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Issued July 26, 2007; Revised July 9, 2009
Section 3.23 (Young or new worker orientation and training) of the OHS Regulation ("Regulation") states:
3.23 Young or new worker orientation and training
(1) An employer must ensure that before a young or new worker begins work in a workplace, the young or new worker is given health and safety orientation and training specific to that young or new worker's workplace.
(2) The following topics must be included in the young or new worker's orientation and training:
(a) the name and contact information for the young or new worker's supervisor;
(b) the employer's and young or new worker's rights and responsibilities under the Workers Compensation Act and this Regulation including the reporting of unsafe conditions and the right to refuse to perform unsafe work;
(c) workplace health and safety rules;
(d) hazards to which the young or new worker may be exposed, including risks from robbery, assault or confrontation;
(e) working alone or in isolation;
(f) violence in the workplace;
(g) personal protective equipment;
(h) location of first aid facilities and means of summoning first aid and reporting illnesses and injuries;
(i) emergency procedures;
(j) instruction and demonstration of the young or new worker's work task or work process;
(k) the employer's health and safety program, if required under section 3.1 of this Regulation;
(l) WHMIS information requirements set out in Part 5, as applicable to the young or new worker's workplace;
(m) contact information for the occupational health and safety committee or the worker health and safety representative, as applicable to the workplace.
Purpose of guideline
This guideline is to assist employers and workers in implementing the requirements of s. 3.23. It provides information on
The guideline also provides an overview of age-related requirements regarding children in the workplace under the BC Employment Standards Act, for information only, should this issue arise at a workplace.
Objectives of the orientation topics
Under section 3.23 employers will be required to provide young and new workers with orientation and training about safe work procedures and how to recognize hazards on the job. It lists a number of topics that must be addressed.
In many workplaces some of the requirements in section 3.23 will already be in place as part of the general safety measures in the workplace. To conduct proper orientation, the topics must be provided to young and new workers.
There may be topics beyond those listed in section 3.23 that an employer would wish to include in the orientation. The Regulation sets a minimum standard, which employers may exceed. In some cases, one or more of the topics may not be applicable in a given workplace and would not need to be included.
In the discussion below any reference to "worker" means "young or new worker."
(a) Name and contact information for the worker's supervisor
The worker must know the identity of the individual(s) responsible for providing work direction to him/her, and how to contact him/her if they are not immediately available. This can be particularly helpful to ensure any ongoing questions in the early period of time on the job are addressed.
(b) The employer's and worker's rights and responsibilities
The worker must be informed about his/her rights and responsibilities and those of the employer under the Workers Compensation Act ("Act") and the Regulation. For example, the worker has the right to be informed about workplace hazards (including WHMIS), the duty to report hazards, the duty to refuse unsafe work, and the right to participate in workplace health and safety activities. The worker should also be advised of the protection from discrimination provisions in the Act, and provisions related to first aid and reporting any injuries and diseases.
(c) Workplace health and safety rules
The worker must be trained in the workplace health and safety rules applicable to the workplace and the tasks the worker will perform. The rules are expected to address any hazards that the worker may encounter, including various types of controls, such as work procedures, use of personal protective equipment, and the safe means of operating equipment.
(d) Hazards to which the worker may be exposed
The worker must be informed about the hazards he/she could encounter while performing assigned work tasks. Depending on the work setting, these hazards may be physical in nature and involve a risk of injury, or may pose a risk of disease (e.g. when handling a hazardous substance). If a worker is in a location that involves contact with the public, the employer must advise of any risks that may arise, including, as applicable, abusive behaviour, robbery, assault, or other possible confrontation.
(e) Working alone or in isolation
If the worker is assigned to work alone or in isolation, the worker must be trained in the policies and procedures to be followed. Under the requirements of the Regulation the employer must set up a system for checking on the well being of the worker. When establishing the system, the employer must consult with the worker on the time intervals to be used. In some cases working alone is linked to a potential for violence in the workplace.
(f) Violence in the workplace
The worker must be provided with orientation and training on the policies and procedures to be followed in the event of violence in the workplace. The worker should be advised of the meaning of the term "violence," which includes any threatening statement or behaviour, and the circumstances in the workplace where a risk of violence may be present. The worker should be trained in the procedures to follow to eliminate or minimize any risk in such situations, for example, when handling money, and opening or closing the business. He/she should also be trained in the steps to take to eliminate or minimize the risk of injury to the worker in the event of an incident.
In part, this topic is already covered under topics (c), (d), and (e). However, instruction in this topic will ensure that the worker is given an understanding of the overall measures in the workplace for protection from violence.
(g) Personal protective equipment (PPE)
The worker must be provided with appropriate orientation and training in the use and care of any personal protective equipment or clothing that the worker is required to use to safely perform his/her work. This is also a requirement under Part 8 of the Regulation, and will help the worker meet his or her obligations to use PPE properly.
(h) Location of first aid facilities, the means of summoning first aid, and reporting illnesses and injuries
The worker must be advised of the location of first aid facilities, the identity of the first aid attendant(s), and how to summon an attendant. This topic also covers the employer's obligation to inform the worker of the procedures to follow to report an illness or injury to WorkSafeBC.
(i) Emergency procedures
The worker must be advised of potential emergency situations that could occur in his/her work location, and trained in the procedures to follow. This topic is a companion to topic (h) on first aid, and addresses other aspects of emergency response, such as evacuation in the event of fire, or if hazardous substances are handled, how to contain a spill of the substance.
(j) Instruction and demonstration of the worker's work task or work process
The worker must be provided with both instruction and demonstration - not simply a verbal description - of work tasks that the worker will be required to perform when he/she begins work. Further training may be required as new tasks are assigned.
The demonstration should address the aspects of the work that will involve safety risks if not performed correctly. For example, if the worker will be operating a piece of mechanical equipment, the employer will need to ensure that all safety points are demonstrated, including the use of guarding and other safety devices, means of equipment startup, and how to follow safe operating procedures.
(k) The employer's occupational health and safety (OHS) program
Under this topic the employer is expected to provide an orientation to the OHS program in the workplace. If a program is required under section 3.1 of the Regulation the orientation would describe the program elements, which are outlined in section 3.3 of the Regulation, and how they are implemented. If, for a small workplace, the program is less formal, then the orientation would be on the elements of the program outlined in section 3.2.
(l) WHMIS information requirements, as applicable to the worker's workplace
This topic is intended to ensure the worker is provided with an orientation on the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), and its application to controlled products in the workplace. The orientation should explain the WHMIS hazard classes, and the use of WHMIS labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). In addition, there are four WHMIS objectives for training a worker in how to work safely with controlled products. Workers need to know the hazards of the products, how they can protect themselves, what to do in case of an emergency or spill, and where to get more information on the products. The first three of these will already be addressed under other topics such as (c), (d), (h), and (i). To address the fourth, typically workers will need to be informed of where MSDS are located or how they can be accessed if available electronically.
If there are hazardous products in the workplace not covered by WHMIS, the orientation under topics such as (c), (d), (h), and (i) should be given to address safety with those products.
(m) Contact information for the joint occupational health and safety (OHS) committee, or worker health and safety representative
If applicable, the employer must inform the worker on how to contact the joint OHS committee, or the worker health and safety representative.
Delivering the orientation
The employer must determine how to deliver the orientation and training to the worker. However, there are a number of options to consider.
In determining the right combination of generic and site-specific topics that will meet the requirements of section 3.23, the circumstances of each scenario need to be considered. By way of example, generic topics for workers under the above noted circumstances could include
Topics that will be specific to a site include
Generic instruction and orientation could be provided at a corporate or district level. In some cases workers could carry documentation as proof that they have received generic orientation for their respective occupation or trade. Generic orientation and training that includes an expiry date will help ensure that workers receive up-to-date information.
Where to get further information
Some examples of the various sources of information on orientation and training are
Children in the workplace
In British Columbia, the Employment Standards Act ("ESA") sets out age requirements for the employment of children. Specifically, the ESA requires that an employer may not hire a child under the age of 15 without the written consent of the child's parent or legal guardian. An employer may not employ a child under the age of 12 without the permission of the Director of Employment Standards, which is granted through a permit. The Employment Standards Regulation further sets out working conditions for children, including the requirement that a child may only work under the direct supervision of a person who is 19 years of age or older. The Employment Standards Regulation sets out separate conditions for children working in the entertainment industry, and excludes certain types of work, such as babysitting, from the above requirements.
A WorkSafeBC prevention officer, or any other person, who encounters a potential violation of the ESA or the Employment Standards Regulation should refer the matter to the Employment Standards Branch. Contact information for the regional Branch locations can be found at: http://www.labour.gov.bc.ca/esb/contact/welcome.htm.
Individuals seeking additional information may want to view the following fact sheets. These fact sheets have been developed by the Employment Standards Branch to outline conditions for the employment of children, the first aimed at parents and the second aimed at employers and the general public.