In some cases, summer students are viewed as a quick fix to cover for vacations and to complete extra projects.
ORFA members are reminded of the importance of providing both orientation and workplace specific training to all summer hires – both paid and unpaid co-op students or learners on placement must be included. This means that summer staff should be subject to the same training, orientation, supervision and safety requirements as all workers in the workplace. Please be reminded that supervisors must be familiar with the duty to accommodate regulations for employees contained in both the AODA and in the Human Rights Code.
The Ministry of Labour highlights that young workers are more vulnerable than experienced or older workers. This means that training sessions may need to be tailored specifically to young workers who don’t have a basic level of “common sense” that might be expected from an older or experienced worker. For many year’s, the ORFA has stated that, “there is no such thing as common sense at work” when “common sense” is in fact, a highly transferable skill based on training and experience. Basic hazards may need to be outlined to young workers, procedures may need to be broken into steps, reasons for wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) should be made explicit, and safety rules may need to be thoroughly explained and enforced.
Depending on the work environment, specific safety training such as, working at heights as an example may need to be addressed. Written reminders such as, stickers and signs on equipment that have specific operating requirements should be considered. It is strongly recommended as a best practice that supervisors create a checklist that gets signed off by both the supervisor and the student to confirm that safety information has been shared.
Supervisors are reminded of basic training that must be provided to all workers:
A commitment to summer student supervision and safety in the workplace goes a long way to the successful development of the facilities safety culture. Supporting summer students with good supervision and safe practices ensures your employment reputation is respected and that early work experiences are highly impactful to those who start their working career under your leadership.