A safety orientation manual, infrequently referred to as an induction, is a comprehensive guide used to educate new, inexperienced, and/or transferred workers of a company’s policies and procedures, safety rules and regulations, training requirements, roles and responsibilities, and other pertinent information that protects the health and safety of the organizations employees, contractors, visitors, public, and the environment.
A basic safety orientation should include the following:
Company Safety Rules - this section illustrates the safety rules and legislation that govern the organization and the industries in which it operates.
Company Policies - this section identifies and explains the health and safety policies that employees are expected to follow, as prescribed by the employer.
Training - this section allows the employer to identify the necessary training requirements pertaining to the job duties that the employee is expected to perform and then deliver the training sessions. This section also allows the new hire to inform the employer of applicable training certifications he or she already possesses.
Hazard Recognition, Evaluation, and Control - this section exposes the hazards associated with critical tasks that have the potential to cause harm or injury when performing certain jobs. These hazards are controlled or eliminated using safe work practices and safe job procedures to protect the safety, health, and well-being of everyone at the work site.
Emergency Response Procedures - this section explains the emergency response procedures to follow in the event of an emergency or disaster at the work site. This section should include instructions on the use of fire extinguishers, eye wash stations, first aid kits, emergency notification procedures, and all other applicable information.
Emergency Evacuation - this section must identify the proper evacuation routes, including muster points, signals and procedures, and maps of all facilities at the work site. This section must also include a list of all emergency contact information, including departments (fire, police, utility service providers, etc.), telephone and fax numbers, and their locations.
Personal Protective Equipment - this section discusses the selection, use, and maintenance of PPE as required by legislative and company policies.
Reporting Procedures - this section explains the procedures for reporting a workplace incident (and should emphasize the importance of reporting all near misses).
Health and Safety Committee Charter - in this section the Health and Safety Committee members and their contact information is provided. Employees should be encouraged to participate in health and safety committee meetings (such as notifying management of near misses), and know where to find the minutes of each safety meeting and safety bulletin boards.
Rights and Responsibilities - this sections must inform employees of their rights and responsibilities as set out by Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulations and Code Handbook, and the employers policies, procedures, and worker expectations.
To ensure you have provided a new hire with a substantial and adequate safety orientation, the safety orientation manual must be frequently referenced, in addition to other resources, to ensure that all critical health and safety material has been delivered to the employee.
Employers are encouraged to accomplish more than the bare minimum when it comes to establishing and implementing a safety orientation manual. Going above and beyond communicates a strong message to the employee about the organizations commitment to the health and safety of their workers and their dedication to achieving safety excellence.
Statistically, about 60% of construction work place injuries occur within the first year of employment, to workers who have not received adequate safety training and orientation of his or her job duties before commencing work. However, by carefully designing and implementing a safety orientation manual and coupling it with an effective safety orientation, the number of injuries to new and inexperienced workers be reduced.
The Alberta Occupational Heath and Safety Code, Part 1 defines a competent worker as an “adequately qualified, suitably trained and with sufficient experience to safely perform work without supervision or with only a minimal degree of supervision”. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all employees have received the appropriate training needed to safely perform their duties, and what resource should an employer opt to utilize at the beginning of that training process?