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An Employer Guide to Worker Health and Safety Awareness in 4 Steps

  • Content last reviewed: December 2012

Note: This document does not constitute legal advice. To determine your rights and obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA or the Act) and its regulations, please contact your legal counsel or refer to the legislation.

Worker Health and Safety Awareness in 4 Steps is intended to introduce workers to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). This training program is focused on the health and safety rights and responsibilities of workers, supervisors and employers and is a general introduction to workplace health and safety.

If you already provide your workers with health and safety training or information, you may not need to deliver this.

This training program is for general awareness of rights and responsibilities and does not, in any way, replace specific workplace health and safety training.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this health and safety awareness program, workers should be able to:

STEP 1: Get on Board

  • Describe why they are important to workplace health and safety and where they fit in the internal responsibility system by describing their roles, responsibilities and how these relate to the roles and responsibilities of supervisors and employers.

STEP 2: Get in the Know - The right to know

  • Explain that they have the right to know about workplace hazards and how to work safely, using the most common hazards, WHMIS and occupational disease as examples.
  • Find information on how to work safely by talking to their employer or supervisor and by being informed about the workplace health and safety policy and procedures.

STEP 3: Get Involved - The right to participate

  • Give examples of ways that they can participate in health and safety in their workplace, such as being a role model to their co-workers, becoming a health and safety representative or a joint health and safety committee member, and participating in training.
  • Find out who their health and safety representative or joint health and safety committee members are by seeing the information posted in their workplace or by asking their supervisor or employer.
  • Talk to co-workers about safe practices in the workplace.

STEP 4: Get More Help – The right to refuse unsafe work and where to go for help

  • Explain that they can ask or go to see their supervisor or employer, health and safety representative or joint health and safety committee member when they need help with health and safety.
  • Understand that if they believe their health and safety is at risk, they can refuse unsafe work.
  • Explain that their employer cannot threaten, fire or dismiss them for exercising their health and safety rights or for asking their employer or supervisor to do what the OHSA says they must do.
  • Name other places that they can go to get more information or help regarding workplace health and safety, including the health and safety associations, the Ministry of Labour and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

How to Deliver the Training Program

Worker Health and Safety Awareness in 4 Steps should be completed by new workers within the first few days of starting work before being exposed to hazards in the workplace.

This training program may be delivered in different ways:

  • Face-to-face with one worker or a group of workers using the workbook
  • Electronically through an e-learning program (when available)

Both e-learning and face-to-face learning may be supplemented with discussions with supervisors or employers, reviews of quiz questions, and safety talks in the workplace.

Training program materials are available at no cost through the Ministry of Labour. Here are some steps that you or the person who will deliver this training program in your workplace should consider:

Before You Start

  • For face-to-face learning, read through the workbook and plan for the activities. There is additional information you can use to deliver this training available on the Ministry’s website (address appears at the end of this guide).
  • Review the learning objectives above.
  • For e-learning, be familiar with the training program and be prepared to support your workers.
  • Be ready for and encourage questions. Focus on making sure that your workers are comfortable pointing out health and safety concerns right from the first day on the job.
  • Keep in mind any disabilities, language or literacy issues workers may have and how to accommodate them. For example, you may need to translate the material to another language or have a translator there to assist you. Some may need the material to be read aloud or to hear it repeated or phrased in a different way.
  • Make sure you have information on the following topics available, as workers will be made aware of them when you are discussing the information:
    • Copy of health and safety policy (if 6 or more workers)
    • Copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act
    • Copy of the poster Health and Safety at Work - Prevention Starts Here
    • Names of health & safety representatives if you have between 6 and 19 workers
    • Names of joint health and safety committee members if you have 20 or more workers
    • Hazards in your workplace
    • Procedure for workers to follow when telling you about health and safety concerns
    • Workplace violence and workplace harassment policies
    • WHMIS training and material safety data sheets
    • Protective equipment that must be worn or used by workers
    • Emergency procedures
    • Location of first aid stations and names of qualified first aid providers

Help Your Workers Understand

To help make sure that your workers understand the material, there are quiz questions at the end of each of the program’s four steps. In face-to-face learning, you can ask workers to write down their answers or tell you what they think the correct response is. Discuss the answers that your workers give to help strengthen their understanding. The correct answers to each quiz appear at the back of the worker workbook. The quiz questions will be the same in the e-learning program. You may review these with your workers to reinforce the information.


You should keep records that show all your workers have received the information in this program. Each worker should have his or her own workbook (or print-outs from the e-learning program) to keep as a reference for the future.

This training program raises general awareness about rights, responsibilities and where to get more information and help with workplace health and safety. Be sure to orient your workers to the workplace, the hazards that they may encounter when they are doing their job, and the health and safety laws and workplace procedures that have been put into place to protect them.

If you have any questions about this training program contact the Ministry of Labour at 1-877-202-0008 or visit Health and Safety.

For general information about workplace health and safety, contact one of the following health and safety system partners:

ISBN: 978-1-4606-0081-8 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-4606-0082-5 (HTML)