March 15, 2010
By Sally Harvey CLT, CLP
Education and Labour Development Department

Sally HarveyAs the season quickly approaches, it is time for employers and supervisors to prepare and organize their staffing needs, based on prepared budgets.

Preparation should include, staff orientation, safety program and training.

Notice the focus is on staff. Without investing in our human resource asset, we really don’t have much of a business. Let me remind you, that in order to legally employ people to do our work, we must ensure due diligence in regards to orientation, training and safety for each and every staff member on a consistent level. It is not enough to post safety policies and tell staff where manuals are located. It is up to each and every employer and supervisor to ensure that each staff member has received the appropriate training and orientation on each duty, tool, piece of equipment and situation that they may encounter.

Once they have received the training, and understand all of their roles and responsibilities, they must sign a document showing that they agree to operate as trained and outlined within the policies. This provides due diligence on the part of the employer and creates a very professional image in the eyes of the employees and clients.


Where can employers go to understand how to develop a safe start to the season? Go to to download, An Employer’s Guide to Developing a Workplace Health and Safety Orientation Program. Supervisors can find information on how to develop a safe start to the season by going to To launch a safe start, go to to download the Launching a Safe Start Guide, a Worker’s Guide to Rights and Responsibilities for Workplace Health and Safety.

Make sure you take advantage of these guides. Print them out for all of your staff. Don’t forget to make sure you have all of the posters displayed in the manner outlined in the guides. These resources are provided to you by WSIB, which will guide you toward proper due diligence and improved prevention programs.

It is every employer’s responsibility to provide a safe work place, and to make sure all workers know how to perform their work safely. A safety program guides employers and employees toward compliance. To gain access to the list of Safety Program Elements, go to You will find a list of elements under the following headings:
  • Leadership
  • Organization
  • Hazard recognition and assessment
  • Control activities
The list provides an outline of the potential elements that should be included in your safety program. However, firms only need to develop those elements that pertain to the specific activities performed in their respective workplace. For example, if your staff will never encounter confined spaces, then you would not develop a policy for “confined space entry.” You may also find that there are elements that your workers are exposed to, but are not included on the program’s list. You will develop those policies, too.

If it seems that the elements of a compliant safety program appear daunting, believe me it can be. However, having said that, how can we as business owners not work toward due diligence when it comes to our staff? None of us can, or should afford the added expense of an incident or accident that happens due to safety program negligence. Get started today, before the staff members start back. If you have developed nothing to date, then start with the following list for 2010:
  1. Health and safety policy statement
  2. Orientation
  3. Roles/responsibilities of workplace parties
  4. JHSC (Joint health and safety committee for companies with more than 20 workers) or health and safety representatives for companies with fewer than 20 workers
  5. WHMIS training for all workers
  6. First Aid training (CPR, A or C)
  7. Workplace violence and harassment (Bill 168 becomes law in  July 2010)

Next year, sign up with Landscape Ontario’s Safety Group to help you develop your safety program with others in your industry. This ensures that you are meeting the minimum requirements as an employer, and continue along the road to improvement.

To help employers with training, in the near future we will launch a two-day on-the-job-training seminar for those staff members who are responsible for training staff at the technical level. Many of us move up the ladder because we are good at what we do, or are bumped up when someone leaves. Some of us become responsible for training, but really do not know how to efficiently and effectively train others. This seminar will guide trainers through the basic elements in order to achieve and enhance:
  • Safety
  • Quality
  • Productivity
  • Cost
The trainers who take advantage of this new course will find themselves better suited to train workers in need of safety training, or to train technical skills for those who wish to pursue a certification designation or apprenticeship, or who just want to develop their workplace skills. Stay tuned.

Contact me should you require guidance towards this season’s safe launch. Get started today! Wishing us all a fabulous 2010 season.
Contact Sally Harvey should you have any questions at