A Shift in Perspective: How Health and Safety Impacts Human Resource Management
Written by Jennifer Miller | Curriculum Development Coordinator
A Brief History of the Human Resource Management Movement
In the early 1900s, Human Resource Management (HRM) played a minor or non-existent role in most workplaces. Primary duties of HRM staff were clerical, and may have included hiring and terminating and/or benefits administration. Thirty years later, at the conclusion of the Great Depression, laws were passed to ensure minimum wages, employment insurance, and the right to belong to unions. As a direct result, legal compliance became a major focus of HRM.
Government passed more legislation that affected human rights, wages and benefits, working conditions, and health and safety in the 1970s and 80s. Due to such legislation and the increased focus on enforcement and penalties for non-compliance, HRM started to evolve yet again. In fact, this is the period when the term “Human Resources” gained traction. The role of HRM in companies expanded significantly, and was no longer a simplistic clerical function. It continued to support recruitment and training, payroll, and compensation and benefits, but for the first time HRM roles expanded to include health and safety program administration, strategic planning, and change management.
The Evolution of HRM Continues…
Currently, HRM is in a shifting paradigm. This means that through history, there were distinctive phases that HRM went through to arrive where it stands today. Changes do not happen overnight. That is certainly the case for the changes that HRM has undergone since the early 1900s. HRM is undergoing a large-scale shift currently. It is moving from a somewhat narrowly defined role to a diverse field that encompasses everything from clerical functions to helping companies achieve objectives through a comprehensive human capital strategies.
What does this mean for HRM?
It’s expected that the shift in the HRM paradigm will continue into the 2020s. The driving forces behind the change include changing technology and changing attitudes toward talent retention. Another major factor in the change is emphasis being place on succession planning. With so many CEOs, Presidents, and other major players in companies and corporations approaching retirement age, the focus on succession planning to ensure smooth transitions has taken great importance in the role of the HR professional.
Another very significant driving force behind the shifting paradigm within HR is that the rules have changed. Amid corporate scandals and millions of dollars in misappropriated funds, new laws and compliance standards were introduced. In addition, health and safety legislation is always continuing to change and evolve. Keeping abreast of changes in health and safety legislation is a key component of HRM administration, but not the only part. Health and Safety legislation also requires that training records are adequately maintained, and that program administrators are familiar with what laws apply to them. This can be tricky because health and safety legislation differs between jurisdictions, and not all businesses are covered by provincial legislation. It’s necessary for HR professionals to know what legislation applies to their workplace, and then to further understand how to operate within compliance of that legislation.
What does this mean for Health and Safety?
Health and Safety initiatives are part of a strategic approach to HRM. No longer just a “thing” that companies have to comply with, health and safety is being used as part of a company’s overall strategy for talent retention, overall objectives, and loss-time prevention.
Consider the benefits of loss-time prevention: the most obvious benefit is to the bottom line. Healthy employees are productive employees, and productive employees have very positive effects on the company’s bottom line. When employees start to feel that their work is unsafe or that their employers does not care about their health or well-being, productivity may start to slip. Witnessing injuries, or having to cover jobs while other workers are out injured can also impact productivity; as well as morale and retention.
Investment in health and safety programs, including disability management, proactive health and wellness programs, preventative measures, and a sound on-boarding and training program, produces quantifiable bottom-line returns. By using health and safety to prevent loss-times injuries and keep productivity at a premium, companies are using health and safety programs to help achieve overall goals and objectives.
Not only can health and safety be a part of a company’s overall success strategy, but it can also be used as a tool for talent retention. Employee health, safety, and wellness management are important determinants of employee perceptions regarding fair treatment by the organization. In fact, a bountiful and comprehensive wellness program can be a powerful incentive for new talent to strive to work for your company, as well as a strong retention tool. Health, safety, and wellness programs can include anything from training and education opportunities, subsidized gym memberships, nutrition counselling, and/or an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). What is included in a health and wellness program is limited only by the imagination (and funding) of the organization.
This means that health and safety is in a shifting paradigm too. No longer just something companies do to remain compliant and avoid tickets or fines, health and safety is impacting the role of HRM ins a company’s overall strategy in a major way. HR professionals can’t get away with having little to no health and safety knowledge. In evidence, the Human Resources Professional’s Association in Ontario requires successful completion of an entire competency in health and safety legislation and program administration before CHRP hopefuls can write their National Knowledge Exams.
How will this Evolving Relationship Look in the Future?
The future is bright for health and safety and HRM. As each field continues to evolve, so to do they continue to grow together to form one cohesive ideology that promotes employee wellness and company achievement.
Trends indicate that in the future Human Resource Professionals will be more focused on health, safety, and wellness than ever before. They will be seeking creative solutions to reduce job stress, and prevent lost-time claims that are resultant from burnout, stress-related illnesses, or for first responders; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Benefit plan administrators are also taking a proactive approach to health and safety, offering many preventative programs to stave off health problems that may result in lost-time claims down the road, such as nutrition counselling, smoking cessation programs, and EAPs to help employees deal with a range of issues from work-related problems to marriage troubles to drug/alcohol, or gambling addictions.
With the rise of Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs), ergonomics is now becoming an active focus for HR professionals who administer health and safety programs.
The most significant trend in current health and safety is the focus and introduction of legislation that aims to protect workers from workplace violence, harassment, sexual violence, and/or sexual harassment. In conjunction with legislation, HR professionals are putting an emphasis on protecting workers, and helping workers who may have experienced any form of violence and/or harassment at work. The law mandates that all workplaces must have a policy and a program to support the policy in place to protect workers, and it falls to many HR professionals who look after health and safety to administer this program as well.
Now more than ever, HRM and health and safety are being integrated. That is why it’s becoming more urgent that HR professionals have a sound and working knowledge of health and safety principles, program administration, and legislation. It is beneficial to everyone – the company as a whole, the HR professionals, and the workers!
The MOL’s Power Under the Occupational Health & Safety Act
Written by Tushar Anandasagar | Associate Lawyer at LeClair and Associates
There have been several moderate to severe workplace accidents reported recently by the media. Last month alone, there were reports of two work-related fatalities involving Ontario-based companies and several “serious” or “critical” injury cases.
In response to such incidents, the Ministry of Labour (“MOL”) has openly stated it is engaging in an extended campaign of industry-specific “blitzes” which will continue throughout 2017. These blitzes involve a substantial increase in random health and safety inspections and OHSA compliance checks.
This article will serve as a review of the broad and sweeping investigative, deterrent and punitive powers granted to the MOL under the OHSA. These powers differ significantly from those afforded to other regulatory bodies, and in some respects, surpass powers granted to police and other law enforcement officials.
Part VIII of the OHSA – Enforcement
The MOL’s mandate is to ensure compliance with the OHSA. To further this mandate, the MOL is granted substantial administrative powers under the OHSA. These include the issuance of compliance orders, administrative orders, and where appropriate, the power to initiate regulatory prosecution (leading to monetary and other penalties) of persons or companies. Persons charged with offences under the OHSA are prosecuted under the Provincial Offences Act (“POA”).
Sections 54 – 56.1 of the OHSA – Powers of Inspectors
Health and Safety Inspectors are the MOL’s front line officers, acting as a liaison between the Director of the MOL and workplace parties. Inspectors are typically appointed as Provincial Offences Officers under the POA.
Conducting Workplace Investigations
Inspectors can conduct workplace investigations, at random and without notice, on a discretionary basis to ensure compliance with the OHSA. Inspectors’ investigatory powers include:
- The power to enter workplaces without a warrant or notice;
- The power to question any person, either privately or in the presence of another person, to further a workplace investigation;
The right to handle, use, and test workplace machinery, equipment, materials or agents (including samples);
- The power to take possession of and remove from the workplace any documents or records and make copies of them (the Inspector must provide a receipt for removed documents and return them promptly after making copies);
- The right to photograph any part of the workplace;
- The power to require that any part of the workplace be left undisturbed for a “reasonable period of time” in order to conduct an investigation, examination or test;
- The right to perform any tests or demonstrations of equipment, including making workplace parties operate the devices/processes in question;
- The right to review any materials pertaining to a worker health and safety training program, or be allowed to attend at training programs as an observer;
- The power to direct a Health and Safety Representative, or Joint Health and Safety Committee (“JHSC”) member, to conduct mandatory inspections at specified intervals;
- The right to require, at the employer’s expense, an expert to test and provide a report regarding equipment, machinery, materials, agents, processes, etc.
- The power to require, at the employer’s expense, a professional engineer to test (and if necessary stop the use of) any equipment or machinery and verify that they are not likely to endanger a worker;
- The power to require an owner, constructor or employer to provide, at the employer’s expense, a report from a professional engineer that assesses the structural soundness of a workplace;
- The power to conduct a post-incident investigation of critical injuries, fatalities, work refusals and health and safety complaints, at any time.
Hindering, obstructing, molesting or interfering with a workplace investigation is considered an “offense” under the OHSA. The OHSA requires every workplace party to assist an Inspector in the exercise of their powers and duties. Every person in the workplace must cooperate with the Inspector.
If a workplace party is found to have breached the OHSA, an Inspector has the discretion to issue a written order to comply with the law within a specified time period, or, if there is an imminent hazard, comply immediately or stop work altogether. The following are common types of Inspector’s orders:
“Stop Work” Orders
An Inspector may order that any place, equipment, machinery, material, process, etc. not be used until it has been declared safe;
That work (production, etc.) be stopped until the stop work order is cancelled or withdrawn by the Inspector;
The workplace be cleared of workers and access prevented until the workplace is safe; and
That any hazardous material not be used.
After a Stop Work Order has been issued, an employer is only authorized to resume work or the use of equipment before a further inspection if both of the following conditions have been met:
a. The employer has notified the Inspector that the order has been complied with; and b. A JHSC committee member (worker representative) or health and safety representative advises the Inspector that, in his/her opinion, the Stop Work order has been complied with.
Inspectors have broad discretion under the OHSA to ensure compliance with the statute and its Regulations. Compliance orders can cover practically any subject, rule or obligation set out under the OHSA and its Regulations. Accordingly, compliance orders can relate to training requirements, failure to use Personal Protective Equipment, posting and reporting obligations, etc.. The subject matter of compliance orders, including the appropriate remedial steps required to ensure compliance with the OHSA, often vary on a case-by-case basis.
Employer Posting Obligations
Any time an Inspector issues an order or a report of an inspection, a copy of the order or report must be “posted” in the workplace where it is most likely to be seen by workers. A copy of the order must also be provided to the JHSC or health and safety representative.
Appeals of Orders
Where a person/entity that is aggrieved by an Inspector’s order feels that it is incorrect, they can appeal (within 30 days of the issuance of the order), to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (“OLRB”).
Prosecution, Offences and Penalties
One of the most significant deterrents against non-compliance with the OHSA is the power of an Inspector to initiate a prosecution under the POA. An Inspector may initiate a prosecution when he/she has “reasonable and probable grounds” to believe that a workplace party has committed an “offence” under the OHSA. A workplace prosecution may be initiated against any workplace party – employer, employee, supervisor, etc.
Prosecutions under the POA are “provincial offences”, under which a court may impose a fine and/or jail term against an individual defendant.
- Maximum penalties for individuals convicted of an offence are $25,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months, per charge.
- The maximum fine that can be imposed on a corporation convicted of an offence is $500,000, per charge.
Inspectors may issue several charges because of the same accident if the circumstances warrant them doing so. Thus, one person or company can face several charges for a single “act” which “breaches” the OHSA, facing exposure to substantial fines and/or imprisonment.
Recent Penalties/Prosecutions (2017)
- Mississauga: A roofing company was fined $57,000 after a worker fell through a roof and was seriously injured.
- Grimsby: A builder was fined a total of $20,000 after the collapse of a construction project.
- Whitby: A security services company was fined $70,000 for failing to meet Bill 132 and Bill 168 Training Requirements.
- Mississauga: A logistics company was fined $70,000 when a worker was seriously injured after being pulled into a moving conveyor belt.
- Newmarket: A window and door manufacturer was fined $150,000 after a worker was killed and another injured.
- Timmins: A mining, and paving company was fined a total of $95,000 after a worker injury.
- Kitchener: An injury to a worker at wastewater plant resulted in an $85,000 fine.
- Peterborough: An employer was fined $105,000 after a worker was killed by an excavator.
Employers often find out about the breadth of the MOL’s powers after it is too late – when they are facing hefty penalties and/or prosecution. Further, employers must recognize that failure to cooperate with MOL Inspectors can only harm an employer’s chances at minimizing a potential penalty. Finally, this article should serve as a reminder that compliance with all applicable aspects of the OHSA and its Regulations is mandatory, not optional. Considering the MOL’s renewed commitment to “blitz” companies across the province with Inspections, ensuring compliance with the OHSA should be a top priority for all employers.
Tushar Anandasagar is an associate lawyer at LeClair and Associates P.C. He specializes in Labour and Employment law, with a focus on Workplace Policy Development and Regulatory Compliance.
Anatomy of a Tragedy: The Key Largo, Florida Incident
Written by Jeff Thorne | Manager of Training and Consulting
Twitter, news outlets, and newspaper headlines, were resoundingly similar in wake of the tragedy that befell 4 individuals in Key Largo Florida on January 16th 2017.
They read “1 critically injured and 3 construction workers dead after drainage work accident”, “Three Florida construction workers killed on the job”, “Three dead while working in a trench in Key Largo Monday morning”. This has got to stop. These were three senseless, preventable tragedies. Three men leaving families and loved ones behind, performing on the surface, what seemed to be a routine task.
24-year-old Robert Wilson, 49-year-old Louis O’Keefe, and 34-year-old Elway Gray had been sent out to respond to reports of a sewage backup in the neighborhood. They noticed a dip in the newly paved road and removed a nearby manhole cover to investigate what may be causing the dip. The first man went down, there was no response. Concerned for their co-workers well-being, anxious, adrenaline pumping, heart pounding, another worker entered the 15 foot deep hole, and then another. There was silence.
All three men had succumbed to the deadly levels of hydrogen sulphide and methane that were present in the confined space. Without following proper confined space entry-protocols, none of them ever had a chance. The reported cause of the atmospheric hazard was a year long build-up of rotten vegetation at the bottom of a drainage ditch.
There were complaints from people in the neighbourhood regarding a continuous smell of rotten eggs or a sulfur type smell, for close to a year. A tell tale sign of the presence of methane or hydrogen sulphide.
Rescue services arrived, and based on the small size of the manhole opening, the volunteer firefighter, Leonardo Moreno, made a decision to enter the space without an air supply. This costly decision resulted in Moreno immediately losing consciousness. He was rescued by another firefighter who was equipped with the proper breathing apparatus and Moreno was airlifted to a nearby hospital where he remains in critical condition.
So here we have three fatalities, a volunteer fire fighter in critical condition, Monroe county detectives, and U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) inspectors investigating this incident.
These three workers worked for an organization that, as stated by the Miami Herald “had been previously cited BY OSHA for not implementing a confined space program, lack of atmospheric testing, not posting an entry permit, lack of a proper rescue plan, and not having rescue services or equipment available on site.”
Confined spaces can be some of the most dangerous workspaces found in our workplaces. In Canada, the definition of a confined space varies slightly from province to province but typically has two main components:
A space that is not designed or intended for human occupancy, AND a space that has an atmospheric hazard (oxygen deficiency or enrichment, flammable or explosive, toxic) based on the construction, work performed, or contents in the space that can result in adverse or harmful effects to the worker.
When a confined space is present, legislation across Canada is fairly clear as to the obligations placed upon the employer. Once a confined space has been identified, employers must ensure the hazards of the space are assessed and that the assessment takes into place any hazards that may be created based on the work performed in or around the space.
Based on the hazard assessment, a written entry plan to control identified hazards must be developed. The plan should take into account some of the key elements to a successful entry; duties of workers, ventilation and purging, atmospheric testing, methods of communication, on-site rescue procedures, personal protective equipment, and procedures for working in the presence of flammable or explosive materials.
The elements of the plan should be incorporated into an entry permit that has been reviewed by entrants, attendants, and signed off by a competent supervisor or someone that is in control of the entry. Everyone needs to be trained on the contents of the plan to ensure the entry will be a safe one.
What occurred in Key Largo Florida in January was tragic, believe me when I tell you this, it was preventable. Conducting atmospheric testing would have identified the oxygen deficient environment, and these workers, with the proper knowledge and training, would not have entered this space.
These workers and their families deserved more.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Among First Responders
Written by Jenna Kressler | Curriculum Developer
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness that some individuals develop after experiencing a frightening, shocking, dangerous, or overwhelming event. Individuals with PTSD may have experienced the traumatic event by witnessing it or being directly involved. Traumatic events can range from a death or threat of death, natural disasters, war, accidents, sexual violence, crimes, etc.
Trauma is generally unexpected. Being fearful or afraid at the time of the event and post-event is expected. Fear triggers the fight-or-flight response, which is the body’s instinct to defend against danger or to avoid it. Many individuals who have PTSD endure invasive symptoms that range from vivid nightmares or flashbacks, feeling anxious and irritable, difficulty concentrating, and / or lack of sleep or not sleeping well. Moods and thoughts may alter after experiencing a traumatic event that can create a disconnect to an individual and their body or suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide. This often leads to individuals abusing drugs and alcohol to help cope with PTSD.
In April 2016, the Ministry of Labour announced the Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act, that presumes PTSD diagnosed in first responders is work-related. First responders no longer need to prove their PTSD is because of work when making claims. First responders are twice as likely to suffer from PTSD compared to the general population due to the nature of their job. The First Responders Act enables first responders to have faster access to WSIB benefits, resources, and timely treatment.
The first responders covered under the PTSD presumption include:
- Police, including First Nations constables, and chiefs of police
- Firefighters (including part-time and volunteer firefighters), including those who are employed or who volunteer to provide fire protection services on a reserve; fire investigators, and fire chiefs
- Paramedics and emergency medical attendants, and ambulance service managers
- Workers involved in dispatching emergency services, including workers who play a role in the chain of communications which lead up to the dispatch for ambulance services, firefighters, and police
- Correctional officers/youth services workers (including managers) and workers who provide direct health care services in adult institutional corrections and secure youth justice facilities
- Members of emergency response teams dispatched by a communications officer
This Act enables employers to develop and implement a prevention plan to take a proactive approach in reducing PTSD in first responders by providing strategies for managing PTSD. Plans should include sections on prevention, intervention, recovery, and return-to-work.
Employers of workers covered under the PTSD presumption are directed to provide the Minister of Labour with information on their workplace post-traumatic stress disorder prevention plans by April 23, 2017.
On The Road to Success
Recently, York Region Paramedic Services have been highlighted in the news regarding their proactive approach to assisting team members in reducing and coping with PTSD and other mental health illnesses. Their program includes a 20-member peer support team that is trained in psychological first aid and works 12-hour shifts to check on their coworkers.
The peer support program was implemented back in November 2015 and more than 10,000 contacts were made between the peer support team and paramedics in the field within the first year. York Region Paramedic Services have noticed a shift in exposure injuries since the program has been implemented from physical injuries to occupational stress injuries. Paramedic and peer support team member, David Whitley, who has also experienced PTSD, reported that this initiative is working and helping.
With the success of this program, York Region Paramedic Services have released a new initiative to help paramedics return-to-work after being on mental health leave. With another fully equipped truck for this task force, the peer support member will ride along with another paramedic.
This initiative has been noted as one of the first in the country and so far, it seems to be making a positive impact for York Paramedic Services.
BE A LEADER
Tanya True & Larry Crangle
Written by Jennifer Miller | Curriculum Development Coordinator
At OSG, all of our staff are Health and Safety Leaders. This month, we are featuring two outstanding leaders: Tanya True and Larry Crangle.
Tanya is one of OSG’s Client Relationship Managers, whose professional goal is to answer client questions in a timely manner and ensure that her clients always feel valued. Tanya has been working for OSG for almost four years in the Customer Relationship Department, and she continues to develop her health and safety knowledge to better server her customers. Originally from Montreal, Tanya uses her bilingual language skills to reach out to even more clients. She is OSG’s resident French-language expert. Outside of OSG, Tanya is passionate about her family, often spending evenings and weekends driving her kids to various activities, including dance, gymnastics, swimming, and skating. She enjoys cooking, and her world-famous homemade meatballs are beloved by her coworkers. “Understand the risks involved in every task you do.” -Tanya True Larry is one of OSG’s health and safety trainers, and he has been with the company for nine years. Known by his peers as Professor Larry, his passion for health and safety education is contagious between both coworkers and clients. Larry views his primary responsibility as a trainer as passing his knowledge to others via what he has learned through his own life experiences. Larry enjoys spreading the message of safety, and he intends to keep doing it as long as he can! An interesting fact about Larry is that he was alive, and witnessed, the last time the Leafs won the Stanley Cup. He remains confident that they will win it again. When he is not training health and safety, Larry participates in raptor birding, which is a form of wildlife observation that focuses specifically on birds of prey. “The key concept for committee members to understand is: assist & advise, not direct & decide.”
Tanya is one of OSG’s Client Relationship Managers, whose professional goal is to answer client questions in a timely manner and ensure that her clients always feel valued. Tanya has been working for OSG for almost four years in the Customer Relationship Department, and she continues to develop her health and safety knowledge to better server her customers. Originally from Montreal, Tanya uses her bilingual language skills to reach out to even more clients. She is OSG’s resident French-language expert. Outside of OSG, Tanya is passionate about her family, often spending evenings and weekends driving her kids to various activities, including dance, gymnastics, swimming, and skating. She enjoys cooking, and her world-famous homemade meatballs are beloved by her coworkers.
“Understand the risks involved in every task you do.”
Larry is one of OSG’s health and safety trainers, and he has been with the company for nine years. Known by his peers as Professor Larry, his passion for health and safety education is contagious between both coworkers and clients. Larry views his primary responsibility as a trainer as passing his knowledge to others via what he has learned through his own life experiences. Larry enjoys spreading the message of safety, and he intends to keep doing it as long as he can! An interesting fact about Larry is that he was alive, and witnessed, the last time the Leafs won the Stanley Cup. He remains confident that they will win it again. When he is not training health and safety, Larry participates in raptor birding, which is a form of wildlife observation that focuses specifically on birds of prey.
“The key concept for committee members to understand is: assist & advise, not direct & decide.”
Next time you are in OSG’s London office, say hello to Tanya or Larry. They are OSG Safety Leaders who embody safety culture in the workplace.
Health & Safety for HR Professionals
Written by Sharon Thornton | Sales Manager
OSG has worked with many Human Resource professionals over the years, recognizing the health and safety challenges HR professionals are facing. This course is designed to address those challenges, and provide guidance on how to successfully implement and evaluate health and safety. This course is designed as a workshop. Learners will be able to apply knowledge gained through real workplace scenarios, exercises, and case studies during the three-day course.
Overall Program Outcomes
- Explain and apply a system mentality
- Discuss the importance of having a safety system
- Identify and monitor key health and safety program gaps
- Create action plans for improvement
- Utilize tools to evaluate the success of your program
This course is available twice during May 2017 and spots are limited! Learn more and book your training today!
Young Workers in the Workplace
Written by Jennifer Miller | Curriculum Development Coordinator
Young workers are typically between the ages of 14-25. Many of them are students on summer break, eager to make some cash over the summer, gain some experience, and make a few memories along the way.
Sadly, young workers are at staggering disadvantage: they are three times more likely than other workers to be injured or killed within the first month of employment.
Between 2011 and 2015, 33 young workers aged 15-24 died in work-related incidents. They were somebody’s sons. Somebody’s daughters. Somebody’s brother, sister, or friend. They were, and will continue to be, fiercely missed every single day by their families, loved ones, and friends
What is the Ministry of Labour Doing to Protect Young Workers?
Between July 18 and September 2, 2016, the Ontario Ministry of Labour conducted an enforcement blitz in industrial sectors that are known to hire young and new workers. The summarized goals of the blitz were as follows:
- To ensure that young and new workers were made aware of hazards
- To raise awareness about rights and responsibilities of all workers
- To encourage employers to recognize and controls hazards
- To address, remedy, or deter non-compliance with the Act
- To promote improved health and safety for young and new workers
The results of the blitz were released and in the course of 1144 visits to 905 workplaces, 3113 orders were issued – an astounding 44 of which were stop work orders. The three most frequent orders involved employer failure to post a copy of the Act, failure to maintain equipment in good working order, and failure to take reasonable precautions for worker safety. There were no orders issued for employing workers under the legal age.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour will continue to take steps to ensure the safety of young workers. Their intent is to save lives and ensure that all sons and daughters make it home, every night. The MOL work in partnership with the employer to achieve this goal.
What Can Employers do to Help?
The Ministry of Labour is doing its part to protect young workers, but it is not just up to them. Employers and young workers themselves must also do their part to work safe. In order to be an active participant in the health and safety of young workers, employers should consider the following when hiring young and new workers:
- Ensure student workers receive proper orientation, job-specific training, and general health and safety awareness training.
All new workers should receive orientation training as part of the hiring process. Orientation training should include general health and safety awareness and outline job-specific hazards. Additionally, specific training for new job tasks, machinery, or hazardous materials needs to be provided. You may even consider a mentorship program – it’s beneficial for both mentor and mentee!
2. Ensure that you are well informed about minimum wages, student wages, and appropriate pay legislation in your province.
Provincial minimum wages vary, as does other pay legislation. As an employer, knowing what legislation applies to you, and then following it, is an important part of ensuring young worker safety.
3. Be aware of different minimum age requirements in different industries and jurisdictions.
As with wages, every province has different legislation with regard to minimum working age requirements, especially in higher risk sectors such as, construction, shipping and receiving, and in establishments where alcohol is served and consumed.
What can Young Workers do to Help?
Young workers also play a role in their safety, and it is important that they know they have the right to participate, the right to know, and the right to refuse unsafe work under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations. This message needs to be part of orientation training for all new hires. There are ways that young workers can participate in their own safety:
- Ask questions
- Ask for training
- Ask for help if you aren’t sure
- Seek clarification on instructions if required
- Wear supplied PPE, as instructed
- Don’t take short cuts
- Don’t use equipment you’ve never operated before without training
- Exercise your rights without fear of reprisal
For more information on how health and safety and training and education can prevent injury and illness in the workplace, please call us at 800.815-8890 to talk to one of our Health & Safety reps or view our health and safety courses now!
Health & Safety in the News
Researched by Jeff Thorne | Manager of Training and Consulting
Upcoming Ministry of Labour Blitzes
Researched by Jeff Thorne | Manager of Training and Consulting
Health & Safety – Western Ontario, Farm Elevating Platforms Sector
Oct. 1st, 2016 – Mar. 31st, 2017
Health & Safety – Central Ontario, Landscapers & Snow removal
Nov. 1st, 2016 – Mar. 31st, 2017
Safe Work Practices – Mining Sector
Feb. 1st, 2017 – Mar. 31st, 2017
Upcoming Health & Safety Events
Provided by Nick Hollinger | Marketing Coordinator
The Partners in Prevention Annual Conference and Trade Show is Canada’s largest health and safety event. OSG is proud to announce that we will be exhibiting at the 2017 Trade Show on May 2nd & 3rd in Mississauga! This is surely an event you do not want to miss, use our complimentary trade show pass now!Trade Show Pass
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