Orientation: Key to Young Worker Safety

“Great to have you on-board kid! I’ll show you around a little later but first we need your help to load up a truck. You see that ladder over there?….”

Remarkably, the above words can be the first words that young workers hear out of their bosses mouths. Hopefully, not the last.

One of the most important factors in launching an injury-free first job experience is a thorough job orientation with an emphasis on safety.  Every parent should be aware of the orientation program of their children’s new workplace.

Public Service Health & Safety Association (PSHSA) is an Ontario organization that caters to thousands of Ontario employees in the service sector. They believe that formal orientation provides awareness of workplace hazards, health and safety legislation and individual right and responsibilities. It also arms young workers with the knowledge and skills to work safely from day one, not to mention how to deal with the possibility of something going wrong.

The following are key areas that parents and adult influencers of young workers should know about their workplaces

General Orientation: Is your young worker receiving their first orientation and training before the actually start work? It is never too soon for them to have a clear understanding of the health and safety act, their basic rights as workers, the joint health and safety committee (if their workplace has one) and their safety representative. They should also know about reporting procedures, emergency response and even first aid.

Department Specific Orientation: This is the nitty gritty associated with what they will likely be doing every day; and what the hazards they may be facing. They need to be familiarized with these hazards and the correct and safe way to do their job must be demonstrated.

They need to understand WHMIS – Workplace Hazardous Information System – and to deal with chemicals in their workplaces.  There are numerous incidences of even office workers suffering chronic illnesses associated with the improper usage of seemingly harmless carpet cleaners because they were mixed with other chemicals. They also need to know how to report hazards and understand that they should only take on jobs for which they’ve been trained.

Suitable Work:Does your young worker understand that they should only do work that does not require specialized training? They need to have the confidence to speak out if for any reason they are unsure of a task they’ve been asked to take on.

By understanding all of the above, you can engage your children in meaningful dialogue about their job – possibly their first job – and help prepare them for what to expect as well as what they should expect from their employer.

For more information, please visit https://www.pshsa.ca/products/young-worker-orientation/

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