In this section, you will find the specific Occupational Health and Safety Regulation that governs young and new workers as defined by WorkSafeBC. You will be able to determine the impact of the Regulation — since regulatory guidelines and implementation policies will vary from sector to sector across many industries — by reading through the definitions to see which best suit your particular business. Remember that many of the young and new workers “guidelines” are just that, and do not necessarily meet all the compliance requirements.
Most employers know that it can be costly and time consuming to hire and train workers, especially if you’re running a small business. Once you’ve hired and trained your young or new workers, it pays to keep them safe and on the job.
THE NEED FOR EXTRA CARE
Young and new workers need special attention because they are at more risk of injury than their older or more experienced counterparts. The injury rate for young workers, especially young male workers, is much higher than that of the overall population.
In the past five years in British Columbia, more than 9,400 young workers in the tourism and hospitality industry suffered on-the-job injuries that were severe enough to keep them from working. The cost to the industry is staggering — almost $20 million and 170,000 days lost from work during that period.
THE KEY TO PROTECTING YOUR YOUNG AND NEW WORKERS
Teaching workplace health and safety is a key aspect of protecting young and new workers. They are particularly prone to on-the-job accidents — accidents that can sometimes result in life-long disabilities and, in some cases, even fatalities.
Employers have had these responsibilities before, but now the Regulation collects them in one place in clear, concise language.
DEFINITIONS FOR ORIENTATION AND TRAINING REQUIREMENTS FOR YOUNG AND NEW WORKERS
With that in mind, WorkSafeBC introduced amendments to Part 3 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation — which came into effect July 26, 2007 — describing orientation and training requirements for young and new workers.
In the Regulation, a “young” worker is defined as any worker who is under 25 years of age. A “new” worker is anyone who is: new to the workplace, returning to a workplace at which hazards in that workplace have changed, affected by a change in the hazards of a workplace, or relocated to a new workplace (if the hazards in that workplace are different from the hazards in the worker’s previous workplace).
YOUR OBLIGATION AS AN EMPLOYER UNDER THE REGULATION
Your company is unique, and the way in which you comply with this regulation may well vary from similar workplaces. It may also vary from job to job within your workplace.
The required orientation and training must address 13 subject areas. These include information on workplace heath and safety rules, hazards to which the worker may be exposed (including risks from robbery, assault, or confrontation), working alone, personal protective equipment, and violence in the workplace. The complete list of required topics may be accessed online from WorkSafeBC’s website.
Additional training must be provided if the employer detects that a young or new worker is unable to perform work tasks or work processes safely, or when the young or new worker requests additional training. As an employer, you must document all your orientation and training efforts.
Although training is vital, a single training session is not enough to ensure ongoing safety. You can decrease risk of injury in your workplace if you:
- Observe work activity to ensure that safe work practices are being followed consistently and correctly.
- Support positive behaviour when safe work practices have been used.
- Correct unsafe work practices when they are observed.
- Hold young workers accountable for not following safe work procedures.
- Reinforce safe work practices by periodically presenting safety talks or crew talks at the beginning of a shift.