A Sudbury occupational health and
safety company is offering real-life training scenarios for companies
working in confined spaces.
Levert WorkSafe Services has developed
a training simulator that mirrors situations that rescuers and
tradespeople will encounter on the job site.
The company is a spinoff health and
safety training division of the Levert Group, a well-known personnel
In 2006, Ontario introduced tougher and
expanded confined space regulations – enforced by the Ministry of Labour (MOL) – in the construction, health care, industrial, mining
and other previously not covered sectors.
It meant more stringent standards being
placed on employers to come up with plans on how to enter a confined
space, conduct site hazard assessments, develop strategies on how to
control hazards, provide the necessary training, and then back it all
up with records.
A confined space is considered inside
tanks, drums, silos, culverts or tunnels.
Senior instructor Richard Eldridge said
when the MOL began cracking down on confined space procedures, Levert
saw an opportunity to offer this unique service.
“We see the necessity and any time we
get notification of safety blitzes that c
ome around throughout Ontario, we
approach small companies that are still behind the eight-ball to
catch up to where the bigger companies are.
“There's always a learning curve that
some companies are slow to jump on and that's where we come into play
and why we have people to educate them.”
The company has seven years' experience
acting as teachers teaching rescue teams for major clients like Vale
and Xstrata, and contractors across Northern Ontario, ut also to
assist small and medium-sized companies fulfill their occupational
health and safety needs.
Eldridge said the participation from
companies has been great.
“They know the need for it.”
At their Frood Road location, the
company repurposed an old boiler room into a 292-square-foot confined
space simulator that's outfitted with a myriad of obstacles and
entanglements that tradespeople, contractors or rescuers would face
on a daily basis or in an emergency situation.
“It was an opportunity to take our
programming to the next level,” said Eldridge, who's also a Greater
This kind of training is crucial to
industry since about half of the deaths related to confined spaces
are due to oxygen deficiency and lack of air testing. The simulator
educates workers about occupational hazards and how to respond to
Levert trains client groups and their
own in-house personnel on how to react within seconds during
life-or-death situations. The scenarios can involve locating and
recovering a mannequin in a dark or smoke-filled situation.
“We have a standard that our rescuers
maintain even though they've been through the week-long course. Our
requirements are to maintain their rescue status with four practical
training sessions throughout the year.”
The confined space rescue training
course runs six to eight times a year, usually during mine
maintenance shutdowns for clients such as Vale and Xstrata.
“All our rescue teams, attendants and
labourers – if they're going to enter a confined space – have to
understand the permits which is part of the confined space package.”
Aside from confined space training, the
company delivers a broad range of comprehensive safety programs and
can customize training packages to ensure employers are complaint
with Workplace Safety and Insurance Board standards.
Their training offerings include aerial
work platforms, fall arrest, lift trucks, gas detection, respiratory
awareness, ladder safety, workplace violence, even black bear
Levert works with companies to conduct
safety audits, identify training needs, devise policies and
procedures for accident investigation, emergency planning, workplace
inspections, job hazard analysis, first aid and medical procedures,
training and documentation, safety manuals, and in establishing
health and safety committees.