As of July 26, Worksafe BC began implementing a new regulation in their Occupational Health & Safety Regulations, requiring that BC employers document how they are ensuring the safety of young and/or new workers. It has long been required that employers hold orientation sessions, but the new regulation dictates that employers must also keep records of orientation and/or training sessions. In order to satisfy the requirements, employers must document any training session that has occurred, and they must also obtain the trainee's acknowledgement that the training session actually took place.
These changes apply to all new workers and any workers under 25 years of age. Some topics that employers are required to address in orientation sessions include: working alone or in an isolated area, the potential for workplace violence, and the contact information for the worker’s supervisor.
WorkSafeBC statistics show that in 2006, nine young workers were killed in the workplace in BC. While this statistic reflects a decrease from the 11 workers killed in 2005, there were also 9 young workers killed in both 2003 and 2004. Obviously, the ideal would be no deaths at all, and WorkSafeBC is working to more substantially decrease these statistics in the future.
On the bright side, it appears that injury statistics for young workers in BC have declined in the past decade or so. While 1995 statistics reflected 5.2 young worker injuries per 100, the 2005 statistics reflected a decrease of 35%, down to 3.4 young worker injuries per 100. This is due in part to recent initiatives by WorkSafeBC, it is ultimately the responsibility of individual workplaces to implement stricter, more thorough policies and procedures in order to ensure greater occupational health and safety in British Columbia.
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