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How many employees receive safety training during their first year of a new job?
  1. Peter M Smith,
  2. Cameron A Mustard
  1. Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
 MrP M Smith
 Population and Workforce Studies Group, Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 2E9;psmith{at}


Objective: To describe the provision of safety training to Canadian employees, specifically those in their first year of employment with a new employer.

Design: Three repeated national Canadian cross-sectional surveys.

Subjects: 59 159 respondents from Statistics Canada’s Workplace and Employee Surveys (1999, 2001 and 2003), 5671 who were in their first year of employment.

Main outcome: Receiving occupational health and safety training, orientation training or office or non-office equipment training in either a classroom or on-the-job in the previous 12 months.

Results: Only 12% of women and 16% of men reported receiving safety training in the previous 12 months. Employees in their first 12 months of employment were more likely to receive safety training than employees with >5 years of job tenure. However, still only one in five new employees had received any safety training while with their current employer. In a fully adjusted regression model, employees who had access to family and support programs, women in medium-sized workplaces and in manufacturing, and men in large workplaces and in part-time employment all had an increased probability of receiving safety training. No increased likelihood of safety training was found in younger workers or those in jobs with higher physical demands, both of which are associated with increased injury risk.

Conclusions: From our results, it would appear that only one in five Canadian employees in their first year of a new job received safety training. Further, the provision of safety training does not appear to be more prevalent among workers or in occupations with increased risk of injuries.

  • WES, Workplace and Employee Survey

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • During this work, Peter Smith was supported by a strategic training research fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Strategic Training Program in the Transdisciplinary Approach to the Health of Marginalized Populations. Access to Statistic Canada’s Labour Force Survey was provided by the Data Information Service at the University of Toronto.