Young And New Worker Safety Focus Of Inspection Blitz Of Service And Manufacturing Workplaces
Ontario's workplace health and safety inspectors are focusing on young and new workers during a blitz in June, soon after many students have begun their summer jobs and recent graduates have begun full- or part-time work.
Research conducted by the Institute for Work & Health found that any new worker, of any age, is as much as four times more likely to be injured during the first month on the job than at any other time performing that job.
The young and new worker safety blitz is being performed throughout Ontario in the service and manufacturing sectors during June 2009. The blitz will focus on:
- young, new workers aged 14 to 24 years, and
- new workers 25 and older who have been on the job less than six months or who have been reassigned to a new job.
Ministry of Labour inspectors will place special emphasis on the safety of new workers in locations such as retail stores, wholesalers, restaurants, vehicle sales and service outlets and enterprises involved in tourism. The ministry is also inspecting workplaces such as golf courses, camps, temporary amusement parks, tree planting and locations where workers are engaged in activities such as painting and landscaping.
YOUNG AND NEW WORKERS -- WHAT WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY INSPECTORS LOOK FOR
Ontario's team of 430 highly trained workplace health and safety inspectors are often required to exercise considerable judgement when assessing working environments, particularly those where young and new workers are employed.
Is the workplace prepared for new workers?
- General compliance with the OHSA and regulations
- Following OHSA and regulations for minimum ages for work and being in a workplace
- Competent supervisors as required by the OHSA
- Commitment by management to excellence in health and safety.
Are new workers ready for work?
- Employers aware of previous safety education, work experience and valid certifications/qualifications
- Each new worker knows his or her rights and responsibilities.
Is there comprehensive safety orientation?
- Tour of the workplace showing new workers where all OHSA-required information and important instructions are posted
- Emergency procedures in place; compulsory workplace safety rules
- General requirements for personal protective equipment, first aid provisions and all other essential health and safety facts.
Is job-specific training well done and validated?
- Training takes place (and is understood) before any new task is assigned
- Complete training on all safety devices and protective equipment
- Trainer is expert at performing the tasks and can teach adequately.
Are workers supervised adequately?
- Supervisors are in regular contact with workers to provide instruction and ensure that they are following safe work practices
- Workers have access to the supervisor and can ask questions and report unsafe working conditions.
HEALTH AND SAFETY INFORMATION RESOURCES FOR YOUNG WORKERS
There's a "Young Worker" portal on the Ministry of Labour's main website: www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/site/youngworkers
At the WorkSmartOntario website, www.worksmartontario.gov.on.ca, there's information on workplace health and safety and workers' employment rights and responsibilities.
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board website for young workers, www.youngworker.ca, also known as "prevent-it.ca." The site has tips for starting a new job and for dealing with unsafe workplaces.
The Ministry of Labour www.worksmartcampus.ca website teaches and reinforces basic health and safety knowledge for post-secondary students.