Summer is about to start and many students are looking for summer jobs. There are also recent graduates who want to look for part-time employment before pursuing further studies. If your company is looking to hire new and young workers, one of the key things to remember is their occupational safety.
It is important to note that new workers or new employees don’t mean only those that have been recently-hired. New workers also pertain to those transferred to a new department, assigned to operate new equipment, and those who are returning from an extended absence.
Workers’ safety can be overlooked especially if your new workers have previous experience. You must keep in mind that each workplace operates differently. It is imperative that your new employees be educated about your occupational safety policies and standards.
A study by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) found that there is a persistence of higher injury risk for new workers, especially during their first month on the job. And while the risk is highest among workers over 45 years old, there are still a number of young workers injured on the job. “The key risk factor is newness, not youth,” says IWH Scientist Dr. Curtis Breslin.
Whether you have new workers, temporary workers, or long-time workers, safety is everyone’s concern. There is a need to develop safety management systems and enforce safety policies that will benefit everyone on the job.
Here are some tips to encourage employee safety:
Provide Proper Training. Include safety practices as part of your new employee orientation process. Let them participate in discussions and encourage them to make these safety practices a habit. Answer questions and clarify the hazards in the workplace. If they learn about the importance of workers’ safety early on, they will practice it and in time, become a safety habit. Follow-up training is a good step to introduce new rules and procedures. They should also have free access to training materials and learning kits so they can look at them during their free time.
Monitor their progress. During the first week of new workers, it is recommended to have a supervisor or a senior employee monitor and observe their performance. Aside from having instant feedback, they will feel at ease with their new environment. Superiors can also gauge and determine if the workers are applying the occupational safety practices they have learned.
Encourage a healthy dialogue. New workers must feel comfortable about approaching supervisors regarding procedures they don’t understand. Let them know that they must report unsafe conditions or hazards in the workplace. They should not be reprimanded if they refuse to work in an unsafe area. If they know everyone prioritizes safety, they will not hesitate to make this commitment as well.
Prevention is key. A lot of injuries and accidents in the workplace can be avoided if workers are aware of the hazards and consequences of not protecting themselves. Provide new workers with protective equipment like hard hats, gloves, boots, and the like. Determine which areas they are assigned to, and equip them with the right devices to use. Health safety should also be practiced at work. Accidents are more likely to happen when workers are not in their best capacity to perform.
Keep these things in mind when welcoming new workers to your facility. Remember that workers’ safety is not just about preventing accidents and injuries. It also increases productivity and fosters a harmonious environment for your employees.