Staying safe for new starters
Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) 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 OHS induction should be delivered to all employees, contractors, volunteers, work experience students and graduates before they start performing duties in the job.
This checklist is a good starting point as to what the OHS induction should cover:
- OHS policies and procedures: As an employer, you have a duty of care to ensure the workplace you provide for staff is safe. A key aspect of this is making sure your staff understand your OHS policies and procedures. These may be contained either in an OHS 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.
- Who to report OHS issues: Does your company have safety and health representatives? Do you have an OHS officer or manager? Your employees should have a clear understanding about who they need to report OHS issues to.
- High-risk work: If the new starter will be undertaking high-risk work – such as machinery operation, working at height or work involving chemicals or hazardous substances – then the company needs to ensure the workers 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 OHS Issues, the OHS 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: Description of the company’s emergency and evacuation procedures is a key element in OHS 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 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 starters 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 OHS training must be ongoing to minimise accidents and incidents and keep all staff up to date with the company’s safety systems. Contact email@example.com for more information.