The Workplace Health and Safety Committee helps ensure employers and workers have access to necessary safety resources, training providers and educational programs that help them recognize, avoid and prevent health and safety hazards in the work environment. The Committee identifies the workplace health and safety information and training needs that are not adequately met, and assesses the opportunities to fill gaps by providing information, liaising with existing training providers or developing custom training material and administering training sessions.

Committee Leads

Cris Bursugiu (Co-Lead), Rigarus

UPDATED: January, 2020

The STAC Climber Training Guidelines document was developed to assist the Canadian tower industry’s efforts to harmonize fall protection training requirements by identifying baseline training and retraining requirements for climbers with various levels of expertise, and by outlining a coherent training curriculum through which those requirements can be taught effectively. The first version of these guidelines was released in April 2019 and offers guidance to trainers, trainees/climbers and employers that can help ensure tower climbers know how to properly protect themselves and each other when working at heights in the communications industry.

It is the project team’s hope that this document will help ensure workers are adequately trained to work at heights, while also harmonizing industry-specific training provided by working-at-heights training professionals across the country.

The STAC Climber Training Guidelines provide a curriculum outline for training new climbers (Climber 1 and Rescue 1 chapters) and for retraining climbers with at least six months of experience (Climber 2 and Rescue 2 chapters). The document is modelled similarly to the NATE Climber Training Standard (CTS), and the project team used the NATE CTS as its primary seed document.

Each of the four individual chapters listed above contains individual sections relating to vital curriculum components, including climbing and rescue techniques and personal protective equipment, among others. Each of those sections also has suggested learning objectives, learning conditions and a performance standard.

The STAC project team began work on this project in summer 2016 and developed the first version of these guidelines for nearly three years prior to their release. The project team will reconvene in summer 2020 to begin work on version 2.0, including additional appendices.

Click here to download the STAC Climber Training Guidelines (V1.0).

In July 2019, STAC confirmed that each of the training provider companies within STAC’s membership at that time stated that they could provide courses matching the requirements of the STAC Climber Training Guidelines, or which could contribute to their completion. Click here to view the related STAC blog post.

Project Leads
Clay Parchewsky, WesTower
Dominique Valdez, eSystem Training Solutions (Climber 1&2)
Iain Harrison, P-Sec

Additional Volunteers
Adam Gale, Vertical Specialties
Aimee Arsenault, Tridon
Craig McLellan, Nouvelle Hauteur
Denis Darveau, Videotron
Greg Gasbarre, Titan AEX
Hervé Landreville, GRAVI-T ZERO
Justin Sousa, Gravisys
Marco Simard, Nouvelle Hauteur
Robert Popien, Tbaytel
Ron O’Neil, 3M
Yanic Raymond, WSP

UPDATED: January, 2020

Electrical storms can create a dire hazard for communication tower workers, who risk potential electrocution if they remain on or near a tower or other conductive materials during a storm. As such, it is imperative that tower crews know how to identify an approaching electrical storm and understand how to respond when the threat of a storm is real.

Through the Tower Work & Lightning Guidelines project, STAC volunteers will research and design a draft lightning policy that STAC Members can adopt or utilize when developing their own policies on working around lightning. Note that this project is currently on hold, as STAC members have not identified it as a priority project.

Project Resources:
STAC Talks: Lighting Policy

Project Volunteers
Adam Gale, Vertical Specialties
Dan Gaudette, Tbaytel
Greg Gasbarre, Titan AEX
Gordon Lyman, eSystem Training Solutions
Hany Danial, Rogers
Jason Wolf, WesTower
Mike Hunter, IHSA
Philippe Lavoie, TELUS
Roy Holland, Rogers
Scott Connor, TEAM-1 Academy

UPDATED: October, 2018

After nearly a year of planning, STAC and Nouvelle Hauteur made history in September 2017 by completing and timing five simulated tower rescues for the purposes of benchmarking target rescue times.

Working on towers of 90 and 110 meters in height, a team of rescue trainers from Nouvelle Hauteur completed five different timed rescues over two days, including:
• 110m pick-off rescue from pinwheel, rescue equipment on the ground rescuers from ground;
• 110m pick-off rescue from pinwheel, rescue equipment up tower, rescuers up tower;
• 90m inside climb pick-off rescue from rail, equipment up tower, rescuers up tower;
• 90m inside climb pick-off rescue from rail, rescue equipment on ground, rescuers from ground;
• 90m inside climb pick off rescue from pinwheel, equipment on the ground, rescuers from ground.

Each rescue simulation was broken down into multiple timed stages of the rescue and was filmed using multiple DJI Phantom 4 drones as well as multiple GoPro cameras.

Demonstrative videos and other pertinent information about the simulations will be studied and made available to STAC Members in the months ahead in an effort to help provide a greater understanding of the unique challenges and hazards associated with rescues at these heights.

UPDATE: Videos from the Tall Tower Rescue project showing all five tower rescue simulations are now available and can be accessed at the following links:
Playlist (all videos)
Tall Tower Rescue Simulation #1 – 110m Inside-climb pick-off rescue from pinwheel (rescue equipment and rescuers starting from ground)
Tall Tower Rescue Simulation #2 – 110m Inside-climb pick-off rescue from pinwheel (rescue equipment and rescuers starting on the tower)
Tall Tower Rescue Simulation #3 – 90m Inside-climb pick-off rescue from rail (rescue equipment and rescuers starting on the tower)
Tall Tower Rescue Simulation #4 – 90m Inside-climb pick-off rescue from rail (rescue equipment and rescuers starting on the ground)
Tall Tower Rescue Simulation #5 – 90m Inside-climb pick-off rescue from pinwheel (rescue equipment and rescuers starting on the ground)

STAC and Nouvelle Hauteur also worked in October 2018 to provide a webinar that discussed the tall tower rescue project and the learning opportunities that came from the development of these videos.

View the STAC Tall Tower Rescue Webinar here.

Project Leads
Craig McLellan, Nouvelle Hauteur
Marco Simard, Nouvelle Hauteur

Additional Volunteers
Amélie Viau, Nouvelle Hauteur,
Christian Grenier, Nouvelle Hauteur
Clay Parchewsky, WesTower
Denis Darveau, Videotron
Dennis Graham, CBC (non-member participant)
Jérémie Deschamps, Nouvelle Hauteur
John Jones, NATE
Mathieu Potel, Nouvelle Hauteur
Thomas Chapman, Nouvelle Hauteur
Tom Wood, NATE

Members of the STAC Workplace Health & Safety Committee have expressed a desire to identify and share information relating to safe work practices in high winds. While minimal information exists that relates to maximum wind thresholds for specific types of working-at-heights activities, STAC has been asked to provide links to documents that may provide some useful information about this topic.

Some documents to consider can be found at each of the following links:
Crane Operations and Weather Factors – Deckrane Services
The Utility Connection: High Wind Hazards – American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE)
Hoisting and Rigging Safety Manual – Infrastructure, Health & Safety Association
(see pages 5 and 154, in particular)

In a milestone “first” for the Structure, Tower & Antenna Council, a team of STAC Members submitted in April 2017 a formal response to a government consultation on proposed new fall protection regulations.

The four-page response submitted to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) in April followed the federal government’s launch in March of a consultation on significant amendments that it said would help “modernize” the section on fall protection systems within the Canada Occupational Health and Safety (COHS) Regulations.

STAC – working within the government’s 30-day consultation period – formed a project team consisting of members of STAC’s Workplace Health & Safety Committee, members of which reviewed the proposed amendments and worked together to identify and develop constructive feedback to help ensure the new regulations are both safe and practical.

In a notice posted in the Canada Gazette on March 18, the government said it planned to change COHS fall protection regulations, including by:
• Updating equipment storage, maintenance and inspection requirements;
• Requiring employers to develop fall-protection plans in consultation with a workplace committee or health and safety representative;
• Updating the regulations to require application of the most recent version of published CSA standards;
• Increasing the height at which a fall protection system is required (increasing from 2.4 m to 3 m);
• Permitting the use of either CSA or ANSI approved head protection;
• Requiring that fall-arrest systems “be designed to prevent a person from hitting the ground or an object or level below the work area during a fall.”

The proposed amendments would apply to all companies under federal regulation if they are passed into law. Importantly, because the proposed new regulations are not yet law, federally-regulated employers are still required to provide fall protection systems to employees working at 2.4 meters or higher.

The STAC working group review the proposed regulations and worked together to develop positions on each proposed change before drafting its submission to the government consultation. STAC submitted its response to ESDC on April 17 – the final day of the consultation period.

The working group was led by STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee Lead Clay Parchewsky (WesTower) and by Justin Sousa (Gravisys). Additional participants include:
• Dave Ramdeane (Bell)
• Owen Crabbe (Canadian Forces)
• Gordon Lyman (eSystem Training Solutions)
• Fabrice Blanchet and Herve Landreville (GRAVI-T ZERO)
• Marco Simard and Craig McLellan (Nouvelle Hauteur)
• Carm Cirillo, Sam Fadlallah and Asma Arefeen (Rogers)
• Scott Connor (Team-1 Academy)
• Dan Renaud (Telecon)
• Adam Gale and Walter Wannamaker (Vertical Specialties).

STAC expects that ESDC will take several months to review the submissions it received during the consultation period and will amend its proposed changes to the COHS Regulations accordingly. In August 2017, STAC was informed that ESDC was targeting a “late winter 2018” release of the revised regulations.

STAC will provide an update to all STAC Members once the final regulations have been released, or if there are any additional consultations relating to these regulations.

In the meantime STAC’s final submission in its entirety can be viewed online here.

UPDATED: April, 2020

The STAC Workplace Health & Safety Committee developed the Monopole Rescue project team to study concerns relating to inside-climb monopoles and the unique challenges with planning and carrying out a rescue of the first climber up the ladder. In particular, this project is concerned with difficulties relating to detaching the first climber from the monopole’s internal fall protection system – an action that typically requires lifting the rescue victim from above in most other rescue situations.

Since this project’s launch, STAC has worked with contractors and safety training providers to develop – and share information about – rescue procedures that are specifically designed for use in inside-climb monopoles, and which can be used to perform a rescue on the “first climber up the ladder.” STAC also worked with site owners to develop requirements that contractors accessing this type of tower be trained on an “inside-climb rescue procedure,” as developed by a qualified trainer and as demonstrated to be effective for rescuing the first climber up the ladder.

In spring 2020, a subset of this STAC project team completed the STAC Bulletin SB-0005: Inside-Climb Monopoles – Recommendations for Safe Access. This document was put together with the purpose of providing tower contractors, owners and others in the communication tower industry a series of recommended minimum best practices for safely accessing inside-climb monopole structures. This document covers the following topics:

  • Inside-climb monopole rescue procedures
  • Inside-climb monopole job-hazard assessment (JHA)
    1. Climbing clearance (circumference)
    2. Wildlife-related hazards
    3. Poor visibility
    4. Excessive heat
    5. Drop-zone protection

The project team worked to highlight the unique challenges and hazards that accessing these types of towers can pose. In some cases, the team also included detailed notes about how to circumvent particular hazards.

This bulletin is available in both French and English. STAC encourages its members to share this bulletin widely with all members of the communication tower industry.

CSA Z259.17-16 – Selection and use of active fall-protection equipment and systems
CSA Z259.16-15 – Design of active fall-protection systems
CSA Z259.11-05 (R2015) – Energy Absorbers and Lanyards
CSA Z259.13-16 – Manufactured horizontal lifeline systems
CSA-Z259.2.3:16 – Descent devices
CSA Z259.1-05 (R2015) – Body Belts and Saddles for Work Positioning and Travel Restraint
CSA Z259.2.2-14 – Self-retracting devices
CSA-Z259.15-12 – Anchorage connectors
CSA-Z259.10-12 – Full body harnesses
CSA Z259.2.4-15 – Fall arresters and vertical rigid rails
CSA-Z259.2.5-12 – Fall arresters and vertical lifelines
CSA-Z259.14-12 – Fall restrict equipment for wood pole climbing
CSA Z259.12-11 (R2016) – Connecting components for personal fall arrest systems (PFAS)
ANSI Z490.1 – Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health and Environmental Training
STAC 2019 – STAC Climber Training Guidelines – Clay Parchewsky – WesTower
STAC 2019 – STAC Climber Training Guidelines – Ron O’Neil – 3M Fall Protection Group
STAC 2019 – STAC Climber Training Guidelines – Fabrice Blanchet – GRAVI-T ZERO
STAC 2019 – Beyond the Checklists: Crew Assessments of Towers – Aimee Arsenault – Tridon
STAC 2019 – Beyond the Checklists: Crew Assessments of Towers – Adam Gale – Vertical Specialties
STAC 2019 – Fall Hazard Zones and Beyond, Rooftop Fall Protection – Rick Kirby – WesTower, Brent Hrywkiw – Stantec
STAC 2019 – Inside-Climb Monopole Safety – Hervé Landreville – GRAVI-T ZERO
STAC 2019 – CSA Z259.2.4-15: New Rigid Rail Trolley – Devin Finnigan – Trylon
STAC 2019 – Rigging Essentials – Gordon Lyman – eSystem Training Solutions, Bill Griswold – Griswold Tower Software
STAC 2018 – STAC Project Update: Climber Training Guidelines – Adam Gale – Vertical Specialties, Clay Parchewsky – Westower, Dominique Valdez – eSystem Training Solutions
STAC 2018 – Fall Protection Hot Topics: System Design and Inspection Requirements – Rick Guenette – Gravisys
STAC 2018 – Fitness for Duty: Physical Demand Analysis for Aerial Workers – Dean McDougall – SureHire
STAC 2018 – Fitness for Duty: Physical Demand Analysis for Aerial Workers – Dan Renaud – Telecon
STAC 2018 – STAC Project Update: Tall Tower Rescue – Craig McLellan – Nouvelle Hauteur
STAC 2018 – Lessons Learned from Tower Failures – John Wahba – Turris, Keith Ranney – Bell, Nathan Schauerte – WesTower
STAC 2018 – Safety on the Moo-ve: Mobile Tower Safety – KC Yip – TELUS
STAC 2018 – Monopole Safety – Herve Landreville – GRAVI-T Zero
STAC 2018 – Monopole Safety – John Dennis – Dynamic Rescue Systems
STAC 2018 – Monopole Safety – Craig McLellan – Nouvelle Hauteur
STAC 2017 – Anchorage, Resisting Force & the Human Body – Greg Small – Elevated Insight & Engineering
STAC 2017 – Anchorage, Resisting Force & the Human Body – Hervé Landreville – GRAVI-T ZERO
STAC 2017 – Anchorage, Resisting Force & the Human Body – Nick Wilkerson – SBA
STAC 2017 – Safe Site Access 411 – Dan Renaud – Telecon
STAC 2017 – Rescue & Fall Protection Compliance and Essentials – Cédric Martel – Rocktel
STAC 2017 – Rescue & Fall Protection Compliance and Essentials – Mike Amyotte – Skysafe Solutions
STAC 2017 – Tall Tower Rescue Readiness – Clay Parchewsky – WesTower
STAC 2017 – Tall Tower Rescue Readiness – Craig McLellan – Nouvelle Hauteur
STAC 2017 – ASSE A10.48 and What it Means for the Canadian Market – Gordon Lyman – eSystem Training Solutions
STAC 2016 – Working at Heights Presentation – Mike Hunter – IHSA
• STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – October 19, 2020
• STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – September 28, 2020
• STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – September 14, 2020
• STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – August 24, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – August 10, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – July 27, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – July 13, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – June 29, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – June 15, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – June 1, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – May 25, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – May 20, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – May 11, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – May 4, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – April 27, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – April 22, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – April 17, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – April 14, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – April 9, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – April 6, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – April 3, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – March 30, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – March 2, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – January 13, 2020
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – November 4, 2019
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – September 16, 2019
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – July 29, 2019
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – June 24/25, 2019
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – May 13, 2019
STAC Workplace Health and Safety Committee – Meeting Notes – January 14, 2019
Submit questions to info@stacouncil.ca