New and Young Workers

Are you or your company planning to employ young workers over the summer? If so, you need to have a young or new worker orientation program in place to ensure they are prepared for the work ahead.

Employers should prepare for the entry of young or new workers into the workplace by developing and planning an orientation program that is specific to their needs. A proper orientation is well worth the investment in time and resources.

Here are some of the basic elements that should be covered in a young or new worker orientation program:

  • Workers must be made aware of all relevant legislation that applies to the work they will do. This includes the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the basic rights of the worker. Explain their responsibilities under the OHSA and encourage them to report unsafe conditions and equipment.
  • If the workplace has a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) or a Health and Safety Representative (HSR), workers must be made aware of who these people are and what role they play in the internal responsibility system. Give workers the company's health and safety policy.
  • Workers must be made aware of the specific hazards in their working environment. This may also include information on WHMIS, specific machinery training, confined space, driver training, or other detailed information required for their tasks.
  • Workers will require knowledge of the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to wear. They may also have to be encouraged to wear it. Fellow employees should act as examples.
  • All workers should be provided specific training on the equipment and tools they may be asked to use. Pay special attention to difficult or high-risk tasks they may encounter. For example, operation of equipment will require much more comprehensive training. This will include reviews of operator's manuals, maintenance schedules, hands-on training, and specific rules for each piece of equipment.
  • Train workers in emergency procedures. Describe evacuation requirements, meeting areas, mayday procedures, and any other emergency processes. Provide information on first aid procedures and who can assist them if an injury occurs.

It is important to include a broad orientation of procedures and facilities as well as a trade-specific training element that delves deeper into the exact nature of the work. Afterwards, evaluate your orientation program in order to determine its effectiveness.

Your orientation program should be designed for your individual company, with specific information tailored to each trade or department.

For more ideas on what to include in your worker orientation, check out the following links: