Training New Staff

It’s no secret that training new staff can feel like a daunting task. You’ve gone through the hiring process, and found a great candidate, and now it’s up to you to make sure the new employee can do their job properly. Some of us have hired multiple people over the years, and others may be just beginning their journey as employers. Our roles as employers are diverse across agriculture, but we all share one common theme: We need to make sure that whoever works on the farm can do their job correctly, efficiently, and most importantly, safely.

Some people come to us with background experience in agriculture, others may be just beginning their careers. Some may be here for a summer job, and others may work with us every day for years to come. Different employment goals, ages, abilities, and even languages can create a unique training process for everyone. When you are training, remember that you are primarily teaching. Everyone learns differently, so you may have to adapt your training process to fit the new employee. Ask the employee if they understand what they are learning so far. This is a great opportunity to build a relationship where questions are welcomed and encouraged – further down the line, the employee will feel more confident asking you questions if they feel comfortable asking anything from day one. Remember that many young workers are noted as being uncomfortable asking safety-related questions. Employees with more experience, on the other hand, may hesitate to ask questions if they think it’ll make them appear uninformed. Questions are important at any point of the employee’s work journey with you, and safety-related questions especially should be welcomed and encouraged.

No matter who or how you’re training, it’s crucial to set clear expectations around safety on your farm. Employees must understand from their first day on the job that safety comes first. Training should include the following:

  • Your farm’s commitment to health and safety
  • An overview of the OHS Act and Regulations
  • Your farm’s rules around discipline, workplace violence and harassment, fitness for duty
  • Health and safety hazards, risk assessment, reporting hazards
  • Health and safety hazard control measures
  • Training and communication, especially covering required training to perform the job safely
  • Reporting close calls and incidents
  • Emergency preparedness and contact information
  • Your farm’s safety representative, if applicable

Starting the training period with these topics at the forefront provides a strong introduction to health and safety on your farm from day one. Employees who feel safe at work are happier, more productive, and more efficient in their jobs.

If you’re looking for further training for your new employee, Farm Safety NS is here to help. FSNS has a variety of free online farm safety training courses available on the Skillspass platform. If you’re looking for an in-person training session, you can access discounts for our members when you book through Farm Safety NS. You can also stay tuned for training courses that are offered throughout the year by following the Events Calendar. If you have any questions, feel free to email