Monday, March 26, 2018

Employing young workers

Tips for supervisors 
Remember your first few days on the job? 

How much did you know then? 

How much were you taught by your supervisor? 

Section 4.1 of Manitoba’s Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSH Act) outlines your duties as a supervisor. The law says that you, as a supervisor must: 
  1. Ensure that all workers work in accordance with the provisions of the WSH Act and its Regulations. 
  2. Ensure that your workers use protective devices and wear the required personal protective equipment.
  3. Let your workers know about any potential or actual dangers in the workplace that you are aware of.
  4. Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of workers under your supervision. 
Did You Know? 
… that every year more than 7000 young workers aged 15-24 report injuries to the WCB (Source: Workers Compensation of Manitoba) 
… that young male workers are almost twice as likely to be injured on the job than any other group? 
… that young workers are often unable to recognize hazards? 
… that young workers tend not to ask questions because they want to make a good impression and look “smart”?
… that young workers are an asset to your workplace – with fresh eyes, new ideas and good questions to ask? 
… that, as a supervisor, you are legally responsible for your workers? 
… that Manitoba students are learning about their rights and responsibilities in the workplace? 
… that if you fail to comply with the WSH Act, you could be subject to prosecution? 

Here’s what you need to do… 

  • Spend more time explaining the job, providing training and supervising young and new workers.
  • Set and explain safety rules and ensure everyone follows them.
  • Ensure all hazards are explained and thorough job-specific safety training is provided before the work is assigned.
  • Explain the importance of prompt reporting of unsafe conditions and health and safety concerns. Ensure they know it is a priority for you and tell them how to report the hazard so you can act on it immediately.
  • Make yourself available to answer questions and provide advice 
  • Lead by example: wear required protective devices and always reinforce safety on the job 
  • Establish and maintain open lines of communication 

Are you a new supervisor? 
Get training in Manitoba’s safety and health legislation and in the hazards in your workplace. The WSH Act requires employers to appoint competent supervisors: knowledgeable about the work and hazards of the jobs they are supervising.

For general requirements or questions about workplace safety and health, you can call Client Services at (204) 945-3446 or visit the website at 

For more information about young workers go to 


Tips for supervisors 
Starting points… 
This list, though not comprehensive, outlines information you should cover with your young workers. 

  • Everyone is entitled to work in a healthy and safe work environment. 
  • Everyone has the responsibility to contribute to making and keeping the workplace safe.
  • Asking for help when they are unsure. 
  • Proper equipment operation including the mandatory use of guards and lock-out systems. 
  • Emergency procedures including the location of first aid, fire exits, extinguishers and eye wash stations. • How and when to use personal protective equipment. 
  • Your company’s health and safety rules. 
  • Correct lifting techniques. 
  • Good housekeeping practices.
    Training techniques: 
  • Because people learn differently, use a variety of training techniques with your young worker. 
  • Guide your young worker through resources for health and safety information. 
  • Schedule sufficient time in the appropriate learning environment. 
  • Be hands-on, evaluate their learning and give them feedback. 

Bright ideas

  • Host a new worker welcoming get together to celebrate their arrival.
  • Give a guided tour of the entire workplace. 
  • Introduce new young workers to key people in the organization. This may include the Health and Safety Manager, Health and Safety Committee members or Health and Safety representatives. 
  • Use articles and other information about workplace injuries and deaths that have occurred in other workplaces to reinforce the health and safety message. 
  • Continually reinforce the importance of health and safety. 
  • Put stickers on equipment warning young workers they shouldn’t use it without training or supervision. 
  • Pair up your young worker with an experienced, safety-conscious worker. 
  • Recognize safe work practices and if safety rules are not observed, find out why. 

Bottom line 

YOU have direct responsibility for the safety of your workers, but also a unique opportunity to be a role model for young workers just starting out. Be a part of creating tomorrow’s safe and healthy workforce.

To determine specific rights and obligations under the laws regulating workplace health and safety, the reader is directed to the provisions of the Workplace Safety and Health Act and the Regulations made under that statute.

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