Inducting employees

October 28th, 2011

An induction forms the foundation from which an employee will make important safety decisions, so it’s crucial this phase of employment is performed correctly. The induction should provide an individual with information and experience that will ensure they are fully equipped to fulfil their role safely and to a standard acceptable under the Workplace Health and Safety Act. Inducting could be compared to planting a seed, as you would ensure it had soil, fertiliser and enough water to grow into a healthy plant.

What is an induction?
An induction is an information session to develop an awareness and understanding of relevant OHS standards, common hazards for the particular workplace, and how they should be managed. It also provides all necessary information about day-to-day procedures, such as rules, role-specific duties, and supervisory and reporting arrangements. Induction training should be performed by the person in charge of departments or work projects, and employers or self-employed persons. They must hold Certificates and Qualifications relevant to induction training in their industry.

When do you do it?
An induction must be performed before any work is commenced that the employee has not yet undergone induction training for. Even if the employee has been with the company for an extended period of time, if they move to a different department within the workplace, they must participate in a site-specific induction. Hazards and procedures vary widely depending on the type of work being performed, so OHS induction in one department is not transferrable.

Refresher inductions should be performed when the person in charge deems necessary, in response to incidents, observations, or general risk management issues. Any employee who has been absent for more than two consecutive years may also need to participate in a round of inductions before commencing work. Induction repeats may also be required after any major changes to OHS legislation, which will impact the type of controls or procedures that need to be employed.

What do you need to include?
A general induction should include theory and practical activities running for up to six hours. Theory topics should cover the following OHS industry relevant topics:

  • Duty of care under common law
  • Roles, rights, responsibilities and enforcement provisions
  • Communication and reporting processes
  • Role and function of OHS consultants

The following topics can be incorporated as practical activities. Encourage employees to engage in:

  • Identification of risks
  • Assessment of risk and brainstorming of possible controls
  • Answering previously set questions using the OHS manual
  • Identify different types of plant equipment, and the meanings of symbols or signage associated with their use
  • Discussion about drugs and alcohol use, bullying and harassment, housekeeping and emergency procedures

Depending on the industry and type of work place, length, type and nature of inductions may vary. Ensure the induction is engaging for employees by encouraging questions, including hands-on activities and discussing practical information they can relate to.