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Apprentices and Trainees and Workplace Health and Safety

07-Feb-2014 All employers are required to provide their employees with a safe and healthy environment in which to work. This includes safe premises, systems, equipment and materials, as well as sufficient information and training to follow your company's WHS policy.

While the apprentices or trainees you host through a Group Training Organisation (GTO) are not technically your employees, you still have WHS responsibilities where they are concerned.

The GTO will work with you to ensure the apprentice or trainee at your workplace is well-informed about the risks associated with the tasks they're performing. A GTO can help you plan a comprehensive WHS induction. This will ensure apprentices and trainees understand the management systems in place for keeping safe and handling injuries in the workplace.

It's important to consider how experienced the apprentice or trainee is when conducting this induction. If they are a school-leaver getting their first taste of the workforce in your company, you can't expect them to possess the judgement or know-how of other employees - so be patient.

During the WHS induction, you should highlight the importance of WHS in the workplace and outline the responsibilities you both have. You should also take this time to point out any hazards, as well as areas of the workplace they are not permitted to enter. They must understand how to report any incidents that take place - even if they are "near misses" - and realise how important it is to come forward if and when they're involved in one.

Finally, ensure they are well-versed in your company's bullying, harassment and discrimination policies, so both they and your other employees can benefit from a workplace free of such inappropriate behaviour.