Most times of the year you’ll find Ron Whitmell on the road or in an airport travelling to conduct a training session or a project evaluation. Whitmell manages AECOM Canada's safety, health and environment department. AECOM, which designs, finances and operates infrastructure for public and private sectors, has a strong cross-country presence, and in his years of training delivery, Whitmell has seen an explosion in demand for health and safety training. Government regulation is a big driver, but so too is the adoption of best practices within the industry and a greater expectation from clients that these be followed, he says. In Ontario, training on topics such as Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) might be a provincial regulatory requirement but the precise details of delivery are left to the employer. The debut of the province's working at heights training regulations in 2015, however, not only made employers responsible for ensuring their workers were trained but also exerted greater control over the training's content and, through certification, who could deliver a course. Last year, the province floated a similar proposal to establish standards for delivering health and safety awareness training. Regulating prescribed training requirements levels the playing field, he says. When it comes to how best to meet the new expectations for health and safety training, Ontario's construction employers opt for different approaches. Bruno Porciello, owner of Bronnenco Construction Ltd., outsources most of the company's health and safety training needs. He obtains training for the working at heights program from the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA), Ontario's construction safety association, safe handling of propane and propane equipment training from local retailers and asbestos awareness training from qualified consultants.
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