Thursday, July 15, 2010

Young and New Workers - Focus of Safety Blitz

Originally printed in the Guelph Business Venture Magazine June 2010

With the school year over and many young and new workers anxious to make extra money, it is no surprise that the focus of the Ministry of Labour safety blitz over the next three months is the safety of young and new workers.

Health and Safety inspectors will be stopping by workplaces to ensure young and new workers are properly oriented, trained and supervised on the job, that the workers meet minimum age requirements and safety measures are in place to prevent injuries.

Orientation, training and supervision:
  • Have workers received proper workplace orientation?
  • Have they received proper workplace safety training, such as Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
  • Are they aware of their right to know, right to participate and right to refuse unsafe work?
Minimum age requirements:
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Workers must be at least:
  • 14 to work in industrial establishments - offices, stores, arenas and restaurant serving areas;
  • 15 to work in most factories, including restaurant kitchens, automotive service garages, and shipping and receiving areas in grocery stores and warehouses; and
  • 16 to work in logging operations and on construction projects.
Safety measures:Are measures in place to prevent workplace injuries?
For example:
  • Safe practices to prevent ergonomic and musculoskeletal injuries.
  • Procedures for specific equipment such as using guarding devices on machinery, the safe use of lifting devices and the use of personal protective equipment.
The Ministry of Labour states that all workers have a right to come home each day to their families, safe and sound. Though young and new workers may only be with your company for a short time, the lessons and best practices taught now will stay with them throughout their career.

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