Green Hand Gold Hand Best Practices
What is the Green Hand Gold Hand Program?
The Green Hand/Gold Hand program was established by the Canadian Petroleum Council in 2001 to reduce injuries among new or inexperienced workers. Since then, Lafarge North America and the Forest Safety Council of BC are among those companies and organizations that have adopted the program for use in their industries.
How does it Work?
The idea is to engage new or inexperienced workers ('Green Hands') in safety related conversations with experienced workers ('Gold Hands'), who have proven knowledge of and experience with the company’s safety program. This is accomplished by raising the visibility of each worker:
- New or inexperienced workers are given Green Hand stickers to wear on their hard hats, making them immediately recognizable as possibly in need of extra assistance and/or guidance in order to work safely on the site.
- Experienced workers who agree to participate are given Gold Hand stickers to wear on their hard hats, making them immediately recognizable as individuals to whom Green Hands can turn for assistance or guidance.
Note: The Gold Hand is a voluntary title and should not be assigned to a worker who is not comfortable in a mentorship role.
Why Should I Consider Adopting this Program?
Increasing the visibility of experienced and inexperienced workers on a jobsite is a proven method for maintaining site safety: Both groups become more approachable to each other, which makes it easier to ask for help or offer assistance.
The more awareness of and interactions about workplace health and safety, the greater the odds of avoiding accidents and injuries and creating a culture of safety on the jobsite.
How Do I Get Started?
Step 1: As per WorkSafeBC requirements, make sure all new or inexperienced workers receive a health and safety orientation specific to your company. Then give each of them a Green Hand sticker to wear on their hard hat.
Step 2: Designate experienced workers to be your Gold Hands. They should be thoroughly knowledgeable about the company's safety program, have site safety experience, and be comfortable acting as safety mentors. Remember, the Gold Hand is a voluntary title.
Step 3: After a probationary period of three months, ensure that all of your Green Hands complete a written test or another type of formal evaluation that assesses their knowledge of the health and safety orientation.
Step 4: Review the results of the test and evaluate workers' actual safety performance. In order to graduate out of the Green Hand portion of the program, they must prove that they are familiar with the company's safety program and have met all safety related performance expectations. Remember, workers that graduate out of the Green Hand are not automatically provided with Gold Hand stickers. Gold Hands must be experienced and safety minded individuals who are willing to act as mentors.