Young and new worker blitz: 5 action items to protect the most vulnerable

Jun 09, 2015

young workersWorkplaces never previously visited by the Ministry of Labour are on the list of stops for inspectors in this year's new and young worker enforcement blitz. The blitz, which began last month and continues until August 31, has become an annual event.

Young and new workers - employed as food counter attendants, kitchen helpers, landscapers, workers in processing and manufacturing facilities, and others - are three times more likely to be injured during their first month of work than at any other time. Furthermore, results from previous blitzes show that young and new workers continue to be exposed to many of the same hazards, regardless of the size of the workplace or nature of business.

Convert this enforcement blitz into an injury prevention blitz

Follow all of these steps below; you can protect new and young workers and promote a health and safety culture that offers lasting benefits to your business and its employees.

  1. Before hiring, assess the job and its hazards, and use the results to improve controls. Include these hazards:
    • sprains and strains - the most common injuries among young workers
    • slips, trips, or falls
    • physical, chemical and biological agents
  2. Ensure all required safety measures and procedures are in place. For example:
    • safe practices for handling materials and using mechanical devices
    • guarding devices on machinery
    • safe use of lifting devices, ladders and personal protective equipment to prevent falls
    • protection against workplace violence and harassment
  3. Invest in your supervisors - make competency count! Ensure they know the laws, regulations and hazards, and have the training and experience to confidently, persistently help workers follow safe work procedures. Provide time for a buddy system and never leave a new and young worker unsupervised.
  4. Provide young and new workers with thorough orientation and hazard-specific training. Are your new and young workers receiving the information and training they need to protect their health and safety? Reinforce training by observing and coaching employees on how to perform tasks safely. Encourage and reward their questions.
  5. Conduct your own blitz inspection. Ask new and young employees questions that an inspector might ask. Look at your workplace through an inspector's eyes. Is your internal responsibility system, including joint health and safety committees or health and safety representatives, meeting legislated requirements?

How WSPS can help you gear up for young and new workers - and the blitz

Additional reading