- What things should I know about health and safety before starting a new job?
- You have the right to go home in the same condition that you came to work.
- What should I ask at the interview?
- What should I ask the first day or before I'm assigned a new task?
- What things should I do to protect my employment rights before starting a new job?
|What things should I know about health and safety before starting a new job?
Health and safety looks like a complicated thing. There are experts in health and safety
and a lot of people who probably know more about it than you, but you are the one who
needs to have a game plan on how to keep yourself safe. You know yourself, you know how
to tell if things aren't right and you know what you don't know. You are the only
expert about you.
There is a lot of information around about your rights at work. In fact you
can find them on this site in the section on employment rights, and on health and safety rights, but one overall and most important right is missing from that list:
|You have the right to go home in the same condition that you came to work.
No job can compromise that right. No job is worth losing your finger, your eye, your arm or your life.
Let's look at two important phases of your new job:
- at the interview
- during orientation the first day or before you're assigned a new task while you're working.
|What should I ask at the interview?
While they are interviewing you to see if you're the
right person for the job, you should be assessing whether this is the kind of place you want to
work and the kind of people you want to work with. Many people are too nervous to assess the
company during the interview, but try to make it an opportunity to see whether they suit your
needs and you'll feel comfortable working there.
A few questions to ask if they don't bring up the topics.
- Will I receive job safety training? When will I get it?
- Will I be working with any chemicals? If I'm working with any chemicals, when will I get
hazardous materials training before I start to use the chemicals?
- Is there any safety gear that I'll be required to wear? Does the employer provide
the equipment? Will I receive training in how to wear it properly and make sure it's in good condition?
- Will I receive orientation to familiarize me with emergency procedures, first aid locations, etc.?
|What should I ask the first day or before I'm assigned a new task?
You have to be trained before you begin the work. Don't accept that they'll train you next Friday, when
you're starting to work on Monday.
These are some of the safety-related matters they should
cover during orientation. If they don't, speak up and ask.
- What are the company safety rules that I need to know?
- Who is my regular supervisor? Is that the person I should ask if I have
questions about my job?
- If it's not the person who is training you, make a note to ask to be introduced
to the supervisor. Let them know that you're new to this type of work and find out if
they will be close by so that you can ask questions or they can give you advice. You
should judge the responses you get. A supervisor who is never around and has no one
else assigned to work with you is not a good sign.
- What are the specific hazards in the job that I've been assigned and what steps
do you take to make sure I don't get injured by them? What is expected of me?
- Is there any part of the job that needs special training like operating a fork
lift or running heavy equipment?
- Where are the fire extinguishers, first aid kits/station and emergency exits?
- Is there a safety committee? If so, where are the names of the members posted?
- Where is the Occupational Health & Safety Act posted (it's required by law)?
|What things should I do to protect my employment rights before starting a new job?
Many of the terms and conditions of employment may determine whether you are exempted
from parts of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) or if special rules will apply to you. Here
is a checklist of things that you should consider before starting your new job.
Will my job be for a determined period of time? If you are going to be hired for
the completion of a specific task or project and will complete the job within a specific
term, you may be considered an employee in the category of "Term or Task". See
Am I covered.
Will my job require that I wear a uniform and if so, who will pay for the uniform?
Some employers require employees to pay for personal uniforms or other items as a condition
of having a job. However, deductions from an employee's wages may only be made if the
employee agrees in writing to have a specified amount deducted. Employees should ask the
employer about any special requirements before accepting the job.
What will my hours of work be? What are my shifts and what days of the week will I be working? Under the law, most employees have the right to
refuse to work more than 48 hours. However, your employer may have approval from the
Ministry of Labour to require employees in the workplace to work more hours than 48 a
week (see Hours of work). Your job may be covered by a union collective agreement.
This would mean that even if you are not a member of a union, your position is part of a
bargaining unit and if you believe your employer is not following the law, you would not
be able to file a claim with the Ministry of Labour. You would see your union representative instead.
How, when and where will I be paid? Generally, your employer has to establish a regular pay
period. They may pay you by cash, cheque or direct deposit. There are conditions that
the employer must follow. (See What should I get paid?) You may need to open a
bank account if your employer wishes to pay you by direct deposit.
Will I be required to stay at the workplace during my meal breaks? Your employer
may require employees to stay at the workplace during a coffee break or other type of break.
If you are required to remain at the workplace during a break, you must be paid for that time.
What are the terms and conditions of my employment? You should find out what you will
be doing in your job. The terms and conditions of your employment should be clear before
you start working so you will know what is expected of you and what you are required
to do as part of the job.
What will I be paid? Your employer is generally required to pay you at least the minimum
wage (unless special rules apply to your job, e.g. liquor servers, or unless you are
exempt, e.g. if you are employed as a student at a camp for children.) (See Chart of Exemptions).
If I work in the retail industry, will I be required to work on Sundays?
Under the law, employees may, under some circumstances, have the right to refuse to work on