2016 young and new worker blitz: 3 essential tips for small business owners and managers

Jun 07, 2016

Young worker_chefWSPS consultant Janet Bewers is a pragmatist. She knows that what workplaces need to do and what they're capable of doing right away are often two different things. So, she tailors her message to her audience.

For small business owners and managers - often jacks-of-all-trades working long hours to stay on top of competing priorities - the message has to be clear and actionable. In this instance: "Ministry of Labour inspectors are conducting a young and new worker inspection blitz from July 18 to September 2. Here are three things you can start doing right now."

But first, here are three things you need to know about the blitz:

  • If Ministry of Labour inspectors come to your workplace, expect at least one work order. In last year's blitz, they issued 3.38 orders on average during each visit
  • Inspectors may come more than once. Last year, inspectors made 3,396 visits to 2,704 workplaces
  • Inspectors will shut you down if they believe hazards pose imminent danger. Last year, inspectors issued 209 stop work orders

3 essential tips to get you started

  1. Eliminate the biggest hazards first. "What's the worst thing done every day that could kill or injure someone? What's the one place where someone could be seriously injured or killed? What's the one thing you see people doing regularly that could injure them?"
  2. Invest your money in things that duct tape can't fix, such as
    • training. Start by looking for downloadable training resources, often available at no- or low-cost. Get your supervisors to do 5-minute hazard awareness talks. "It's how most people prefer to learn. They're relevant, they’re on site, and workers can apply what they've learned right away." Then build on these talks incrementally. "Now that you can operate the deep fryer safely, let’s move on to…"
    • better guarding, better lockout/tag out, safer equipment, and time and wages for people to clean up at the end of their shift. "You can't fake proper housekeeping. You either have it or you don't."
  3. During orientation training, talk about workplace hazards first, not last. "Payroll practices never got anyone killed. Explaining them can wait." Instead, start by explaining how workers could get injured or killed, and how they can stay safe.

Implementing these three tips may not directly address inspectors' concerns, but it will make your workplace safer, which is the blitz's ultimate goal. For more on what to expect, review the ministry report on last year's blitz.

How WSPS can help

Bewers is careful to point out that her three tips are the beginning, not the end. "Once you get these things done, you're ready to move on to the next round of improvements that will prevent injuries and disruptions to your business."

We can help you do that. Here's how:

  • No time to work on your health and safety policy and procedures? Consultants like Janet Bewers can do this for you. And other things, like identifying and assessing hazards, and identifying solutions.
  • No time to develop and implement training? We can do that too. We offer self-paced training, e-courses, and classroom training. Our consultants will also deliver awareness training right in your workplace. Check out this list of topics.

You can find almost everything you need on our website. Give yourself a few minutes to start exploring all the opportunities.