Podcast Title: Health and Safety to Go!
Episode #: 143: New and Young Worker Orientation
Introduction: Welcome to Health and Safety to Go, broadcasting from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.
Host: Thank you for joining us for this episode of Health and Safety to Go. In this podcast we’re going to focus on what employers can do to help their new and young workers start a new job on the right foot and stay safe at work.
Employers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees. This includes the proper orientation and training of both new and young employees.
To begin with, what`s the difference between a new worker and a young worker? A young worker is defined as anyone under the age of 25. Typically, 15-24 years old but they can be younger such as in the case of family businesses and on farms.
New workers can be any age who are on the job for less than six months or can be someone new to the industry, for example, an older worker who came from an office environment but has switched career paths and works as a welder. Both types of workers can be inexperienced and unfamiliar with procedures and practices. These factors can mean that they need proper orientation and training to work safely on the job.
What is employee orientation?
Employee orientation is the process of introducing any new worker to the organization, their supervisors, co-workers, work areas, and jobs, and especially to health and safety. Providing training and 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 orientation 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:
So how do you start an orientation program?
It’s a good idea to have an orientation checklist that both employers and employees can use as it’s a useful tool for onboarding. Employers to help ensure that they deliver an orientation that meets the needs of the workplace and for employees to use to make sure that they get as much information as they can before starting the job.
Areas to be covered can include:
Employees: follow these eight basic rules for working safely and you'll be off to a safe and healthy start:
o ASK your supervisor to slow down and repeat the instructions if you are given too much information, too fast.
o ASK for help, if you are unsure of anything. A supervisor or co-worker might help you prevent an accident from happening.
o WEAR the proper personal protective equipment for the task. For example, if you are using safety shoes, hard hat or gloves, be sure that you know when to wear protective gear, where to find it, how to use it and how to care for it.
o ASK what to do in an emergency situation, whether it is a fire alarm, power failure or other situation.
o REPORT any accidents to your supervisor immediately.
o DO NOT PERFORM any task until you have been properly trained.
o DO NOT LEAVE your work area unless you've been told to do so. Other parts of the work site may have special hazards you don't know about. For example: overhanging power lines, slippery floors, and toxic chemicals.
o DO NOT HESITATE to ask for more training.
Employers have an important role in helping any new worker – young or old - stay safe on the job. One of the best things you can do as an employer is to make it clear that safety is the worker’s first priority, and that it’s perfectly fine to ask questions. Make time for training. Make it specific and relevant, and keep the training dialogue open and ensure that it’s ongoing.
For more resources and more information about new and young workers, visit the CCOHS website at www.ccohs.ca. Thanks for listening everyone.