By Steve Pawlett
Special to Ontario Construction Report
The first of its kind in Canada, the new LiUNA Tunnel Rescue Facility consists of a 10-metre diameter vertical shaft that drops eight metres to a concrete tunnel extending 30 metres onto the property. The tunnel has air packs and various equipment, including ropes and a gantry crane to simulate rescues.
Located in Vaughan at 8700 Huntington Rd., fire departments and emergency medical services, as well as LiUNA locals from across North America, will be able to utilize the tunnel rescue facility for training.
“We are also continuing with the location rescue training that we have been doing since 1985,” explains Chris DeHaas, tunnel rescue training coordinator. “In the early days, it was primarily field-based training at construction sites with some in-house training. This new tunnel training facility expands and enhances our in-house training capabilities.”
Contractors can now send their workers to the facility for tunnel rescue training and, eventually, tunnelling skills training.
“We can now mock up job sites here at our facility. We have the shaft and 100 metres of tunnel, a training bay, and a classroom for theory-based items. We also have a workshop where we service all our equipment as well as contractor’s equipment,” adds Haas.
Haas says they plan to add skills training for tunnelling.
“This is currently a work in progress as we had to wait until the tunnel was up and running. We will teach workers new to tunnelling and construction, techniques, hazard, and safety awareness, and the use of different tools specific to tunnelling.”
“We will be looking at doing confined space rescue training as well as it will dovetail nicely with what we are already doing and we will continue with the location training that we have been doing all along,” explains Haas.
“This facility enhances what we can offer to the industry to improve safety. We are still in our infancy here, and as time progresses, we will add more training and techniques and new scenarios for rescue training. Things that we can’t always do in the field.” he adds.
LiUNA has five campus sites: Vaughan, Cobourg, Toronto, Barrie, and Kingston. Local 183 provides training that includes new materials, tools and techniques that are making their way onto the job sites or are already present in the day-to-day work that its members perform. Hands-on training simulates a construction site to ensure that contractors receive competent and productive workers.
LiUNA prides itself on delivering the most extensive health and safety courses to ensure the safety of its trainees and members. Being proactive to the health and safety needs of the industry is central to its goal of delivering the best training available.
Programs cover everything from low-rise and high-rise residential construction to sewer and water main, utilities and road and bridge construction.