Ontario Associations Offer Tools to Help Newest Workers

The assistance is free pictograms for workers in greenhouses, retail establishments, and restaurants.

A collaborative project in Ontario, Canada, has developed three sets of pictograms identifying typical hazards in greenhouses, retail establishments, and restaurants to help employers in the province protect "vulnerable workers,” defined as ones who recently moved to Ontario from another province or country, have just started their first job, are returning to the workforce after a long absence, or whose English language skills are inadequate.

Visit http://www.healthandsafetyontario.ca/Resources/Topics/Vulnerable-Workers.aspx to download them.

The pictograms are useful as warning labels or for directional purposes. They were created as part of a project involving the Institute for Work & Health, the Ontario Ministry of Labour, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS), which is one of four health and safety associations operating under the Health & Safety Ontario banner. WSPS provides industry-specific health and safety products, training, and consulting services to 154,000 businesses and 3.8 million employees in Ontario's agricultural, manufacturing, and service sectors.

The pictograms, released July 3, help employers and supervisors comply with Sections 25 and 27 of Ontario's Occupational Health & Safety Act, which requires them to:

  • Ensure equipment, materials, and protective devices are provided and maintained
  • Let workers know about any potential or actual danger in the workplace
  • Inform, instruct, and supervise workers to protect their health and safety
  • Hire competent supervisors
  • Assist and cooperate with joint health and safety committees or worker representatives
  • Take every precaution reasonable for the protection of a worker
  • Ensure workers comply with provisions of the act

The law gives workers rights and responsibilities, as well:

  • the right to know about hazards and how to prevent injuries caused by them
  • the right to participate in health and safety activities in the workplace
  • the right to refuse work that is dangerous or unsafe to themselves or others
  • the responsibility to use machinery and equipment in the way in which they are trained
  • the responsibility to report hazards to a supervisor or employer
  • the responsibility to use or wear personal protective devices

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