Vulnerable Workers Health and Safety Awareness

Vulnerable WorkersMinistry of Labour Inspection Initiatives

New & Young Workers

They can be young, they can be new to a particular job or they can be seasonal workers hired during a peak period. New and young workers are three times more likely to be injured during their first month on the job than at any other time. To raise awareness and increase compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations, the MOL will conduct a province-wide inspection initiative that will focus on new and young workers.

What are vulnerable workers?

Vulnerable workers are those who recently moved to Ontario from another province or country, have just started their first job, or are returning to the workforce after a long absence. Vulnerable workers also include people who work in an “underground” economy, especially those who do not have documentation, who are refugees, or whose English language skills are inadequate.

What the law says

Sections 25 and 27 of Ontario's Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) sets out responsibilities for employers and supervisors:

  • Ensuring equipment, materials and protective devices are provided and maintained
  • Letting workers know about any potential or actual dangers in the workplace
  • Informing, instructing, supervising workers to protect their health and safety
  • Hiring supervisors that are competent
  • Assisting and co-operating with joint health and safety committees or worker representatives
  • Taking every precaution reasonable for the protection of a worker
  • Ensuring that workers comply with provisions of the OHSA

Workers have rights and responsibilities under OHSA as well. These include:

  • the right to know about hazards and how to prevent injuries caused by them
  • the right to participate in health and safety activities in the workplace
  • the right to refuse work that is dangerous or unsafe to you or others
  • the responsibility to use machinery and equipment in the way in which they are trained
  • the responsibility to report hazards to a supervisor or employer
  • the responsibility to use or wear personal protective devices

How vulnerable workers can affect your business

Health and safety should be considered an investment. Firms that operate in a healthy and safe way benefit in many ways, including improving their bottom line and employee morale. Vulnerable workers may be more exposed to injury and illness than other workers because of their lack of experience, reluctance to ask questions, communication barriers, and the type of work they do. The business justification includes:

  • compliance with the law
  • cost reduction
  • business interruption protection
  • employee relations improvement
  • reliability and productivity improvement
  • public trust
  • organization capability

What you can do

  • Establish procedures and measures for workplace health and safety and ensure that they are always followed
  • Ensure equipment and personal protective equipment is provided and maintained properly
  • Ensure that all hazards, illnesses and injuries are reported immediately
  • Identify hazards in the workplace and provide training/instruction on how to handle them
  • Provide proper and ongoing training
  • Respond promptly to all health and safety concerns
  • Lead by example: use and wear safety equipment when required, and participate in drills and other emergency response training

Downloads

Closing the Loop:  Setting Up a Health & Safety System in your Small Business (Generic)

Closing the Loop: Setting Up a Health & Safety System in your Small Business (Generic)

This guide helps you navigate through the rules and regulations that govern workplace health and safety. Includes a self-assessment tool to help you get started.

1076 KB PDF
Closing the Loop: Setting Up a Health & Safety System in Your Small Business (Landscaping & Growers)

Closing the Loop: Setting Up a Health & Safety System in Your Small Business (Landscaping & Growers)

Developed in partnership with Landscape Ontario, this guide helps you navigate through the rules and regulations that govern workplace health and safety. Includes a self-assessment tool to help you get started.

1109 KB PDF
Closing the Loop: Setting Up a Health & Safety System in Your Small Business (Tourism & Hospitality)

Closing the Loop: Setting Up a Health & Safety System in Your Small Business (Tourism & Hospitality)

Developed in partnership with the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, this guide helps you navigate through the rules and regulations that govern workplace health and safety. Includes a self-assessment tool to help you get started.

909 KB PDF
Closing the Loop: Setting Up a Health & Safety System in Your Small Business (Vehicle Sales & Service)

Closing the Loop: Setting Up a Health & Safety System in Your Small Business (Vehicle Sales & Service)

This guide helps you navigate through the rules and regulations that govern workplace health and safety. Includes a self-assessment tool to help you get started.

934 KB PDF
Infographic Poster - New & Young Workers

Infographic Poster - New & Young Workers

Download this free infographic poster and learn how to prevent common accidents. Post in your workplace and on your safety board. Visit our Small Business Centre to access more free resources and useful information for your small business.
413 KB PDF
IRS Primer

IRS Primer

UPDATED! Under Ontario's Occupational Health & Safety Act, employers and workers share responsibility for workplace health and safety. This primer will help you understand your role and the role of others in protecting workers from harm.

113 KB PDF
New worker orientation guide: laying the foundation for a safety culture

New worker orientation guide: laying the foundation for a safety culture

How does the MOL define "new worker"? What are the different roles for employers, supervisors and workers? What should you tell vs. show new workers, what is the best way to communicate, what should you watch for? All this and more - including a detailed checklist you can personalize for your organization - in this four-page guide.

204 KB PDF
Safety Check: Robbery Prevention Safety

Safety Check: Robbery Prevention Safety

Robbery prevention safety tips for workers.
457 KB PDF
Strategies for Ontario’s aging workforce: what employers can do to prevent injuries

Strategies for Ontario’s aging workforce: what employers can do to prevent injuries

Designed for businesses in all industries, the poster provides employers with tips on how to create a safe work environment for aging workers. Tips address training, teamwork, the value of older workers, and their role in working safely.

86 KB PDF
Strategies for Ontario's aging workforce: what workers can do to prevent injuries

Strategies for Ontario's aging workforce: what workers can do to prevent injuries

Designed for businesses in all industries, the poster encourages workers to apply their years of experience in working smarter. Tips relate to the musculoskeletal system, hearing and vision, mental health, and cardiovascular health.

156 KB PDF
Supervisor competencies: the key to building a strong safety culture

Supervisor competencies: the key to building a strong safety culture

Supervisors - engaged, knowledgeable, responsive - are indispensable to a strong safety culture. These six posters promote passion for and pride in such areas as leadership, coaching, and training, by personalizing the promise supervisors implicitly make to workers: "You're safe with me."

2206 KB PDF

Consulting Services

General Consulting Services

General Consulting Services

Integrating health and safety into your workplace is good business.  WSPS’ consultants employ a results-based approach to health, safety and environment, focused on building self-reliance,  and enabling your organization to implement, manage and continually improve your health and safety programs.

Training

Health & Safety Awareness for Supervisors (1.5 Hours)

Health & Safety Awareness for Supervisors (1.5 Hours)

Get in compliance quickly. Price includes training for up to 25 people in your workplace.

  • On-site
$395.00

Health & Safety Awareness for Workers (1 Hour)

Health & Safety Awareness for Workers (1 Hour)

Get in compliance quickly. Price includes training for up to 25 people in your workplace.

  • On-site
$395.00

Health & Safety Awareness for Workers (2 Hours)

Health & Safety Awareness for Workers (2 Hours)

Training Tailored to Your Workplace. Price includes training for up to 15 people in your workplace.

  • On-site
$395.00

E-Courses

Health and Safety Awareness for Ontario Supervisors (English) (1 hour)

Health and Safety Awareness for Ontario Supervisors (English) (1 hour)

This solution explains a supervisor's role and duties regarding health and safety at the workplace.
View Details 
$15.00

Health and Safety Awareness for Ontario Supervisors (French) (1 hour)

Health and Safety Awareness for Ontario Supervisors (French) (1 hour)

This solution explains a supervisor's role and duties regarding health and safety at the workplace.
View Details 
$15.00

Health and Safety Awareness for Ontario Workers (English) (1 hour)

Health and Safety Awareness for Ontario Workers (English) (1 hour)

Learn about Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), and your rights and responsibilities as a worker.
View Details 
$15.00

Health and Safety Awareness for Ontario Workers (French) (1 hour)

Health and Safety Awareness for Ontario Workers (French) (1 hour)

Learn about Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), and your rights and responsibilities as a worker.
View Details 
$15.00

Orientation on Health and Safety for New Agricultural Workers (Parts 1+2) (English) (1.5 hours)

Orientation on Health and Safety for New Agricultural Workers (Parts 1+2) (English) (1.5 hours)

This two-part course provides a general introduction to occupational H&S for new agricultural worker.
View Details 
$49.00

Orientation on Health and Safety for New Agricultural Workers (Parts 1+2) (French) (1.5 hours)

Orientation on Health and Safety for New Agricultural Workers (Parts 1+2) (French) (1.5 hours)

This two-part course provides a general introduction to occupational H&S for new agricultural worker.
View Details 
$49.00

Orientation on Health and Safety for New Workers (English) (1.5 hours)

Orientation on Health and Safety for New Workers (English) (1.5 hours)

This course provides a general introduction to occupational health and safety for all new workers.
View Details 
$49.00

Orientation on Health and Safety for New Workers (French) (1.5 hours)

Orientation on Health and Safety for New Workers (French) (1.5 hours)

This course provides a general introduction to occupational health and safety for all new workers.
View Details 
$49.00

Personal Protective Equipment: The Basics (English) (1 hour)

Personal Protective Equipment: The Basics (English) (1 hour)

This course covers the basics of PPE, including practical tips, programs, limitations, legal responsibilities.
View Details 
$49.00

Personal Protective Equipment: The Basics (French) (1 hour)

Personal Protective Equipment: The Basics (French) (1 hour)

This course covers the basics of PPE, including practical tips, programs, limitations, legal responsibilities.
View Details 
$49.00

Reference Products

Landscape Ontario Workplace Safety Tailgate Talks for the Landscaping Industry

Landscape Ontario Workplace Safety Tailgate Talks for the Landscaping Industry

This tool provides information on dozens of the most common hazards in the landscaping industry along with best practices for working safely.
View Details 
$20.00

Articles

4 ways to support new and young workers

4 ways to support new and young workers

You've already provided orientation and hazard-specific training for the new and young workers you've hired for the busy summer months (see Summer Safety for New and Young Workers). They've signed off on the training and are good to go. You may think you’ve done your part, however that isn’t necessarily the case.
Jun 08, 2018
Summer safety for new and young workers

Summer safety for new and young workers

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. 
May 14, 2018
Bring Safety Home: a breakthrough resource on talking to your kids about safety

Bring Safety Home: a breakthrough resource on talking to your kids about safety

Bring Safety Home, a timely new initiative launched by WSPS and the Ministry of Labour, is the first website targeted to parents of young workers. It helps parents of young workers play a greater role in their safety at work.

Jul 05, 2016
6 success strategies for keeping seasonal young workers healthy and safe

6 success strategies for keeping seasonal young workers healthy and safe

Golf may be a pastime for millions of Canadians, but it's serious business for ClubLink. The company owns and operates 54.5 18-hole equivalent championship and eight nine-hole academy courses in Ontario, Quebec and Florida.

May 05, 2016
How to prevent your employees from contracting Canada's most common form of cancer

How to prevent your employees from contracting Canada's most common form of cancer

If it were simple, the short answer would be to keep them out of the sun. But how do you protect people when research shows that even brief exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation can put them at risk of skin cancer?

Apr 04, 2016
Meet your next AODA deadlines with this handy guide

Meet your next AODA deadlines with this handy guide

On track to meet your Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) obligations? Ontario's ambitious program to eliminate barriers for Ontarians with disabilities comes with workplace compliance deadlines. A series of tables below explains what's required to satisfy upcoming obligations. Failure to meet these deadlines puts employers at risk of fines, as well as less traditional but potentially greater consequences, such as being called up before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

Jul 14, 2015
Precedent-setting fine emphasizes need for sexual harassment policies

Precedent-setting fine emphasizes need for sexual harassment policies

A $200,000 fine for an employer who sexually harassed workers holds important lessons about organizational culture, vulnerable workers, and sexual harassment programs. WSPS consultant Margaret Cernigoj offers timely advice in the wake of this case and in light of Ontario's action plan to curb sexual harassment.

Jul 14, 2015
Turn young, new worker blitz results into a 6-point prevention strategy

Turn young, new worker blitz results into a 6-point prevention strategy

Starting May 1, Ministry of Labour inspectors will be conducting a four-month enforcement blitz focusing on young workers aged 14 to 24 years, and new or reassigned workers on the job for less than six months. These workers are three times more likely to be injured during their first month on the job than at any other time, so convert this annual enforcement rite of spring into a customized injury prevention strategy.

Apr 08, 2015
How to protect your people, your business, and your brand from unhealthy behaviour

How to protect your people, your business, and your brand from unhealthy behaviour

Media reports of disturbing behaviour on Parliament Hill and at CBC have created an impression of systemic problems at these two organizations: individuals who abuse their position, people who are reluctant to voice complaints for fear of reprisal, lack of management support, and an absence of policies and procedures.
Feb 09, 2015

Videos

A Toolkit for Newcomers on Occupational Health & Safety and Workers’ Compensation.

A Toolkit for Newcomers on Occupational Health & Safety and Workers’ Compensation.

Research by the Institute for Work and Health has shown that new immigrants to Ontario are not aware of their rights and responsibilities when it comes to health and safety, and workers' compensation.

A toolkit has been developed to help disseminate this information to newcomers.  Prevention is the Best Medicine is a toolkit for settlement agencies to teach new immigrants to Ontario about occupational health and safety, and workers' compensation.

The toolkit contains everything needed to deliver instructional sessions on these two separate, but related, topics within an Ontario context.  Included are sample lesson plans, slide show presentations for workshop leaders, and handouts for participants.

Visit the Institute for Work & Health to download the toolkit.
Mar 22, 2012