An online health and safety orientation course provides an introduction to how to work safely on a construction site.
Recently, I spoke with Erin Linde, director of health and safety services at the B.C. Construction Safety Alliance (BCCSA). Erin is the project lead for SiteReadyBC, an online health and safety orientation program that provides an introduction to how to work safely on construction sites.
“If you’re a young or new worker entering into construction, SiteReadyBC gives you an overview of what you should know related to health and safety on a worksite,” Erin says. “It doesn’t tell you how to do high-risk activities, but it tells you what a high-risk activity looks like. And if you see one you will know if you need to keep your distance or discuss it with your supervisor to get more training.”
Erin describes how employers benefit when new workers show up with this training. She says: “Now you’re getting a better trained worker who understands the basics. Then you can focus on your onboarding and site-specific training requirements.”
The first version of SiteReadyBC launched in July 2020. When I spoke with Erin in early 2023, more than 10,000 workers were SiteReadyBC certified. Many employers are now planning to make the program mandatory for all workers entering a construction site, Erin says.
Built by and for industry
BCCSA created SiteReadyBC to replace the Alberta-developed CSTS-09 program, used previously by B.C. employers to certify construction workers.
The course content is a result of much input from prime contractors on BCCSA’s Technical Advisory Committee, WorkSafeBC, and other stakeholders.
“We all sat together for many months talking about what these companies believe should be included in the program,” Erin says. “It was an amazing collaboration and I think what makes this program so special in a lot of ways is that it was built by industry for industry.”
The SiteReadyBC program takes six to eight hours to complete and includes topics such as:
- Health and safety laws and regulations
- Rights and responsibilities
- Risk management
- Personal protective equipment
- Workplace hazards (e.g., noise, electricity, working at heights, tools, mobile equipment, confined spaces, lifting, WHMIS)
- Ladders and scaffolds
- Demolition, excavation, and trenching
A course that’s constantly improving
I asked Erin how she felt about making such a positive difference through her work.
“This is definitely the project I’m most proud of,” Erin said. “I’ve read every single survey myself – with thousands of comments. We want more feedback because it’s constantly improving.”
One recent update, for example, is adding ReadSpeaker. This text-to-speech service improves access to information for people who need or want an alternative to printed content.
Thanks to Erin for telling me about this important project. Also see WorkSafeBC’s various health and safety resources relating to the construction industry.
SiteReady BC is an outstanding project. In todays construction industry where the majority of the workforce have English as a second language this project is of excellent value to employers. I would like to see it as a mandatory safety orientation for the industry in BC.