If your idea of orienting new employees is to introduce them around and show them the bathroom and the coffee room, think again.

New workers are five times more likely to suffer a lost-time injury on the job in their first month than those who are more experienced. According to the Web site, two in five employees injured at work have been on the job for less than a year.

Why are “newbies” so vulnerable and what are you doing about it?

High injury rates are caused by a combination of ignorance and fear by workers and employers alike. New workers are obviously unfamiliar with the tools, conditions and (most important) safety hazards of the job. Many supervisors assume that rookies know more than they do. Certain jobs require taking precautions that newcomers have never considered.

The fear comes from new workers refusing to ask questions, so they won’t seem unable to do the job — and be vulnerable to termination. Questions also remind instructors of things that they didn’t explain fully or forgot to mention.

To encourage safe-mindedness on the job from day one, follow these guidelines:

  1. Make sure that supervisors keep reminding new workers that the more questions are asked, the better.
  2. Acclimate new hires to workplace safety as soon as possible through web site orientation and the new hire packet.
  3. Have supervisors incorporate safety information in their walk-through of the facility for new workers, pointing out such as the location of fire exits and extinguishers and, first-aid kits.
  4. Last, but not least: if you haven’t already done so, set up and monitor a comprehensive safety-training program for new hires.

To learn more, feel free to get in touch with the risk management professionals at our agency.

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