A new job can make anyone nervous, especially a young worker ― and especially if it's their first job. Asking questions as a new worker on the job can sometimes be challenging, considering different factors such as the fear of losing their job. According to the Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Regulation Part 2.2.1(1), a new worker is one who:
- is new to the workplace
- has moved from one area of a workplace to another area of the workplace that has different processes or hazards
- has relocated to a different workplace that has different processes or hazards
- is returning to the same workplace but the processes or hazards in the workplace have changed while the worker was away.
In the first four weeks of a new job, new workers are 5 to 7 times more likely to be at risk of injury. Their injuries on the job can be caused by:
- inadequate training and orientation
- insufficient monitoring and supervision
- exposure to dangerous work with lack of understanding of workplace hazards, risk assessment and control measures
- lack of awareness of workplace rights and responsibilities
- inexperience and lack of preparation for the workplace
- not asking questions even when they don't understand work instructions. New workers tend to not ask questions because they want to give a good impression and are afraid of losing their job.
Workplace safety and health is a combined responsibility of the employer and the worker. All employers and workers have duties and responsibilities as contained in the WSH Act and Regulation. For a new worker on the job, there are certain questions they should ask before starting work. Some of these questions include but are not limited to:
- Will safety training and orientation be provided?
- Who is the supervisor and how are unsafe work conditions reported?
- What training and orientation will be offered on the job?
- What hazards are associated with the job and what control measures are in place?
- How can workplace incidents and injuries be prevented?
- What are the potential emergencies in the workplace and the corresponding response procedures?
As a new worker, you are entitled to four rights as mandated in the WSH Act
. Workers have a:
- Right to know: know the hazards that the worker will be exposed to on the job and the control measures in place to protect the worker from the hazard
- Right to participate: participate in workplace safety and health programs such as the safety and health committee
- Right to refuse dangerous work: refuse work for which the worker does not have adequate training and understanding of safe work procedures, etc.
- Right to protection from reprisal: protection from acting in accordance with rights mentioned in the WSH Act and Regulation.
Employers are expected to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare of all workers at work. They should:
- Provide training for the worker: ensure workers are given an orientation and provided with all training necessary for them to conduct their job properly and safely.
- Test the workers: employers should evaluate and verify training to ensure that the workers understand the training they have received through written and practical demonstrations.