The "Safety and Compliance" Seminar – Part 4
In Part 4 of our five-part series (which we'll publish over the next two months), you"ll learn the importance of the right people and training for a job
By Robert Koci
Over the next few weeks you’ll learn the top five ways to be safe and compliant in your workplace.
By Brynna Leslie
If you want to ensure safe practice, spend the time and money to train your employees. If there is ever a safety-related accident, you will find yourself in hot water if you or your employees are found to be unqualified for the job. Certain minimum requirements (such as fall protection training and WHMIS) are required for most workers in the construction sector, just by virtue of the nature of work being done. They don’t have to cost a lot and many courses are available online through your provincial ministry of labour, your local industry association or the CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety).
But even if it’s just new tools, setting up a ladder or using a particular substance, it’s up to you to demonstrate due diligence toward employee training.
“As an employer to a new employee or sub-contractor, you have to ask enough questions to make sure they’re qualified for the job,” says Jim Leblanc, director of Occupational Health and Safety for Labour and Advanced Education, in Nova Scotia. “If you go out and hire a well-trained, established contractor who has a relationship with you, you’re much better off than if you hire someone walking off the street who’s offered to shingle a roof for you.”
Under most provincial and territorial laws, if you have more than five people working on a job site, you have to have a knowledgeable and skilled supervisor on site at all times. The supervisor can also be a worker, but it has to be established who that person is and there should be some record of why he or she was chosen to oversee the project.
Beware of organizations that insist you require unnecessary certifications or that require you to fork over a lot of money and time to get the proper training. It’s best to consult with your local provincial authority, such as WorkSafeBC or the Ontario Ministry of Labour, to find out what type of training is actually required.
Next week… Part 5: Be Equipped and Protected at All Times
Brynna Leslie is a freelance writer based in Ottawa and a regular contributor to Canadian Contractor.