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What is employee orientation?

Orientation (sometimes called an induction) is the process of introducing new, inexperienced, and transferred workers to the organization, their supervisors, co-workers, work areas, and jobs, and especially to health and safety. Providing training and extra assistance during the initial period of employment is critical, regardless of the age of the employee, as they are not familiar with the hazards of the job or the workplace.

During this phase, each worker develops the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are necessary to work in a safe and healthy manner. While training (or refresher training) is always important, training should always be provided when employees are:

  • transferred to jobs or work areas they are unfamiliar with
  • returning from an extended period away from work
  • who are new to the work force

Not all training can or should be done on the first day. Time the orientation sessions to best match the needs of the workplace and the work done, but be sure all areas are covered.

What is a sample orientation checklist?

Below is a sample orientation checklist. Be sure to customize it for your workplace.

Areas to be Covered Description Completed
    Yes No

Company Safety Rules

Explain safety rules that are specific to your company.    
Company Policies Explain the health, safety and wellness policies of your company.    
Previous Training Ask the employee if she/he has taken any safety training.    
Training Provide any necessary safety, environmental, compliance or policy/procedural training.    
Health and Safety Inform the health and safety specialist that a new employee has joined the company who will need safety training. Arrange for this training and education to occur.    
Potential hazards Tour the work areas and facility and discuss associated work area hazards and safe work practices.    
Emergency Procedures Show and explain how to use emergency eyewashes and showers, first aid kits, fire blankets, fire extinguishers, fire exits and fire alarm pull boxes, as applicable. Demonstrate the evacuation procedures.    
Toxic Products Identify workspaces where hazardous materials are used, stored or disposed. Provide training as necessary.    
Food and Beverages Explain that food and beverages are only permitted to be stored in refrigerators clearly labelled "FOOD ONLY".    
Emergency Notification Form Have employee complete the Emergency Notification form. Keep a copy for your files and send a copy to your Emergency Coordinator.    
WHMIS Provide education about WHMIS. Identify the location of the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs). Review the MSDSs for all hazardous materials to be used by the employee. Explain hazardous material labelling requirements. Conduct job specific training.    
Emergency Evacuation Review the company's Emergency Evacuation Plan and explain the evacuation signals and procedures, point out proper exit routes and the designated assembly area for your Branch.    
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Review the PPE program if the employee will be required to wear protective equipment. Issue appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) that must be worn as required by the work being performed.    
In Case of Injury or Illness Review the reporting procedures in the event of an injury and/or accident.    
Health and Safety Committee Supply a copy of the facility telephone list with names of the Health and Safety Committee members highlighted. Identify the location of the safety bulletin board. Explain how the employee can participate in the health and safety process (e.g., report hazards)    
General Rights and Responsibilities Explain worker rights and responsibilities as granted by legislation. (See the section of our OSH Answers on Legislation for more details.)    

Emergency Contact

Provide a list of names, addresses, phone numbers and fax numbers of the persons who must be contacted in case of emergency.    


Maintain a record of the orientation.    

Employee Name:


Supervisor's Signature:

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Document last updated on June 6, 2014

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