New to the job?

Studies have shown that new employees are as likely to experience an accident or injury in the first six months at a workplace, as they are for the rest of their career. New starters are particularly vulnerable to workplace accidents for the following reasons:

• They are eager to work hard and impress colleagues and managers and overdo their work or fail to ask clarifying questions
• They are reluctant to raise concerns and ask questions, or are unsure of how to do so in a new workplace
• They lack experience in the industry or in the workplace
• They are not familiar with the working environment

As a result, new employees at work sites may not understand the importance of site rules, regulations or safety measures. They may also not understand the potential danger of the worksite or how to use equipment and the rules for using certain equipment.

These conclusions are reinforced by official statistics which show that 3,316 employees in a job for less than six months suffered a reportable injury. This is more than three times the number of reportable injuries suffered by employees in a job for 6–12 months (1,023), and almost four times the amount for employees in their job for more than five years (973).

Helping keep new starters safe

Thankfully, there are a number of steps worksites can take to keep their new starters safe.

1. Properly introduce the new starters to the worksite, explain the layout, safety hazards and safety protocol while walking around with them.
2. Provide all of the relevant information they need regarding risks on the job and how to avoid them.
3. Ensure that there are control measures to protect the new starters against the safety risks. This means ensuring that they are involved in all health and safety education and training on site and have proper PPE.
4. While the new starters are still getting accustomed to the job, ensure that there is proper supervision and training. New workers need training and they also need to know who they can ask for help when it is needed.
5. When you have taken all of these steps, confirm with the new starters that they understand all of the information and training they have received. This will give them a chance to ask any questions they have and ensure that they understand the safety guidelines of the office.

These are a few steps you can take to increase the safety of your worksite and your new starters. Keep in mind that young workers and migrant workers are especially likely to be injured in a worksite accident and put into place procedures to ensure that all workers are well trained about how to be safe at work.

Disclaimer: The information provided through Legislation Watch is for general guidance only and is not legal advice. Legislation Watch is not a substitute for Health and Safety consultancy. You should seek independent advice about any legal matter.

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