The summer season is almost here, which means Ontario's workplaces will soon be welcoming new and young workers for the busy summer months.
"Before it gets too busy, take the time to review your safety orientation and training programs," suggests Rodola Sibuma, Key Account Manager with WSPS.
Workers are most likely to be injured or worse in their first few weeks or months on the job. It's up to you as their employer to provide your new and young workers with the skills and knowledge they need to stay safe.
Understand what new and young workers need to know
By giving more information and training to young workers, you are equipping them with skills to do their job safely. The process begins before they start working. According to Rodola, these workers need to know:
- Their rights and responsibilities under the law.
- Their specific job responsibilities.
- Their job hazards.
- Who they can go to with a safety-related concern and how to reach them, especially if working alone or independently.
- The supports the employer has in place to keep workers safe (i.e. policies and procedures, training, etc.).
- Review your policies and procedures now, before hiring for the summer months.
- Make sure your health and safety policies and procedures, including your orientation program, are in place and up to date. Be mindful of seasonal hazards, such as heat stress, UV exposure, and bug bites.
- During orientation provide a thorough job description, training, on job specific hazards and emergency procedures, a contact sheet for supervisors and first aid attendants, and a link to information on the legal rights and responsibilities of all workplace parties. Training should last from one to four hours. Allow enough time in your schedule (especially if you are a small business) to deliver training so it doesn't occur during busy times.
- Retrain employees if new hazards or processes are introduced into the workplace and ask workers questions to be sure they understand the hazards and how to deal with them.
- Ensure your company is up to date on all of the latest legislative changes. For example, Bill 148 mandates new benefits to promote the mental health and well-being of employees dealing with difficult circumstances. Bill 177 substantially increases fines for employers and supervisors who are found guilty of violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
- Maintain comprehensive records of training and orientation, and keep them accessible for workers and Ministry of Labour inspectors.
How WSPS can help