Ideas about Occupational Safety and Health

C Fegan, a retired Trades Educator shares some valuable ideas about OH & S

Occupational Safety and Health instruction should be included as part of the *Induction Process for new employees on the first day of their employment. New employees need to be familiarised with the layout of their new place of work.


Answer: In my view, training in O.S.& H., if it is to be effective, needs to be delivered to new employees before they are assigned to their work areas. New starters need to be inducted immediately in order to ensure that they be familiarised with the responsibilities of their duties. Attention to this factor would go a long way to ensure that employees, new to the organisation, will not be adversely influenced by their peers who may not have a good (safety conscious) work ethic and may not be working to safety standards.

Putting off new employee ‘induction and training’ (as happens) lends to ‘peer induction’ and may not be in-line with company values and lead to undesirable work habits.

New apprentices should be assigned to work with a mentor (qualified worker), someone who would guide them in the need for vigilance, especially during their initial period of training with an emphasis on working safely.

All incidents involving ‘near misses’ should be logged.


Because next time it may not be a ‘near miss’.

Supervisors should insist / enforce the wearing of protective equipment supplied to employees. Failure to enforce this rule may cost the company dearly at a later time if they are found to be indifferent about this matter.

Safety training, to be effective, should be driven by management on an ongoing basis – management by wandering around (MBWA) when any breaches of safety could be brought to the immediate attention of the worker and recorded for discussion at next safety meeting. For safety-on-the-job to work, prompt feedback by way of constructive critique is essential.

Everyone has to live the safety message and cultivate safe work habits so that they safeguard themselves and others. The carpenter’s rule – “measure twice and cut once” could be translated to – take time to size-up the job, the care you take in doing this could make a serious difference to your safety.

*(Yes, I know that many organisations insist that new employees undertake a ‘MARCSTA Training Course’ before they will employ them, however, their new workplace may expose them to hazards different to that of the training facility.)

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

Comments (2)

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  1. Gary Hunt says:

    Apart from the need to comply with legislative requirements (The OHS Act). Inductions must have OHS as its primary focus, and it must be specific to the nature of the business and tasks performed, and must be done on the first day. Obviously the new employee needs to know work hours, location of bathroom facilities, the method by which he or she is paid etc, but if they go into the workforce unaware of the safety requirements it is setting up for catastrophic failure and it breaches the Duty of Care of the employer. It is often a good idea to do a “refresher” induction after about three months, I have found that this often identifies problems and issues that may have been forgotten, the refresher need only be half an hour and it does help to eliminate a whole world of grief.

  2. Les Henley says:

    Having been an OHS trainer in various contexts and having developed workplace OHS induction training packages, I have found that over time, most employers do not realise how daunting the induction process can be to a new employee – particularly fresh from school employees.

    New employees often find themselves having to remember so much information pushed at them in such a short time that they need assistance to understand the MOST IMPORTANT items. Generally, and understandably, their heads will be focussed on meeting fellow employees, finding amenities, getting their heads around payroll and work hours related information that actual task information and even worksite safety issues get a back seat.

    This means that ANY INITIAL induction content needs to be as simple as possible to understand and absorb, but it also needs to be stressed and re-stressed in terms of importance to their safety and health.

    To this end it is worthwhile having the OHS content separated from the HR and admin content and even presented by different personnel. Eg The OHS Officer with the new employee’s supervisor should cover the OHS content.

    As to “peer induction” – if the workforce is likely to induct a new employee incorrectly or with unsafe aspects then there is a cultural issue that also needs to be addressed by managers and supervisors.
    WHY? Because socialisation of a new employee by their “new” team mates will override any induction by personnel they have little contact with after the initial induction, thereby rendering the intitial induction useless. If the induction message is not fully supported when they join their team, they will be peer inducted anyway.

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