiction. Other than Module One, which is specific to B.C. legislation, with a few adjustments all components can be applied across the country. By rewriting the legislation module, other areas can adopt the course, and employers can more easily train workers who move from location to location.

“We already have SiteReadyMB on board,” said Linde. “The Construction Safety Association of Manitoba worked with the BCCSA and ultimately all they had to do was change Part One to Manitoba legislation along with a few tweaks throughout so everything meshed with that province’s regulations. The ultimate goal is that we have the same consistent information throughout Canada.

“It’s exciting to see how successful our program is becoming. SiteReadyBC is already in high schools and training programs, and we are working on getting it into all the different schools, offering them the licence for free.”

As with all courses offered by BCCSA, any profits derived from provision of the course will support its Research, Development & Opportunity fund, which funds research and program/service development to improve safety outcomes in the construction sector.

“Internally we are assessing the potential of creating a SiteReady for Supervisors,” said Linde. “The reality is that construction is a very dangerous industry, but we can do it in a safe way.” 

 

 

 

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Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.