A recent report by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) suggests that employees that have been in a role for less than 6 months accumulate over 3,316 reportable injuries. This is compared with 973 injuries by employees who have been there for over 5 years.
We highlight 3 key reasons why new employees are more vulnerable and how to keep them safe.
1. Lack of experience. Everyone has to start from somewhere. It will take some time for new employees to be used to working in a new industry or workplace. Lack of experience is a major factor when it comes to accidents and injuries at work. The best way to solve this is by providing the right induction and training for new staff so that they can ease into their role and understand some of the key hazards of their working environment.
2. Hesitant or reluctant to raise concerns. Sometimes it’s difficult for new employees to raise concerns over minor safety issues. The worst case scenario is they don’t know the procedure when they start a new role. This increases the chance of work place accidents or injuries. Employers should constantly encourage workers to identify and report any hazards to their immediate line manager. New employees should also be shown how to report the hazards and include them in company safety programs or signing up to be a safety steward.
3. Personal protection. It will take time for new starters to understand their job role. This means that they may not understand the obvious hazards. For instance; using heavy machinery, lifting heavy loads or even working alone. The following are some of the key personal protection solutions that would be ideal for a new employee
PPE: All new employees should be shown the importance of wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) whilst using heavy machinery e.g. gloves, safety glasses, steel toe boots, etc.
Manual Handling: Over a third of all workplace injuries are caused by manual handling, so it’s important to provide appropriate training to new employees in order to prevent/avoid injury while working with heavy or dangerous goods
Emergency Alarm: Companies should have policies in place that will ensure new employees are protected when working alone. By using a lone worker safety alarm, new employees could quickly and easily alert their managers, colleagues or even the emergency services, if they require help
Employers also have to take into consideration that each new employee is unique and they all learn differently. They should be given the time to develop their skills, check if they have understood their training and encourage them to ask questions if they are unsure of any aspect of their training, especially Health & Safety.