Guiding New and Young Workers to Safety

“Safe workers aren’t born. They’re taught.”

This, according to a New and Young Worker Employer Guide developed by Workplace Safety North (WSN).  The fact is, new and young workers in Ontario are four times more likely to be injured on the job on the first month on the job than at any other time. The guide is a resource used in workplaces and has information that would be valuable for every parent or adult influencer of a young or new worker starting a first job. Here are several areas it covers that may be of particular interest.

Shared responsibilities. It is important for young and new workers to understand that workplace safety is very much a shared responsibility.  They should expect their employers and supervisors to look out for the health and well-being of them and their co-workers but need to understand that they too have responsibilities.

Orientation.  Starting off on the right foot must include comprehensive orientation, especially in areas such as mining and forestry which require new workers show up on their first day prepared. Detailed information on shared responsibilities mentioned above along with understanding of workplace health and safety rules, safe work procedures and understanding hazards need comprehensive coverage.

Training.  While training is a huge part of any young worker’s experience when they start their jobs, it is not a finite process.  Training is ongoing and with it, the safety regimens that are inherent in the tasks associated with the training. And training is not a one step process. Following initial instruction, workers need to be shadowed to make sure they perform the task in the field effectively and are monitored on an ongoing basis.

Supervision. Your young worker needs to feel like their supervisor is available to answer questions and provide advice when it’s needed. Supervisors need to make sure young workers fully understand emergency procedures, demonstrate a commitment to health and safety and see that personal protective equipment is worn as needed and is used correctly.

Equipment. Extra attention must be given to ensure all equipment put in the hands of young workers in perfect working order. Why? Young and new workers would likely not be able to identify details like missing guarding or otherwise due to their lack of experience.  They must also be provided with properly fitted personal protective equipment (PPE) that is clean and in good working order. They have to make sure that young and new workers understand that PPE is the last line of defense and it is never forgotten regardless of circumstances. No job is so ‘rush’ that time isn’t taken to protect themselves in every way possible.

For more information and insight into your young and new worker’s workplace experience please visit


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