Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS), the oldest and largest health and safety association in Ontario, is suggesting several “low- or no-cost” best practices that a small business owner can use to keep new and young workers safe.
—Getting on top of hazards that new and young workers may face before they start working. Check the processes and equipment these workers will be using for potential hazards, update safe work procedures, and tap into the experience of existing employees. Experienced workers often know of additional hazards and may have solutions to help control workplace risks.
—During orientation training, spend more time on how to do tasks safely, and less time on administration. “We encourage people to cover health and safety topics first, when employees’ attention is focused and they are best able to absorb new information,” said Kirsi Henry, a consultant with WSPS.
—Ensure everyone understands their health and safety rights and responsibilities. They’re the foundation of Ontario’s Internal Responsibility System, in which everyone in the workplace has a role to play in creating a safe and healthy workplace. A good first stop is the mandatory training for workers and supervisors, which is available online HERE. And it’s free.
—Use your time with new and young workers to integrate safety into the conversation. Reinforcing the value of safety during walk-throughs, coaching and staff meetings is a valuable and efficient way to help workers keep safety top of mind.
—Be a health and safety role model. “If you believe in health and safety and demonstrate it in everything that you do, employees will notice,” said Henry of the WSPS. “It’s human nature to mimic and model the culture in the workplace.”
The WSPS has a new website (www.wsps.ca/smallbusiness) that provides roadmaps for health and safety that are based on company size.