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Safety 101 for new starters

By Beatrice Thomas

Work Health and Safety (WHS) 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.

CCIWA Work Health and Safety Practitioner Matt Butterworth outlines a WHS checklist for inductions.

WHS policies and procedures

As an employer, you have a duty of care to ensure your workplace is safe. A key aspect of this is making sure your staff understand your WHS policies and procedures. These may be contained either in a WHS Handbook or online.

It is 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.

Reporting WHS issues 

Does your company have safety and health representatives? Do you have a WHS officer or manager?

Your employees should have a clear understanding about who they need to report to with WHS issues.

High-risk work

If a new starter will be undertaking high-risk work, such as machinery operation, working at height or work involving chemicals or hazardous substances, then you must ensure they are properly trained and understand safe-work procedures and any associated risks.

They also need to be issued with (and instructed on how to use) appropriate protective equipment.

Accident and incident reporting

Similar to the procedures for reporting WHS issues, the WHS induction should also inform new starters about how to report an accident, incident or near miss. Identification of first aid officers is also important.

Emergency procedures

A description of your emergency and evacuation procedures is a key element in a WHS induction.

This should include emergency exits, fire wardens, muster or assembly points, first aid kits and first aid officers, use of fire equipment and other emergency contacts.

Site rules

Inform your 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 the induction is complete, it is recommended new starters confirm that they understood the training. This may be a signature on an induction confirmation form, or completion of a simple questionnaire that assesses 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 regards to the provision of training.

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

For tailored advice contact CCIWA's Workplace Health and Safety team at osh@cciwa.com or our Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660. 

To participate in CCIWA's training courses on WHS, visit our training website.

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