Farm Safety

Young workers need proper orientation

More than half of workplace accidents involving themoccur during their first six months on the job.


oung and new workers need special attention because they are at more risk of injury than their older or more experienced counterparts. The injury rate for young male workers is much higher than that of the overall population.

Most employers know it can be costly and time-consuming to hire and train workers, especially if you’re running a small business. It pays to keep them safe and on the job.

Part 3 of the province's Occupational Health and Safety Regulation will help you do just that. This regulation describes orientation and training requirements for young and new workers. Employers have had these responsibilities before, but now they are collected in one place and detailed in clear, concise language.

More than half of workplace accidents involving young and new workers occur during their first six months on the job. Providing effective orientation and training is the best way to prevent accidents. As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring that your workers are prepared for the job before they start working.

There are four basic steps to any training or orientation session. Evaluate the situation. First decide what areas training is needed. Compare the worker’s job description to an orientation checklist, a sample of which can be obtained from the WorksafeBC website. If there is no job description, this would be a good time to write one. If this is the first time orienting the worker, plan for a thorough training session. If

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you are re-orienting the worker, focus on the topics that relate to the new situation or new hazards. It’s a good idea to prepare a handout sheet for workers with contact information for supervisors and first aid attendants, as well as where to find more information

about worker rights and responsibilities in the Regulation. Train the worker. Sit down with the worker and go over the checklist. You should show them emergency exits and first aid facilities, and demonstrate specific work procedures. A typical orientation should take anywhere from one to four hours. In a higher-risk workplace the orientation may take a full day. An effective orientation should make workers aware of potential hazards and let them know who to talk to if they have questions about health and safety in the future.

Test the worker. Make sure he or she understands the training by asking the worker to recall specific procedures or general requirements (for example, when and where they need to use personal protective equipment). Follow up — ask workers questions within a few days and periodically over the next month or two.

Keep records of the orientation. Be sure to document all training. An orientation checklist will ensure that you have covered all the key topics when training a new worker. Give copies of the checklist to the worker and keep copies for your own records.

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