Communication is critical to a safe and healthy workplace
All of the safety policies and procedures you develop are useless if your workers are not made aware of them and trained in how to apply them. Decide what orientation and training you will provide to your workers and when. Workers and supervisors need to know what you expect of them and what their health and safety responsibilities are.
Start new workers – whether they’re new to your organization or they’re in a new role – with a solid orientation. Cover information relevant to their health and safety. Include emergency procedures, first aid facilities, any restricted areas, precautions needed to protect them from hazards, and any other health and safety procedures, plans, policies, and programs that apply to them.
When is training needed?
Training is needed whenever you introduce new equipment, processes, or procedures into the workplace. Training is also needed whenever you have instances of unacceptable health and safety performance.
Be aware of differences in language skills, literacy skills, and culture when communicating health and safety information. Adapt your communication style when necessary.
Checklist for health and safety training for your workers
- Education about workplace hazards and training on safe work practices and procedures
- Specific matters in the OH&S legislation and regulations that apply to the work being done—such as WHMIS or fall protection
- Your workplace health and safety policy, procedures and programs
- Legislative health and safety requirements that apply to the worker’s job, including information on workers’ rights and responsibilities under the legislation
Checklist for health and safety training for your supervisors
Include all of the training provided to workers, plus:
- Applicable sections of the OH&S Act and regulations—including their roles, duties, and responsibilities for workplace health and safety
- Emergency procedures
- Coaching and motivation
- Any other matters pertaining to the health and safety of workers under their direction
Off-the-job health and safety
Your conversations about health and safety don’t have to be limited to work-related activities. As an employer in a small business, you depend on every worker being available for work. An off-the-job injury can have as much impact on a person’s ability to work as a work-related injury. Providing information about non-work-related hazards can help to show your workers that you value their contribution to your company and can also help to create a comfort level around raising safety concerns.
In addition to orientation and training, the following activities can help you with your health and safety messaging:
- safety meetings
- paycheque / pay stub enclosures
- regular discussion of health and safety issues at production, quality, and planning meetings
- managers demonstrating commitment to the program (walking the talk)
- weekly email bulletins (great for seasonal messages!)
- posting notice board announcements and reminders
- any other ways that you can think of to get the safety message across!
Creating clear and open communication at all levels in the workplace will encourage everyone’s support for, and participation in, health and safety activities. Workers will be more likely to follow health and safety procedures when they have been involved in their development.