TEAM-1 Academy brings real-life field experience to Working at Heights safety training


Ontario Construction News special feature

TEAM-1 Academy has been providing specialized industry sector training for almost 25 years. The company also applies its expertise to meet the new Working at Heights (WAH) training requirement.

Chief training officer Scott Connor says TEAM-1 originally provided HazMat response, stand-by rescue and training. “About seven years ago we switched our focus to training and stand-by rescue, including confined spaces and any kind of structure at height training.”

Connor says while some companies only have instructors with a theoretical background, TEAM-1’s staff of 16 instructors all has field experience and are able to bring that perspective to their instruction. “Companies who train with us benefit from an experienced company with exposure across a wide variety of sectors including fire departments, Fortune 500 companies, military, all levels of government, wind generation, renewable energy, construction…”

That, he says, allows TEAM-1 trainers to better tailor instruction to meet specific client and site needs. Conducting the majority of training at client sites means trainers are also able to get employers to open their eyes to specific risks and opportunities to mitigate those risks. For this reason, he says it is important not just to train workers but to train supervisors and managers as well.

TEAM-1 also has its own training locations where instructors can simulate confined spaces and working at heights environments.

Connor says TEAM-1 is also an authorized dealer for all major safety equipment and gear manufacturers. “Marketing the gear means we are current on the latest and newest. There are a lot of products out there and it’s important to know what is available and what suits each specific situation.”

He says, for instance, harness padding is designed for specific uses and can be ineffective in others. This means although a company has proper equipment for one job, that equipment may not translate to all projects. “We’re happy to consult with people on proper gear and training to help people understand what their specific needs might be.”

Some companies, he says for instance, may take a provincial fall protection height requirement and make it more stringent, requiring gear to be used at lower heights as an extra safety precaution. While in theory that is good practice, he says many companies do not realize that new equipment may be needed to comply with lesser heights since the previous gear is now not protecting them. “No use wearing it if it is not going to work!”

There are also other considerations companies may not be aware of. “If you’re using fall arrest as a means of fall protection, it’s important as well to have a rescue plan in place. Hanging in a harness can cut off up to 50 per cent of your blood flow so a worker can fall, be saved from hitting the ground, and then die or be seriously injured from hanging if left too long.”

TEAM-1 trains and consults companies on how to prepare executable rescue plans, and then trains staff in implementing the rescue.

Connor says TEAM-1 has worked with government agencies, municipalities and large businesses, applying its expertise throughout North America and overseas, helping meet growing safety requirements.

“Companies who now need to comply with the Ministry of Labour WAH training need to understand there is no reason to wait for a course opening. We have the experience and available staff to respond quickly to training requests and can get them working safer and ensure they are compliant now.”

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