Your employer and your supervisor must make sure you have the information or required training
and equipment you need to work safely and effectively and protect yourself from injury or illness.
Anytime you start a new job, or are assigned a new task at the same workplace, your
employer and supervisor have a duty to give you information about the hazards in that
job and make sure you have all safety training required by law, necessary to perform
the work safely.
The OHSA says that the employer shall:
- provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker
- acquaint a worker or a person in authority over a worker with any hazard in the work and in the handling, storage, use, disposal and transport of any article, device, equipment or a biological, chemical or physical agent.
What does that mean? It means they must tell you everything necessary to make sure
the work you do won't harm you.
Training is meant to be given BEFORE you start the job or begin a new task. Don't let
them start you on a new job or machine and promise you training at the end of the week. Training,
information and instruction comes FIRST, performing the work with good supervision comes SECOND.
There are several basic types of training you might get.
- General workplace safety information and/or training alerts you to basic safety concerns and procedures in your workplace and may include:
- company safety rules
- emergency procedures for fire evacuation and other emergencies
- what to do if you are injured, first aid locations and procedures
- location of eye wash facilities and other specialized safety equipment including how to use them.
- Specific safety training teaches you how to do your job safely and how to use any machines your job requires and may include:
- procedures on how to do the job
- how to use protective guards and safety features
- lock-out procedures for powered machinery.
If your job involves working with or near hazardous chemicals, your
employer will also have to provide you with Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training.
- How and when to wear personal protective (safety) equipment and how to maintain it. If you're
required to wear gloves, goggles, masks, hearing protection or head gear, you must know when you have to wear it,
how to wear it properly so it protects you, and how to clean it and check for defects to ensure it's in top condition.
Once you've been trained and are ready to work by yourself, having good supervision is essential. A good supervisor will:
- check in on you from time to time perhaps with just a word of encouragement, a helpful suggestion or just to see if you have any questions and if you do, speak up
- correct any unsafe work habits or behaviours they see or become aware of immediately before you or anyone else is hurt
- make sure safety standards are maintained at all times, including making sure you wear any required protective device
- make sure you know where to get help if he or she is not immediately available
- provide you with new training for every new task you're given especially if that task involves using powered equipment, machinery, working from heights, handling chemicals or biological agents.
Many jobs involve equipment that has protective guards built-in (photocopiers, paper shredders
in offices are common examples) and many jobs require the use of some type of protective clothing.
Employers may require you to wear closed-toed shoes, long sleeves, tie your hair back or wear a hairnet.
Other jobs may require more traditional safety equipment such as steel-toed shoes, safety glasses
and hard hats.
Employers are required to provide guards on machinery, but they don't necessarily give you
safety equipment such as safety boots, even if they must be worn. They may require that you
purchase the gear and wear it at all times at work. You should be getting information on all protective
devices and equipment required for your job and you must use the devices and/or wear the gear.
Some common personal protective equipment are:
- hard hats and safety boots on construction projects and in some factories
- safety glasses when working in and around machinery and tools
- impervious protective gloves in workplaces that handle biological hazards and chemicals
- hearing protection in noisy workplaces or around loud machines.
What happens when duties and
responsibilities are not followed?
are in a situation where their health or safety can be in danger. If a ministry inspector notes
that duties and responsibilities aren't being followed, an order to comply is issued. If breaking
the law about duties and responsibilities results in an injury to a worker or worse yet, fatal injuries,
the parties who didn't follow their responsibilities can face charges under the law (that includes employers,
supervisors and workers). Ontario courts determine monetary fines and can impose a jail sentence.