Staying safe for new starters

Occupational Health and Safety inductions are an important part of any organisation’s obligations to ensure employees have the necessary training to carry out their work safely.

Inductions are particularly important for new employees or contractors, who have a higher risk of injury than other staff due to their lack of familiarity of the workplace and its policies and procedures.

Ideally, an OSH induction should be delivered to all employees, contractors, volunteers, work experience students and graduates before they start performing duties in the job.

As an employer, you have a duty of care to ensure the workplace you provide for staff is safe, so staff should understand your OSH policies and procedures, which should be in an OSH handbook or online.

It’s also important to emphasise the importance of sticking to safe work practices. Make sure new starters understand their responsibility to drive down the number of incidents and accidents by managing their own safety as well as the safety of others.

Employees should have a clear understanding about who they need to report OSH issues to, such as safety and health representatives, OSH officer or manager.

If a new starter will be undertaking high-risk work – such as machinery operation, working at height or work involving chemicals or hazardous substances – the company needs to ensure workers are properly trained and understand safe work procedures and associated risks. They also need to be issued with (and instructed on how to use) appropriate protective equipment.

The OSH induction should also inform new starters about how to report an accident, incident or near miss. Identification of first aid officers is also important.

Description of the company’s emergency and evacuation procedures is a key element in OSH induction. This should include emergency exits, fire wardens, muster or assembly points, use of fire equipment and other emergency contacts.

Inform new employees about on-site rules, such as smoking, appropriate conduct, mobile phone usage and vehicle speed limits. This will ensure expectations on behaviour are clear from the outset.

When induction is complete, it is recommended new starters confirm they understood the training. This may be a signature on an induction confirmation form, or completion of a simple questionnaire that assess the new starter’s level of understanding.

Record keeping of all work health and safety training is very important to demonstrate a company’s duty of care obligations in regard to provision of training.

Remember that OSH training must be ongoing to minimise accidents and incidents and keep all staff up to date with the company’s safety systems.

Have a question about safety in your business? Contact CCI’s Safety and Risk Services team today on (08) 9365 7415 or email [email protected].

►Think it’s time to take a fresh look at safety in your business? Register for CCI’s Safety Representatives Refresher course today.

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