Keeping young and new workers safe
Young and new workers are particularly vulnerable to workplace injuries, many of which occur in the first month on the job. The reasons vary. These workers may not fully understand their rights. Or they accept risky assignments for which they are not prepared. They might be reluctant to ask questions. And they often lack training and experience so they don’t understand hazards in the workplace.
• Ensure safety measures and procedures that protect all workers are in place and followed. Ensure equipment, materials and protective devices comply with health and safety laws. Train workers on these protective measures, which must be applied at all times.
• Provide comprehensive health and safety orientation and training before they start work. Include information about policy, personal responsibilities, hazards in the work environment, and how to protect themselves starting day one.
• Encourage them to ask questions and to alert supervisors immediately if they see something that could endanger themselves or others. Address health and safety concerns promptly.
• Don’t assign tasks that are critical, require a high degree of skill or responsibility, or are risky, such as handling dangerous chemicals.
• Demonstrate how to do each task the safe way, and do so more than once. Be accessible. Watch how the task is performed, correct mistakes and monitor the worker until you are confident he/she knows how to do the work safely.
• Ensure all necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety shoes, hardhat or gloves are provided and used.
This article was provided by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). The not-for-profit federal corporation provides workplace health and safety resources. Visit www. ccohs.ca.