Safety For The New Employee

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Remember when you started working here? Remember how you wanted to impress everyone you’re your ambition to do a good job and be part of the team. That isn’t unusual.

New employees can be some of the most ambitious and yet most dangerous employees in the facility. They have the will to do about anything, but not necessarily the knowledge to do it safely. They aren’t experienced in all the safety aspects of doing the job correctly which can lead to disaster.

The first days and even hours can be critical when training new employees.

  • Recently a 23 years old worker on his first day on the job working for a tree trimming service in Guilderland, NY got tangled in the wood chipper. He was pronounced dead at the scene. This is the second time in as many years this very same incident has occurred to a new employee in the United States.
  • Several years ago there is a well-documented case of a new employee who died within 90 minutes of starting his new job at a Bacardi bottling facility in Florida. He was cleaning underneath a palletizer when the machine was started . . . crushing him to death.
  • A young worker on her first day working at Yellowstone National Park fell to her death while leading a group on a tour of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

The headlines go on and on. We all have a special responsibility to look after new employees and teach them the hazards, often unseen by inexperience, of the tasks they are performing. Here are some tips:

  • Never leave them alone for the first week.
  • Give them an overview of the entire job at the beginning rather than just their specific task at hand. Show them how it all fits together for success.
  • Always give them specific guidance and ensure they understand your guidance by repeating it back to you.
  • Show them how to and when to control hazardous energy on any equipment they utilize.
  • Show them immediately where each and every stop button on a piece of equipment is located.
  • Never allow new employees to do a task until you’ve witnessed them do it safely and successfully at least 5 times in a row or more depending on the hazard of the task.
  • Give new employees feedback on their actions . . . both positive and negative.
  • Understand that any safety material they read or viewed on video probably didn't sink in . . . it rarely does until you experience it and can see it in action.

Remember, the skills to do the job correctly and safely did not come instantly to you and you shouldn’t expect it from new employees. Coach them, teach them and allow them the opportunity to succeed and correct any failures without them being fatal.

This toolbox topic was reviewed by ______________________________________ on ___________________________ with the following employees: