Providing a safe work environment and ensuring a safe start for new employees is not only the right thing to do, it’s the law.
OSHA has a general provision requiring employers to provide workers with the proper information, instruction and supervision to protect their health and safety while on the job. While this provision applies to all employees (whether new to their jobs or not) offering the best possible supervision and introduction to safety in the workplace is critical for a new hire.
The following tips can help employers ensure new employees are ready for work.
• Always conduct new hire orientation and safety training.
• Ask new workers about previous safety education and work experience. Don’t assume a new employee knows workplace safety basics.
• Verify that every new worker knows rights and responsibilities, including:
1. The right to participate in health and safety training, and safety programs in the workplace
2. The right to know about possible hazards they may be exposed to on the job
3. The right to refuse unsafe work
4. The responsibility to follow safety procedures and wear any personal protective equipment (PPE) that may be required.
• If English is a worker’s second language, it can contribute to on-the-job accidents and injuries. To promote worker safety, you should post signage and safety communication materials in the language in which your employees are fluent.
• New employees are at a greater risk for a workplace injury than their more experienced co-workers. Most work injuries are caused by new employees who have not been properly trained to perform their job. As with all employees, workers new to the job must take an active role in protecting themselves. This includes:
1. Understanding all necessary safety measures before starting work. If they are unclear, instruct them to ask for clarification
2. Following all safety measures at all times
3. Wearing and maintaining required PPE
4. If machine guards are required on equipment, ensuring that they are in place
5. Avoiding on-the-job shortcuts
6. Following hazard warnings when using chemicals; obtaining further information from the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) on hazardous chemicals if necessary
7. Asking about emergency procedures and being prepared to follow them in the event of a chemical spill or fire.
BCN Services can provide you with new employee safety orientation program that is specific to your business. Contact Patrick Boeheim, BCN Services Risk Manager, at 800.891-9911, extension 108 for assistance in developing your program.
Patrick Boeheim, Risk Manager