How to stay ahead of the New and Young Worker MOL blitz

Apr 10, 2017

group laughingMany workplaces see "training" as a formal exercise delivered by outside experts, but it doesn't have to be, says WSPS key account manager Rodola Sibuma. "It can happen in small increments every day or every week, because you already have on-site experts who can deliver this training - your supervisors."

Providing on-the-spot training and coaching offers compelling benefits for workplaces that hire seasonal and student workers. "It can help prevent injuries when these workers are at greatest risk: people new to a job are three times more likely to be injured during the first month on the job than more experienced workers," explains Rodola. It also helps your supervisors meet their responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act - an important consideration this time of year, when the Ministry of Labour begins its annual New and Young Worker blitz which runs from May 1, 2017 to August 31, 2017.

During the blitz, inspectors will be looking to make sure employers are complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations. Results from last year's blitz are a good checkpoint for what inspectors will be looking for. In 2016, the three most frequently issued OHSA orders involved employers' failure to:

  • post an OHSA copy in the workplace [OHSA s. 25(2)(i)] - 229 orders
  • maintain equipment in good condition [OHSA s. 25(1)(b)] - 170 orders
  • take reasonable precautions to protect workers’ health and safety [OHSA s. 25(2)(h)] - 138 orders

How supervisors can protect these workers

Supervisors play an essential role in health and safety, employee performance, and productivity. This role becomes even more critical when new and young, or vulnerable workers are involved.

By providing these workers with on-the-spot training and coaching, your supervisors

  • instill a safe work ethic by reinforcing and building on the orientation safety training you've already provided
  • show workers how to safely perform any new tasks and operate new equipment
  • understand workers' strengths and weaknesses, and assess their performance
  • demonstrate "competence," a legal requirement under the act1
  • instill a safe work ethic by reinforcing and building on the orientation safety training you've already provided
All of these are top concerns for ministry inspectors conducting visits during the blitz.

How your supervisors can deliver timely, on-the-spot training and coaching

Here are just some of the ways your supervisors can complement formal training every week and even every day.

  1. Conduct a daily walk through to observe new hires and all staff in action; coach as needed.
  2. Make themselves available to answer any questions workers may have.
  3. Set up a mentoring system, pairing new hires with experienced workers.
  4. Regularly check in with new hires - anything from a 5-minute chat to a weekly production review.
  5. Recognize safe practices when they're encountered.
  6. Demonstrate health and safety best practices in everything they do.

"Supervisors could also extend these suggestions to all employees," says Rodola. "When does an employee stop being 'new'? Training is a continuous activity, it doesn't have to always be formal, just ongoing."

How WSPS can help

Watch for details on this year's blitz in the next issue of WSPS eNews.

1 Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, a "competent person" is someone who

(a) is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and how it is performed
(b) is familiar with the act and its regulations