Workplace hazards training is an essential part of any Canadian workplace. This training is designed to ensure that workers are aware of the potential hazards in their workplace and are trained on how to work safely. This article will discuss what workplace hazards training includes in Canada.
Overview of Workplace Hazards Training
Workplace hazards training is required by law in Canada. The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) sets out the legal requirements for employers to provide workers with adequate training and information on workplace hazards.
Employers are responsible for ensuring that workers receive training on recognizing, assessing, and controlling workplace hazards. This training is designed to inform workers of the risks associated with their jobs and how to work safely to prevent accidents and injuries.
Employers or third-party training providers typically provide workplace hazard training. The training can take various forms, including classroom-based instruction, on-the-job training, and online training modules. The type of training provided will depend on the nature of the workplace hazards and the job requirements.
Elements of Workplace Hazards Training
The following are some of the critical elements of workplace hazard training in Canada:
- Hazard Identification: The first step in workplace hazards training is to identify potential hazards in the workplace. This includes physical hazards such as slips, trips, and falls, as well as chemical, biological, and ergonomic hazards. Workers must be trained on how to identify risks in the workplace and how to report them to their employer.
- Risk Assessment: Once hazards have been identified, the next step is to assess the risks associated with each threat. Workers must be trained on how to determine the likelihood and severity of each hazard and how to prioritize them based on the level of risk.
- Hazard Control: The third step in workplace hazards training is to control hazards in the workplace. This may involve implementing engineering controls such as installing guardrails or barriers, administrative controls such as changing work schedules or procedures, or personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety glasses or respirators. Workers must be trained to use controls effectively to minimize the risks associated with hazards.
- Confined Space Training: It is a form of training that focuses on the safe entry and exit of confined spaces. It provides workers with the knowledge and skills to identify, assess, and control hazards in confined spaces.
The training typically covers topics such as the characteristics of confined spaces, hazard identification, atmospheric monitoring, ventilation, personal protective equipment (PPE), emergency response, and rescue procedures. Confined space training is essential for several reasons.
It helps prevent accidents and injuries by providing workers with the knowledge and skills to work safely in confined spaces. Workers who have received proper training are better equipped to identify and control hazards and are less likely to make mistakes that could result in injury or death.
- Emergency Procedures: Workers must also be trained on emergency procedures such as evacuation procedures, first aid, and emergency response. This training should cover what to do in an emergency, how to use emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits, and how to communicate with emergency responders.
- WHMIS Training: Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is designed to ensure that workers are informed about the hazards associated with hazardous materials in the workplace. WHMIS training is required for workers who work with or around hazardous materials. This training covers how to recognize hazardous materials, how to read and interpret safety data sheets, and how to use PPE.
- Mental Health Training: Mental health training is becoming increasingly important in the workplace. Workers must be trained to recognize signs of mental illness and support colleagues who may be struggling with mental health issues. This training should also cover how to access mental health resources and support.
- Workplace Violence and Harassment: Workers must also be trained on workplace violence and harassment. This training covers what constitutes workplace violence and harassment, how to recognize and report it. Workers should also be trained on how to prevent workplace violence and harassment and how to respond if it occurs.
- Ergonomics Training: Ergonomics is the science of designing workspaces, tools, and equipment to fit the needs of workers. Ergonomics training teaches workers how to set up their workspace to minimize the risk of injury or discomfort. This includes proper workstation setup, lifting techniques, and stretching exercises.
Workplace hazards training in Canada is governed by the Canada Labour Code, Part II, which outlines the minimum requirements for occupational health and safety in federally regulated workplaces. The code sets out the responsibilities of employers, employees, and the government regarding ensuring that Canadian workplaces are safe and healthy.
Under the Canada Labour Code, employers are responsible for ensuring that their employees receive adequate training on the hazards they may face. This includes providing information and instruction on how to identify and mitigate hazards and ensuring that employees have the necessary equipment and protective gear to work safely.
Types of Workplace Hazards
Employees may encounter several types of workplace hazards in their jobs, and they must receive training on how to identify and mitigate these hazards. Some of the most common workplace hazards in Canada include:
- Physical Hazards include slips, trips, and falls, as well as exposure to extreme temperatures, noise, and vibration.
- Chemical Hazards – Chemical hazards include exposure to hazardous substances such as solvents, acids, and gases, which can cause skin irritation, respiratory problems, and even cancer.
- Biological Hazards include exposure to infectious diseases, bacteria, and viruses, which can cause severe illnesses and infections.
- Ergonomic Hazards – Ergonomic hazards are related to the physical aspects of the workplace, such as repetitive motions, awkward postures, and heavy lifting, which can cause musculoskeletal disorders.
- Psychosocial Hazards – These hazards are related to the mental and emotional aspects of the workplace, such as stress, harassment, and bullying, which can significantly impact an employee’s mental health and well-being.
Workplace hazards training in Canada can take many forms, depending on the nature of the hazards employees may encounter. The most common methods of workplace hazards training include:
- Classroom Training – Classroom training is a traditional method of training that involves an instructor-led session in which employees learn about workplace hazards, their consequences, and how to mitigate them.
- Online Training – Online training is an increasingly popular method of workplace hazards training, particularly in remote work settings. This type of training can be delivered via the internet and may include interactive elements such as quizzes and videos.
- On-the-Job Training – On-the-job training involves learning by doing and is particularly useful for training employees on how to use equipment and machinery safely. This type of training may also include shadowing experienced workers and learning from their experiences.
- Simulation Training – Simulation training involves creating a simulated workplace environment where employees can practice identifying and mitigating hazards in a safe and controlled setting.
Regardless of the method used, practical workplace hazards training should cover the following topics:
- Hazard Identification – Employees must be able to identify workplace hazards and understand their associated risks.
- Risk Assessment – Employees should be trained to assess the risks associated with workplace hazards and prioritize them based on their severity.
- Hazard Mitigation – Employees should be trained to mitigate workplace hazards, including using personal protective equipment, following safe work practices, and reporting risks to their supervisors.
- Computer-Based Training – This method uses interactive software programs to teach workers about workplace hazards and safety procedures. Computer-based training is beneficial for providing workers with a self-paced learning experience.
- Simulation Training – This method uses simulated environments to train workers on safety procedures and hazards. Simulation training is beneficial for training workers on high-risk techniques and situations.
- Mentoring – This method pairs new workers with experienced workers who provide guidance and instruction on safety procedures and hazards. Mentoring helps reinforce safety procedures and ensures workers can apply them in real-world situations.
The Canadian Occupational Health and Safety (COHS) regulations require employers to provide their workers with adequate training on the hazards they are exposed to. This training must be provided in a language and format easily understandable by the workers. Employers must also regularly provide refresher training to their workers to ensure they are updated with the latest safety procedures and regulations.