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3 Actions for Keeping New Hires Safe on the Job

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Imagine that it is your first day on the job at a new company. Typically, this day involves paper work, job orientation, and training videos.

There is a constant flow of important information being thrown your way. You feel anxious to start the job you were hired for. However, you keep getting wrapped up meeting other employees and getting walked around the facility.

Finally, you are given some space to start working. You want to prove yourself as a useful asset to others. A task comes along that you are excellent at doing! Wanting to seize this opportunity you begin walking over to the job.

You notice a yellow blinking light above the door leading to the job. You open the door and step through it. The next thing you know you are sitting in the emergency room with a gash on the side of your head.

A supervisor explains that you were struck by a large piece of beam that was being moved by an overhead crane. He asks, “Why did you ignore the flashing warning light above the door? Why weren’t you wearing a hard hat? What were you doing in a restricted area?” He claims all these things were mentioned before you were left alone.

However, you don’t recall anything being said about a warning light, hard hat or restricted areas. You sit there disappointed, embarrassed and confused.

Though the meaning of the warning light was explained during the safety video, the restricted areas were pointed out while being walking through the plant, and the appropriate PPE was provided by the employer you managed to bypass all the safe guards and get hurt.

This scenario of a new hire getting injured when they are a new hire is all too common. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the number of workers injured during their first 11 months on the job was almost the same as the number of workers injured between their 1st and 5th year in 2012.

1. Information Overload

When you consider all the criteria that a new employee must remember it should not come as a surprise that they are more prone to injury. They are being introduced to a new facility, new people, and sometimes a completely new job. With this comes new rules, instructions, and expectations. It is a lot of information to process, and depending on the length of training it may be too much in too little time.

Even though it may seem a bit unnecessary consider extending your training time to make sure everything is processed. Create a checklist to ensure that the key points are being explained and met by the new hire and the person responsible for their training.

2. Management Responsibility

Employers may believe that the new hire is more acquainted with their environment than they actually are. This will encourage them to skip parts of their orientation or shorten them. However, though environments maybe similar, they all pose their own set of rules, regulations and problems.

Make sure that managers are aware of the seriousness that needs to accompany new employee orientation, ensuring they keep with company training as previous laid out.

It is possible that the new employee wants to appear knowledgeable so they do not ask questions that they have about a job. This can put everyone in danger if they perform a task incorrectly. Encourage your managers to provide them with open-ended questions.

It will pull information out of them other than a simple head nod. Another option is to consider using simulations or role playing to see how a new hire would handle potential situation.

3. Employee Accountability

Veteran employees may not correct a new hire doing things improperly because they “don’t want to give the new guy a hard time” or do not feel it is their job to teach the new employee how to do things.

However, company culture should express how employees need to take ownership of their jobs, part of that is assisting each other. By teaching accountability, employees will realize that making sure everyone is safe affects them, individually, as well. One way to consider doing this is having a safety incentive program in affect at your facilities.

Undoubtedly, hiring a new employee presents a number of risks to an employer. Unfortunately, injuries are among these risks. When someone conducts them self in an unsafe manner it puts everyone at risk in a work environment.

This is why new hire orientation should significantly stress safety. This could prevent an injury from being a new employee’s first memory with a new company.

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