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Mandatory Occupational Health and Safety Awareness Training: Turning Awareness into Action

Health and Safety Awareness Training

While the basis for many agriculture operations may be perceived by some as simple - plant it and pick it or feed it and sell it - nothing could be further from the truth.

The modern agriculture facility, even smaller ones, can have processes as complicated as the most leading edge manufacturing facilities and have the potential for workplace hazards that are often far more dangerous.

Because of this, it's crucial that agriculture workers in Ontario understand how to work safely, know their rights and how the Occupational Health and Safety Act protects them. That's where mandatory Occupational Health and Safety Awareness Training (OHSAT) comes in and makes all the difference in ensuring your agriculture operation is safe for everyone.

And it's the law. The word 'mandatory' is there for a reason. Every worker and supervisor in your operation MUST take OHSAT, including duties, rights, hazards, controls, resources and more.

Must Be Done in a Timely Manner

For supervisors the training needs to be completed within a week of them starting their jobs as supervisors and workers must take it as early as is reasonably possible. It shouldn't be put off. Employers must ensure that this training is done in a timely manner with records of completion or face penalties.

There are many benefits in having your team up to speed on OHSAT when done properly. Not only will people do their jobs confidently knowing they are working safely, but if they are faced with any issues such as faulty equipment or harassment, they will be able to respond and action solutions effectively. This can only make your operation a better place to work which will help you attract quality workers and improve your bottom line.

Customize Your Training

A key success factor in implementing quality OHSAT is ensuring that the training is not 'cookie cutter' but uses reference points and examples that are part of your day to day business. A landscaping business should incorporate elements from their day to day which will be quite different from a cattle ranch.

It is also an opportunity to reinforce to new and young workers the importance of workplace safety and get them off to a good start. With spring right around the bend, this is a great way to start the season.

There are many ways that OHSAT can be delivered, certainly a key consideration during COVID and it’s never been easier. If facilitator led sessions are not a possibility there are virtual options including those using eLearning.

It's quite possible that you have training in place that meets the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skill Development's standards for OHSAT. Employers can complete an assessment to see if it qualifies.

WSPS facilitated sessions take under an hour. And WSPS trainers are agriculture specialists, something that makes training as relevant as possible.

There are also modules as well as workbooks that are available online and are free.

To find out more about turning your mandatory OHSAT into action visit