OSEA Safety Blog

Prioritizing Safety for New Employees

Friday, February 23, 2024 Amanda Coniglio

Employees in their first month on the job have more than 3 times the risk for a lost-time injury than workers who have been at their job for more than a year. Newness is a more significant risk factor for workplace accidents than youth. Effective training and orientation are crucial for preventing accidents and promoting a safer work environment.

Accidents caused by or involving new employees on the job can be the result of:

  • Inadequate training and orientation
  • Insufficient monitoring and supervision
  • Exposure to dangerous work with lack of understanding of workplace hazards, risk assessment and control measures.
  • Inexperience and lack of preparation for the workplace.
  • Not asking questions even when they don’t understand work instructions. New workers tend to not ask questions because they want to give a good impression and are afraid of losing their job.
  • Workers have a right to know the hazards that they will be exposed to on the job and the control measures in place to protect the worker from the hazard.
  • Workers have the right to participate in workplace safety and health programs such as the safety and health committee.
  • Right to refuse dangerous work that they don’t have adequate training and understanding of safe work procedures.

Help prevent accidents by assisting new workers:

  • Show them where to obtain necessary safety materials and instructions of procedures and equipment.
  • Assist new worker to get equipped, fitted and trained with the appropriate PPE and equipment for the needed task.
  • Show them the labels for any chemicals you are dealing with and help them understand how to read them and what PPE is necessary to work with them.
  • Point out the location of fire extinguishers, alarm boxes, and other emergency equipment.
  • Ensure new workers know what to do in case of an emergency such as a fire.
  • Communicate the importance of leaving machine guards in place to prevent accidental contact with moving equipment and stock.
  • If you see anyone wearing loose clothing that could get caught in machinery, speak up.
  • Ensure new employees know to discuss safety concerns with the EHS team.

Recommended New Hire Orientation:

  • Safety & health rules and policies
  • Safety training on specific tasks
  • Emergency procedures
  • Illness/injury reporting
  • OSHA compliance programs
  • Safety team and chain of command
  • Contacts
  • Safety responsibilities

Training/orientation should be conducted when:

  • An employee is first hired
  • When given a new job assignment or transfer
  • When introducing new substances, equipment or processes
  • When a previously unrecognized hazard is identified.

In addressing the heightened risk for new employees, prioritizing comprehensive onboarding processes and safety education is paramount. By equipping new hires with the necessary knowledge and support, organizations can establish a culture of safety that transcends tenure, ensuring the well-being of all employees and bolstering workplace resilience.

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